BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Birmingham City Council unanimously approved on Wednesday changing the law to allow pedal bus passengers to drink alcohol while on tours of the city.
The owners of Birmingham Pedal Tours asked the city to allow riders to possess and consume canned wine and beer. They said the prohibition has hindered their business.
“Our business has suffered cancellations after guests have read through our policies and noticed this restriction,” Birmingham Pedal Tours co-owner Jason Kobza said prior to Wednesday’s meeting. “The vast majority of successful pedal pubs across the U.S., most notably Nashville allows this.”
The Birmingham City Council in April approved an ordinance allowing pedal buses and pedal bus services to operate in the city. The vehicles seat around 14 passengers and operate at speeds around 15 miles per hour. The pedal bus services only operate on pre-arranged tours.
Assistant city attorney Julie Barnard said the amendment was needed to allow consumption of alcohol on pedal buses because city law prohibits drinking in public. Public drinking is only allowed in the Uptown Entertainment District.
Jason Kobza said he and his wife, Claire, began asking for the ordinance change in July.
“Allowing beer and wine on board would be a huge leap in progress for our customers, tourism, the local breweries, pubs and restaurants,” he said. “As it stands, we are restricted from our clients bringing any alcohol on board.
He said the beer and wine cans will be collected and recycled. The proceeds will be donated to charity.
All of company’s tours start at Trim Tab or Good People Brewing.
According to the amended ordinance, no glass containers will be allowed on board pedal buses. While at Uptown, passengers can possess and consume a beverage from a restaurant authorized for off-premise alcohol sales.
The pedal bus service can’t sell alcoholic beverages unless they become licensed by the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, according to the ordinance. Drivers of the pedal buses are prohibited from drinking alcohol.