Alcohol on college campuses is nothing new. Beer cans and liquor bottles abound at every football tailgate, at every party and in practically every dorm-room refrigerator.
But one of the only ways to get alcohol legally on campus is through a select set of restaurants that each received special permission and followed strict regulations from both the university and the state government regarding selling and using these beverages.
According to UCF policy 3-115.1, there are only a certain number of places and organizations allowed to sell alcoholic beverages on campus, including athletics facilities such as Bright House Networks Stadium and houses occupied by sororities or fraternities.
The alcoholic beverages that are sold on campus must be consumed in the facility where the product was purchased. These locations include the Student Union, Bright House Networks Stadium, Fairwinds Alumni Center, Knights Plaza, the Live Oak and Cypress Room, and the CFE Arena.
In each of these locations, either UCF directors or the UCF Convocation Corporation set the hours, days and conditions for the sale.
These vendors aren’t allowed to offer free beverages for any purpose, offer drinks for more than 50 percent off their advertised price or offer any kind of discount promotions during home football gamedays.
Individuals who are above the legal drinking age of 21 are allowed to consume alcohol in their dorm rooms, fraternity or sorority houses or at any student or school-sponsored function that has had prior approval and complies with the university’s policy.
Wackadoo’s Grub and Brew in the Student Union is one of the vendors that has permission to serve wine and beer on campus. The restaurant’s menu reads, “We proudly serve a wide selection of bottled and draught beers.”
“[We] decided to include it in our menu in order to keep the UCF community on campus,” said Scott Kelly, Wackadoo’s co-owner.
But after receiving permission from the school, Kelly said he then had to apply for a license from Florida’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.
According to the Division’s website, in order to sell beer or wine, a vendor must purchase a consumption-on-premise license, which allows customers to consume the alcoholic beverage on property, or a package license, which allows the customer to purchase the beverage on property and then remove it from the property to be consumed somewhere else. These licenses are unlimited — there aren’t any restrictions on the number that can be issued.
In order to sell liquor, however, a vendor must purchase or apply for a quota license, which is limited based on a county’s population. These licenses can only be obtained by winning a lottery with an entry period that begins on the third Monday in August and ends 45 days after each year. They can also be obtained by purchasing the license from someone who is seeking to sell theirs.
With any license, the vendor must fill out an application form and pay an annual fee, which can range from $28 to $1,820. For quota licenses, there is a one-time fee of $10,750, plus additional transfer costs with a license is being purchased from another vendor.
Restaurants can also apply for a special license called an SRX, which allows restaurants to sell beer, wine and liquor for consumption on the premises, as long as certain conditions are met. For example, the restaurant has to derive 51 percent of its revenue from food and non-alcoholic beverages to qualify.
Being able to use and serve alcohol on campus has been a big draw for many of the UCF-based vendors.
The Pop Parlour sells alcohol-infused ice pops to customers in Knight Plaza, and owner Brandon Chandler said he first had to receive permission from the school. But he said the extra paperwork has paid off.
“The alcohol pops have already been a good part of our business,” Chandler said. “We have seen them all over social media, and they are a big reason a lot of people have come in.”
Despite the strict regulations at both the university and state levels, Kelly also said that the benefits outweighed the trouble it took to obtain a license.
“Anything that benefits the UCF community is always worth it,” he said.
Deanna Ferrante is a Senior Staff Writer and Watchdog Reporter for the Central Florida Future.