Gopher football fans get their first sips of beer

10:12 PM, Sep 9, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Many Gopher football fans were saying cheers as the first beers were served in TCF Bank Stadium.

Saturday's first home game of the season, against New Hampshire, included the addition of sales of beer and wine, as part of a two year trial for alcohol sales, a school compromise with the state legislature.

It makes the University of Minnesota the only Big Ten School to sell alcohol, on campus, during a football game, to those in general seating.

But at $7.25 a glass, some fans opted for soda or water instead, like Bob Board of Coon Rapids who said, "You go to any game or the fair or anyplace and it's that same price.  But I have a hard time getting used to it."

Still, the beer was flowing fast enough that some of those working in the eight beer tents were filling cups without turning the taps off.

Gopher fan Ann Westerhaus bought a beer and said, "It's awesome actually.  You know the line moved actually pretty quick."

Staff timed the wait at an average of twelve minutes.  But the closer it got to the end of halftime, and the end of alcohol sales, the longer the wait.  It's a wait the U of M hopes to shorten in the future.

The trek to get beer did create new, heavy traffic routes in the stands that at least one season ticket holder wasn't happy about.

But the alcohol related incidents were down.

Assistant Athletic Director Scott Ellison said there were only four alcohol related incidents Saturday, compared to an average of eight to ten at previous games when alcohol wasn't sold.

So he sees it as a success.

He said just how much money was made on beer sales Saturday won't be known until mid-week.

Gopher fan Steve Philbrook bought a beer and said it was, "Definitely enjoyable on a beautiful day. At a football game you should be able to have a beer and have a good day."

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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