The Alexandria Aces baseball team is pursuing beer sales at home games this summer.
Team owner Don Dinan presented the club’s beer sales model to the Alexandria Parks and Recreation Commission during a contentious meeting on Thursday night. Members of the commission felt a need for more discussion before approving any application for alcohol sales.
According to a Parks and Recreation official, an application for alcohol sales must be approved by the commission before being considered by the ABC board.
In response to the reception from the Parks and Recreation Commission, a team source told Patch that Aces officials plan on meeting with Mayor Bill Euille and members of the City Council to get “a realistic appraisal of what their feeling is” about the proposal.
“Our present intention is to file an application,” the source said.
The Aces, members of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, play their home games at Frank E. Mann Field in Four Mile Run Park next to Cora Kelly School.
Dinan told the commission the club would like to construct a beer garden along the stadium’s right-field wall. Beer would only be available within a confined area. Attendees would have to be 21 or over to enter the beer garden and would be limited to two sales per transaction. Anyone who appears under the age of 30 would be carded upon entering the beer garden and an ABC manager would be on premises.
The beer garden would likely offer Coors products and Virginia microbrews with prices ranging between $5 and $6.50.
“There’s not going to be dollar beer night,” Dinan said.
Dinan said the club is pursuing beer sales to enhance revenue and draw bigger crowds.
“Enjoying a cold beer at a ballgame is a tradition dating back to the 19th century,” Dinan said.
Commission member Ripley Forbes felt the proposed beer sales presented a lot of unanswered questions about security and enforcement, among other things.
“Essentially you want to put an alcohol store by a school,” Forbes told Dinan. “The players are underage. … You go to a George Mason baseball game or a basketball game at the Patriot Center and there’s no beer. … This is a major policy issue that requires discussion.”
The Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League allows college players a chance to play everyday with wood bats, simulating the experience of professional leagues.
The Northwoods League, a collegiate summer league in the Upper Midwest, offers beer sales league-wide. The Cape Cod League, also similar in structure to the Ripken League, offers beer sales at some stadiums. Two other teams in the Ripken League are preparing to offer beer sales this summer.
Councilman Frank Fannon, the former director of the Aces, said he felt the field’s proximity to the school “wasn’t much of a concern.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Fannon said “nothing has really come across our desks” at City Council about beer sales at Aces games.
The Aces open their season on June 3 when they play host to the Vienna River Dogs.