The D.C. City Council approved a measure Tuesday to ban sales of single containers of beer and liquor in two city wards, including Foggy Bottom.
The bill will prohibit the sale of individual containers of malt liquor and beer that are 70 ounces or less. The legislation also prohibits the sale of liquor in containers less than a half pint.
Emergency legislation currently in effect will impose a ban on single sales until the bill undergoes final approval by D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Congress in the coming months.
Parts of Ward 2 had already imposed temporary bans on single sales a few months ago, though Foggy Bottom did not. Councilman Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) proposed extending the ban to the entire ward last month.
Councilman Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) said in a statement that, “The consolidated bill was introduced by the ward council members for each area based on reports that single-sale bans improve public safety and neighborhood cleanliness.”
The bill designates that individual Advisory Neighborhood Commissions will determine specifics of what will be banned in their neighborhoods, including whether to grant exceptions to certain individual retailers.
Steven Hernandez, legislative director for Graham, said the ANCs are “accorded great weight” on the issue.
ANC commissioner Asher Corson anticipates the change will be well-received in the Foggy Bottom area, though the neighborhood’s ANC 2A never took an explicit position on the issue before it passed.
Corson said community members and business owners would likely support carving out specifications of the types of single beers included in the ban – such as a possible exemption of single beers under a certain price.
Councilmembers advocated the ban as a means to reduce litter in the city and eliminate public intoxication, but some local business owners are concerned it will result in a loss of sales.
Sonu Singh, manager of Riverside Liquors on E Street, made an appeal to an ANC meeting over the summer, saying that single sales account for a significant portion of his profits.
Other liquor store owners, like Vinnie Manocha of S & R Liquors, said they are pleased with the ban.
Manocha said the ban will be “good for stock” since “it helps the store owner not have to carry 20 different types of single beer.”
He also agreed with the ban’s intention to clean up the streets.
“I love it for the fact that it reduces the homeless and type of clientele that we don’t want,” Manocha said. “But it sucks for the type of person who just wants a single beer at the end of the day.”
Katie Bean, assistant director for the GW Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education, cited a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism that found consumption of “40s” usually implies quick intoxication and binge drinking, which CADE does not support.
Madeleine Morgenstern contributed to this report.