By Bob Uphues
Last year, the Brookfield Recreation department expanded its summer outdoor concert offerings and added kids' activities to attract more families. This year, they hope to cater to adults as well, with the introduction of alcohol sales.
On Jan. 20, the Brookfield Village Board voted to approve liquor licenses for the sale of alcohol at the 10 concerts scheduled on Friday nights from June through August in Kiwanis Park.
"It's experimental, to see how it's received," said Recreation Director Stevie Ferrari, who said she had experience with alcohol sales at outdoor events at prior park district jobs.
While the department could have found a third-party vendor to handle the sale of alcohol and provide a percentage of the receipts to the village, Ferrari said she has decided to enlist the help of village staff and volunteers to handle alcohol sales at the Kiwanis Park concerts.
The plan is for the recreation department to buy canned summer-centric drinks, mark them up a tad for sale and offer them to adults at the concerts. Anyone serving alcohol at the events must be at least 21 years old and be BASSET (Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training)-certified by taking an online course, which will be paid for by the village.
Ferrari said it costs about $15 for someone to obtain BASSET training online. The village doesn't expect to rake in a lot of revenue from alcohol sales, said Ferrari, but handling the sale of alcohol in-house will allow the department to net all of the revenue.
"We need to at least break even, but the cost won't be exponential compared to what someone would pay anywhere else," she said.
While alcohol sales may encourage some adults to check out a summer concert or two, the biggest factor in bringing in big crowds will continue to be good weather and a mix of bands.
"We want to change musical genres as much as possible from week to week," Ferrari said.
The department is also looking to recreate the success they had with last summer's ABBA tribute band concert with a "Greased Lighting Night" featuring a band that leads a "Grease" singalong.
The final summer concert lineup is still being nailed down, said Ferrari, and is scheduled be included in the next recreation guide, which will be sent out to residents in March.
"I think we're going to have a pretty good variety this year," Ferrari said.