Brookfield’s village board is considering creating a liquor license that would allow patrons to bring bottles of beer or wine into a restaurant that doesn’t sell those items. The “bring-your-own-bottle” (or BYOB) license would be a help to restaurants who don’t have the room or inclination to stock alcoholic beverages, but have customers who’d like some wine with dinner.
“There have been at least two occasions where we’ve lost business, because it’s not allowed,” Gail Huesmann, owner of Back in the Day Café on Ogden Avenue, told trustees at their meeting on Nov. 9. “One was on a Tuesday night, with a party of 16. That would have been half of the place on their own. The other was a party of 10.
“When you’re a small business, that makes a difference.”
While there appeared to be some support among village board members for the BYOB idea, trustees also wanted there to be strict controls on just how much beer or wine could be brought into an establishment. It also seems clear that any BYOB license would not include bringing hard liquor into restaurants.
“As long as we’re careful about the type of location we consider this for, it’d be an OK idea,” said Trustee Cathy Colgrass Edwards.
The only trustees who expressed some reservation with the BYOB license idea was C.P. Hall, who said that his experience with such laws years ago in Tennessee left him with an unfavorable impression.
“My experience in Tennessee is that it was abused,” Hall said.
Trustee Michael Towner expressed support for such a law, saying “it’s a unique way for a business to help themselves.”
Village Manager Riccardo Ginex said that any BYOB license would be limited to perhaps a bottle of wine per person. Village President Michael Garvey noted that Kane County’s BYOB law limited restaurant patrons to one 750ml bottle of wine per person and did not have a provision for beer.
Ginex prepared for trustees a list of suburban communities with wine or beer and wine BYOB licenses, including Countryside, Forest Park, LaGrange and Riverside which had BYOB licenses. The cost to businesses wanting such licenses varied.
Forest Park, for example, charges $500 for such a license, while Countryside charges a $500 initial fee and $50 annually. LaGrange charges $250 per year, while Riverside’s fees depend on the seating capacity of the restaurant.
“There should be restrictions on the amount that can be brought in,” Garvey said. “Obviously, we don’t want to see every fast food carryout out place to have it. And if the ordinance is created, it’d still be up to the board on an individual basis to create the license, so the board would still have a measure of control.”
The village board is expected to vote on the matter on Nov. 23.