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Nipping free drinks in the bud

A business giving away alcohol for free to customers without a permit from the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control unit has been a common practice in the community.

It is illegal, of course, but because it has usually been limited and tightly controlled by businesses nobody has noticed.

A book signing, for instance, where wine is served to guests, or a reception for an opening of an exhibit at a gallery, or a Christmas sale for customers at a boutique seemed to make sense, so nobody has said anything over the years.

But the practice has gotten a bit out of hand, since nail salons in Oxford have taken it as far as having menus of alcohol they serve to customers for free as enticement including red wine, white wine and champagne.

So the City of Oxford has been forced to step in and try and stop the growing trend in its tracks, since alcohol distribution in businesses is regulated for a reason. The liability of running a mini bar with no license is risky for both business owners and the city.

That’s why the ordinance now before the city that would stop unlicensed businesses from distributing alcohol is probably needed.