11.28.2007

The Wealthy Have Permission to Drink Singles

First, full disclosure. I am a former employee of Whole Foods and I frequently shop and buy beer at the P Street/Logan Circle Whole Foods. Had to get that out of the way.

I know I said I'd ignore anything that the Washington City Paper publishes, but this was just too rich. I don't know how familiar you are with the Logan Circle Whole Foods, but it's located in the middle of a neighborhood that has gentrified rapidly. Many of the businesses there predate this change.

Well the Logan Circle ANC thinks that those businesses, namely liquor stores, can just go on and fuck themselves.

Whole Foods has long been selling singles of beer. Fancy beer, but beer nevertheless. Singles are actually illegal in parts of the city. Ward 4, Mount Pleasant, and Adams Morgan come to mind. Logan Circle is apparently one of those parts.

And the ANC cut Whole Foods a break. They can continue to sell singles. They have permission. But the liquor store on the very same block is still prohibited from selling single servings of beer. Guess what color of people Whole Foods tends to appeal to and contrast it to an old liquor store in a black neighborhood. Hmmm.

I mean, I get it. This is fancy beer and the singles laws are primarily designed to prevent people from buying 40s. Since they don't make organic Steel Reserve High Gravity yet (and I long for that day), Whole Foods isn't in the business of selling malt liquor.

But getting it doesn't mean it's right. You have one rule being applied differently to two different businesses. Unacceptable. If you want to allow Whole Foods to sell singles of beer, then change the law and apply it equally to both businesses. Maybe prevent stores from selling singles with an abv above 7% (although this would crush Indian Pale Ale single sales) or only outlaw singles between 24 and 40 ounces. But don't give one a break just because it has "fancier" customers.

The "us and them" dichotomy in this city is falling apart. When the rich and poor mix, it's good to know who this city is really looking out for.

31 comments:

  1. Why, do you post on TerpTownSq. FREDTERP

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  2. Well that does seem unfair, doesn't it? I must admit that it's hard to get too passionate about this as I never buy just ONE beer. I mean who does that shit anyway?

    Seriously though, I think you are reading into this too much. Based on the list of areas where single beer sales are banned, the city is trying to limit the easy of access to cheap beers for one of two elements of society:

    1. Lower socioeconomic rabble-rousers that shoot the shit drinking beer all day out of paper bags harassing people and panhandling as they walk by.

    2. Stupid drunk-ass college kids that are equally destructive to the neighborhoods (been to Adams Morgan late at night? Need I say more?)


    I see no harm in WF allowing single beer sales. Honestly, could you envision some trouble maker wondering into Whole Foods to buy a single Framboise anyway? I think not. I don’t think there is any harm meant by this policy. It seems to be more of a policy to keep cheap, easily accessible beer away from people who would misuse the privilege.

    Lastly, if nothing else, this is America: he who has the gold makes the rules.

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  3. um this is new news? DC wouldn't know what to do with itself if it didn't have the "us and them" paradigm. I mean real equality would throw off their whole schtick.

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  4. I agree that this is a pragmatic way to deal with people who brown bag 40s, but I prefer to live in a society where the rules apply equally to everyone. If "they" can't have singles then we can't have singles.

    After all, it's not like there's a separate speed limit for people who have shown that they can be responsible going over 65.

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  5. I have to ask the question....

    Why can't the "trouble makers" just go around the corner to whole foods to buy the singles there?

    Isn't this a banner day for the Logan's Circle panhandling community? It's not like the Liquor store was owned by black folks anyway. Hey, I saw Boyz in the Hood. (Or was it Menace2society?)

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  6. Mal, I think it was "Do the Right Thing."

    Those goddamned Koreans already got their own goddamned store! And they don't even sell singles of Miller High Life! You're askin' a lot of a man to change his beer.

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  7. Um, based on comments left there and on DCist, Whole Foods was not granted an exemption. The ANC agreement already permitted that. The ANC restrictions are on sales of bottles >16 oz. (translation, 40 oz.), and the Barrel House (and the cheaper and more entertaining Sav-On Liquors - does CP not mention them because they don't live around there?) can sell the same singles. City Paper gets the news wrong, again.

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  8. "I prefer to live in a society where the rules apply equally to everyone."

    So you want the same level of anti-public-drinking enforcement for, say, softball teams on the Mall as you do for a group of thugs on a street corner next to an elementary school?

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  9. I will try to convey my point in a different way. If this was really a great conspiracy against poor people (as I assume you are alluding to) then explain the ban in Adams Morgan. Is Adams Morgan a "poor" area? That area is certainly not, but the unruly college kids couldn’t handle the booze any better than others. This is not about race or economics; it’s about the city being your parent. The city has deemed, for various reasons and rightfully so, that some areas would be better off without single beer sales.

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  10. it's all in who you know (hint hint)

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  11. I concur that the same rules should apply to everyone. That's why I'm running for ANC... not in Logan, but in Dupont. You can do more than complain... you can get involved!

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  12. Lane, most of the singles Whole Foods sell are more than 16oz. I will sometimes but 24oz bottles of Arrogant Bastard Ale to go with my steaks. Delirium Tremens is another example of a beer people often buy in singles where the container is considerably more than 16oz.

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  13. "So you want the same level of anti-public-drinking enforcement for, say, softball teams on the Mall as you do for a group of thugs on a street corner next to an elementary school?"

    If anything, softball/kickball/whateverball adult dorks should be scrutizined more closely than anyone. Khakis/Dave Matthews/Miller Lite. *shudders with fright*

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  14. I thought that was why WF has all those pounders (22 oz. bottles) taped up as impromptu 2-packs...thereby making them officially not singles.

    Then again, I tend to just buy 12-packs over at the Old School liquor store at the corner of 11th and Rhode Island: They actually *do* have Miller High Life, so they can't be all bad.

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  15. Jack: I will get everyone I know to vote for you if you PLEASE PLEASE run against Rob Halligan. I hear he is going to run for city council and I think I MIGHT move to NoVA if that happens.

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  16. BTW, Jack Jacobson has my 100% full endorsement. Learn more here:

    http://friendsofjack.blogspot.com/

    And if you're livin' in the ANC 2B04, please vote for him.

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  17. Rusty,

    Why do you go to the P St Whole Foods if you live in Friendship Whites... er.. Heights? The Tenleytown WF has beer and wine now, and there's a liquor store right next to it boot.

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  18. My girlfriend lives in Mt. Pleasant and that Whole Foods is on the way.

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  19. Sweetie, P street isn't EXACTLY on the way to Mount Pleasant, but if you say so...OK.

    Congrats on the GF thing. Glad to hear you finally lost your virginity! ;)I hope she can drink as much as you.

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  20. That Jack Jacobson guy seems like an opportunist - I know the sitting ANC 2B04 commissioner well, and he is very hands on. I've never seen Jack at a meeting. Is he running because he thinks he can actually do a better job than the sitting commissioner, or because he's like every other 20-something in DC who is just looking for an office to run for?

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  21. I agree with the dc dude RE "who wants to buy one beer anyway?"

    I think the purpose of the no singles law is two-fold (1) to deter bums from public drunkenness and (2) to prevent liquor stores from becoming de facto public houses. I guess the zoning authority felt that bums aren't going to be buying expensive single beers from whole foods and also that there was no danger of people drinking publically in or around the supermarket.

    So from a practical point of view the variance makes sense, but from a fairness point of view it does let whole foods and its wealthy clientele get away with something that liquor stores and poor people cannot. But again there are reasons why the situation is different: whole foods isn't primarily in the business of selling alcohol...

    Ok I've spent way too much time thinking about this. Single beers suck.

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  22. Let get something straight DCGUY1982: RYAN? No one in my hood has EVER heard of him and I am VERY active in the community. No one. He's hands on WHAT? In fact I live near him and I don't know who he is and I've made it a point to know a lot about people who live and work here. So why don't you take your new Blogger profile and whining elsewhere.

    And 20 somethings rule compared to the old farts on the ANC. They are a bunch of rich, old, asshats (as rusty would say) that don't care about anything but themselves and denying any growth or change to this area.

    God I hate this town.

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  23. BBTY: You know where he lives? Then you must know that he's worked out deals with local businesses and residents on several occassions - taking hours to meet with both parties involved. Where other ANC members across the city are content just to come to meetings and make decisions based on that, Ryan actually works to get things done. My guess? You just moved to the area. You don't bother to hear about him, and given the fact that it's a local office, goings-on are not well publicized. Try actually going to a meeting and listening to the various commissioners. Then, perhaps, you can tell me who's good and who's not.

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  24. Lived here 4 years smarty pants and very involved. been to many meetings. Nice of you to read the DC blogs, Mr. Ryan. You are involved. Bravo.

    the ANC still sucks. No they have not listened to both sides...they often side with the rich old folks and not the other tax paying citizens. Local politics is about as crooked as congress. My guess is your one of the rich old guys.

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  25. I can tell you who is not good, BOB MEEHAN. What a freak.

    So THERE, I do just happen to KNOW what IS going on my my neighborhood.

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  26. "Who buys a single beer anyway?" strikes me as a pretty flimsy justification.

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  27. dcguy1982, I actually do go to all the ANC meetings, as well as the DCCA meetings, the public safety meetings, and the 17th Street revitalization meetings - none of which Ryan attends. I don't go to be seen... I'm there to listen and learn, not to make myself known.

    But you're right... Ryan has once or twice worked out issues between businesses and the community, and I'm thankful of that. If he's doing a good job and people agree that he is, he'll be reelected. If not, it's time for someone new. The voters will make their choice. I, for one, think competition is a good thing, and if I'm elected, I hope people run against me to ensure that the best possible individual represents our district.

    And I'm in my 30s, not 20s. :-)

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  28. Didn't various posters on DCist debunk this whole story as BS quite some time ago? Apparently other stores can apply for exactly the same deal that Whole Foods gets?

    But, then, that wouldn't allow us to make snarky comments, would it? I mean, really, why should we care about accuracy, if it stands in the way of us getting our collective panties in a big giant collective knot?

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  29. Chipotle sells single serving bottled beer. So if any of you motherfuckers think about shutting down my neighborhood Chipotle I'll fuck you up.

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  30. OMG, Jack, you're in your 30s!? But you look so spry!

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