Grassroots effort aims to allow open cups of alcohol in Richmond

Posted at 1:41 PM, Jan 19, 2012
and last updated 2012-01-20 15:42:39-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - A grassroots effort is underway in Richmond aimed at changing a state law to allow open alcoholic beverages in certain areas of the city.

The man behind the idea said the concept is about tourism, and can bring in not just people, but dollars to the city and businesses.

Matthew Davey said an open container law, which would allow three specific areas of Richmond where it would be legal to have a plastic cup of beer, wine or liquor, would be similar to areas in Boulder, Milwaukee, and Savannah.

“The idea here is that tourism needs to thrive in certain sections of the city and create more revenue,” said Davey.

In fact, it was Savannah where Davey got a firsthand opportunity to take advantage of their law.

However, Davey said this isn’t just about drinking in public

“It’s not just an open container policy it’s also the idea of regulating and licensing alcoholic beverages,” said Davey.

For the grassroots effort to become reality, changes would have to be made by the General Assembly and then by Richmond’s City Council.

“From my perspective, having dialogue about it does not mean we’re in favor of it," said says 1st District Councilman Bruce Tyler. "I think the concept has some merit, but the merit may not outweigh the negatives that come with it and if that’s the case, then we shouldn’t do it.”

Word of the effort has spread quickly in the last couple of weeks, both with Davey’s Twitter account and on Facebook, including a page dedicated to RVA ABC Ordinance, which has specific information about the movement.