Raleigh can't name amphitheater for beer

Raleigh Amphitheater

June 17, 2010 8:06:30 AM PDT
The City of Raleigh's bid to name its new amphitheater for a beer is a no-go with state regulators.

Raleigh wanted to sell naming rights for the new outdoor facility to Bud Light. But, the plan had to be approved by the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, which said no on Thursday.

The city wanted the ABC commission to exempt it from state liquor advertising regulations that ban an alcoholic beverage from being part of the name of a public venue.

The deal between Raleigh and Bud Light distributor Harris Wholesale would have paid the city a total of $1.5 million over the next 5 years. The money would have gone towards operating costs.

Raleigh posted an online survey on its website asking the public for its opinion on the issue and got plenty of support, but advocacy groups complained that naming a public venue after a beer would send the wrong message to kids.

Raleigh mayor Charles Meeker disagreed at a news conference in May, saying "We've been recognized as one of the most wired cities, educated cities, best places to work and live and the like. We got there because the community is different. It's a younger community people are accustomed to going out where alcoholic beverages are served. Things may have been different 20 or 30 years ago but now we really are a 21st century city. Something like a beer name is not out of place in our community."

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