The Great Tucson Beer Festival: Banding Against Drunk Driving

wrist bandBeer enthusiasts crowded into the Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium in Tucson, Arizona at the end of September for a festival dedicated to tasting brews from all over the country. The 28th Annual Great Tucson Beer Festival was heralded as a success. And thanks to an enlightened policy on the part of the organizers, the event was a celebration of public safety as well.

A regular ticket for the event was $40. But designated drivers could get in for $25.

If you checked in as a designated driver, you received a wrist band of a different color. The band would set you apart from the rest of the crowd, who were “licensed” to taste all the beer they wanted. As a designated driver, you would be expected to abstain and ensure that the tasters got home safely.

Welcoming and encouraging designated drivers to events at which alcohol is served is an enlightened idea, one that should become standard practice at all such gatherings.

  • Wine tastings
  • Athletic events
  • State and county fairs
  • Charity and non-profit events such as auctions

Group of party people - men and women - drinking beer in a pub

In recent years dram shop laws have, in some localities, placed responsibility on bars and restaurants for keeping patrons from leaving their establishments and driving drunk. In some cases proprietors can be held liable for the damage that results. The Great Tucson Beer Festival’s organizers choose to focus on responsibility rather than liability, and have found a more positive, proactive way to deal with the problem of impaired driving.

The festival is a benefit for Sun Sounds, a radio station/audio service which provides access to information to people who cannot read print because they have a disability. In keeping with its charitable mission, Sun Sounds and the Great Tucson Beer Festival have demonstrated that alcohol and responsibility can be successfully combined. Kudos.