June 29 2016

Burlington AMC Theater Looking Close to Receiving Liquor License

By: Rich Hosford

Burlington’s AMC Theater took another step towards being able to offer customers a glass of beer or wine as they wait for, or watch, a movie this week. 


Representatives of the theater were at the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday with an application for an all-alcohol license. 


As reported on BNEWS, in January the board made changes to the alcohol bylaws to add “theaters and cinemas” into the bylaws, paving the way for the application that was before them this week. The license is one of two gained by the town through special legislation from the state that were designated for that area of town. The other license went to Buffalo Wild Wings. 


During the meeting AMC Senior Vice President of Food and Beverage George Patterson spoke about the reason the theater is looking to offer alcohol beverage service. He said the cinema industry has changed recently, and AMC along with it. Now they cater to an older clientele with amenities like larger, reclining chairs, upgraded food and reserve seating. He said that for 25 years the industry had lost the adult client but now people over 21 years of age make up 70 percent of moviegoers. He said AMC currently operates 146 locations that serve alcohol. 


Patterson also talked about AMC’s controls to ensure nobody over indulges and that minors are not served or able to get their hands on alcohol at the theater. 


“I believe we have the best policies and procedures in place concerning serving alcohol,” he said.  


First, he said that all AMC employees who will be serving alcohol will be TIPS certified and that only employees over 21 years of age will be able to sell or serve alcohol. 


Further, all customers will be carded and they will only be able to purchase one drink at a time, cutting down on the passing of drinks to others. Also, only customers with tickets will be able to purchase drinks – the bar is not meant as a hangout for people not there to see a movie. 


Patterson said that AMC also does its own internal mystery shoppers to ensure employee compliance and that any employee caught failing to check identification will be fired. 


There will also be a dedicated “spotter” on shift while alcohol is being served. This employee, who cannot be given other duties, will roam the theater looking for alcohol being passed to minors. 


Selectmen Bob Hogan and Joe Morandi, who make up the subcommittee on alcohol policy, toured the facility with Town Adminstrator John Petrin. They said they were satisfied with the policies and the setup. 


“I was comfortable with the discussion,” Hogan said. “They are not trying to recreate the wheel but instead are going by what exists in other communities and what works well. They have plans in place to keep an eye on who is drinking and sales to individuals throughout the day.” 


“I agree,” Morandi said. “The policy is very good, very strict.”


The hearing was continued to the meeting of Monday, July 18. Before approval, Petrin said the theater must fix a couple of site issues concerning outdoor fencing to get in compliance with current permits. 

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