Wapato asks businesses to stop selling 40 oz. beers & high-alcohol drinks

Wapato asks businesses to stop selling 40 oz. beers & high-alcohol drinks »Play Video
WAPATO, Wash. -- Wapato store and bar owners were asked by police to attend a special meeting at the community center.

Nearly two dozen showed up and were filled in on the city's latest efforts to stop the booze problem.

Business owners are now being asked to stop selling 40 oz. beers or high-alcohol content drinks to go.

"With the alcohol content being anywhere from seven to nine percent on some of them, you know, they're gonna get drunk faster,” said Jim Whitaker, a Wapato Bar Owner. “It’s gonna cause you more problems."

Whitaker was at the meeting and says he doesn’t sell 40 oz. beers because they make a mess for everyone.

Wapato police say their problem with alcohol isn't just public intoxication. It's also the excessive littering that comes with it. Police say their biggest problem are the 40 oz. bottles because they're cheap and easy to toss.

Action News first showed you a heap of 40 ounce beers near the railroad tracks this summer. Police did get the site cleaned up. They say it's just the beginning of a city-wide crackdown on alcohol.

Mayor Jesse Farias says keeping a small city clean isn't as easy as it seems.

"Well, there's litter anyway in any city, perhaps it shows it more because Wapato is so small,” Farias said.

The Liquor Control Board asked us not to use sound from the meeting to protect the privacy of the business owners. During the meeting, police and officials also refreshed business owners on legal repercussions of serving underage or visibly drunk customers.

Some business owners said it seems like the city should be punishing those who litter, not them.

"As far as the store owners go, yes, the store should be able to sell what they want. I mean that's, you know, that's business,” Whitaker said.

Mayor Farias says this is just the first phase of the new enforcement. He tells Action News they are listening to the feedback of business owners and will continue to keep an eye on those who are actually littering.