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Inn at Ole Miss granted resort status; can now sell beer at on-site events

Visitors to the Inn at Ole Miss can now drink beer during their stay.

The hotel, which stands on the campus of the University of Mississippi, received approval from the Mississippi Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control for qualified resort status on July 25.

The Inn was previously able to serve wine and liquor through third-party vendors, but beer was not an option as the hotel, along with most of the Ole Miss campus, is located in Lafayette County where beer sales are prohibited.

However, being granted resort status will not allow guests to carry alcohol to other parts of the campus. Drinks may only be consumed on the grounds of the Inn.

“We are so excited to be granted qualified resort status by the state of Mississippi’s Department of Revenue,” said Gaye Bukur, the facility’s general manager said in a news release “We have always been proud that we are able to accommodate large groups in a variety of meeting rooms and guest rooms. … Having resort status is what we needed to be able to give our guests a complete food and beverage option.”

The shift in status for the Inn was essential, Kirk Purdom, executive director of the Ole Miss Alumni Association, said in an interview with the EAGLE.

“We’ve lost some potential events because of not being able to serve beer,” Purdom said, “This summer, we lost a Marine group that was coming into town and bringing their spouses. In room revenue alone, I think it would have been between $40,000 and $50,000, and that’s not even to mention the money that they would have spent around Oxford. We lost them because of beer. … They ended up going to Memphis instead.”

With qualified resort status, the catering companies that work with the hotel will be allowed to serve all types of alcohol for special events held at the Inn, depending on what the client requests.

“I think this is going to help us with our events and I think it’s going to allow us to be more of a full-service hotel,” Purdom said.

While the service of beer from catering companies is already in effect, the Inn has plans to expand and offer a bar in the near future, Purdom said.

“We are in the early phases of looking into the renovation of our café where we currently serve breakfast every morning. We do get questions from guests that stay (at the Inn), ‘do y’all have a bar where I can go get a drink?’ In most hotels that you see, whether it’s a Courtyard, the Graduate or a Hilton; they’ll have a small bar in there,” Purdom said.

The Inn has already worked with a design team on what the café renovation will look like, and projected renovation costs are a “few hundred thousand dollars,” Purdom said.

The Ole Miss Alumni Association is currently working to raise funds for the construction project, which would take somewhere between six to eight weeks.

Once the funds are in hand, Purdom said that the Inn hopes to complete the renovation during December and January – the slower portion of the year for the hotel.

“(The renovation) won’t take place during this football season and probably won’t be ready until sometime in the spring once we get the funds in,” Purdom said.