There will be no public alcohol sales at UK games during the 2019-2020 season. Mitch Barnart announced the university’s decision during a press conference Thursday afternoon.
“We have decided to not have public alcohol sales at any UK athletic events during the 2019-20 season,” Barnhart said. “It is our goal, as well as our responsibility, to create a safe, secure, positive, engaging environment for fans of all ages and from all walks of life. We believe we have an outstanding college fan experience at our games; though we recognize we can always find ways to do better, we’re also careful about what we have currently in place.”
Not all is completely lost if you want a little booze with your football at Kroger Field this fall, there is still a way you can obtain an ice cold beer during UK games: be wealthy. The university declined to take advantage of the SEC’s recent lift on its ban of public alcohol sales, but alcohol will continue to be sold in certain premium seating areas for those who can afford it.
When asked why it is available to some and not to others, Barnhart replied, “I think there are experiences that you have in different areas of your stadium, and I understand that is a concern. We have a fan experience in the public areas of our stands that I sort of think are where we want to be right now. There is an availability in the premium areas that is different, and we recognize that, but the overarching 55,000 people in the stands, we feel like we have an experience that we think at this point in time a college experience should feel like. It gives families still an opportunity to enjoy Kentucky athletics.”
The conversation will be revisited at a later date for athletic seasons on down the road. “I’m not making a yearly decision on this thing, that’s not where we want to be,” Barnhart said. “We’re going to monitor for awhile and if there is something that says it makes good sense to change our thought process or change directions, then we’ll do that. But right now I feel pretty good about where we are.”
He also said “alcohol is not the answer” to increasing revenue.