TCF makes final preparations for alcohol sales

Two sales areas will be located on the west end of the stadium.

by Nickalas Tabbert

Preparations for alcohol at TCF Bank Stadium entered their final stages Thursday.

Minnesota associate athletics director Scott Ellison and Vice President of University Services Pam Wheelock met with the media Thursday at TCF Bank Stadium to discuss specific steps taken to ensure beer and wine sales operate smoothly in Saturday’s football home-opener.

Alcohol will be sold in two places on the west end of the stadium. Four beer tents will line the west plaza beneath the main scoreboard and will share space with the food tent. An overflow area has been established outside Gate A but within the concourse of the stadium.

Sales will begin one hour prior to kickoff and will run through the end of halftime, Ellison said.

Customers are allowed two alcoholic beverages per purchase and are allowed to take them back to their seats. Three kinds of beer and two kinds of wine will be sold for $7.25 in clear cups and will be served along with water and soda.

The University began to make plans for serving alcohol at Gophers games last spring when the Legislation considered allowing alcohol sales at the stadium.

Saturday’s game against New Hampshire marks the first time alcohol will be available for the general public on campus, Ellison said. The University is in a two-year agreement with the Legislature to sell alcohol.

“We think this meets the intent of the Legislation,” Wheelock said, adding that this system is accessible for patrons.

Concerns about the lack of infrastructure at TCF were considered when deciding on a location. Ellison said the areas chosen were the best in the stadium.

“When we designed the stadium, we never intended to sell beer out of our concession stands because we are a collegiate facility, so we don’t have the taps, we don’t have the coolers, we don’t have all those different elements in the concession stands,” Ellison said.

Wheelock said it’s a good idea to sell alcohol away from the concession areas to distribute fans across the available space.

The location is exactly opposite from the student section, a factor Ellison said was considered when choosing a location.

“This is not driven toward the students, this is driven toward the non-student fans,” he said.

Security has been “beefed up” in the area, Ellison said, by adding a dozen police officers, bringing the total to 122 at each home game. CSC event management staff have also been increased.

“We’ve done our best planning as far as line management,” he said.

“Quite frankly, It’s going to be an experiment for us this first game.”

Talks about adjustments to serving will take place during the game and the following Wednesday, Ellison said.

The implementation plan was developed by a task force across the University, including Intercollegiate Athletics, University police, President Eric Kaler’s office and Student Affairs, according to a press release.

Ellison said the goal is to serve 7,000 fans this week.

Additional revenue generated from alcohol sales will go towards the athletic department’s overall budget.

J.J Taylor named beer vendor for TCF

The company J.J Taylor was selected as the beer vendor for TCF Bank Stadium, according to a press release.

The northeast Minneapolis company will serve Grain Belt and Summit Pale Ale beers along with Miller Lite.

Red and white wine from St.Paul-based Johnson Brothers will also be available.

The distributor was chosen by an evaluation committee consisting of representatives from Purchasing Services, the Office of the General Counsel, Intercollegiate Athletics, the President’s Office and Contract Administration.