Selling single bottles of high-alcohol beer and miniature bottles of liquor and wine would be prohibited in Joliet under an ordinance proprosed by Mayor Tom Giarrante.
The measure, which would also ban the sale of half pints and pints of liquor, was presented this week to the Joliet Liquor Commission, which is headed by Giarrante, the city's liquor commissioner.
"The problem (with the small bottles) is they're easy to buy and they don't cost a lot of money," Giarrante said. "They're easy to steal and easy to hide."
Joliet police brought the issue to the mayor because they've observed panhandlers collecting money and then buying the small bottles, primarily because they're inexpensive, he said. They're also popular among young drinkers, Giarrante said.
The proposed ordinance would make an exception for the miniature bottles if they're packaged in cases of four, six or more, Giarrante said. Single cans or bottles of beer with low-alcohol content could be sold individually as long as they're warm, but those with high-alcohol content would have to be sold in six-packs, he said.
Putting a ban on the miniature bottles seemed well-received by the business owners who attended the Wednesday meeting, Giarrante said, but there was far less acceptance of outlawing half and full pints of liquor and single bottles of beer.
The prohibition on half pints and pints could put a dent in liquor stores' income, while the restrictions on the higher-alcohol beer could make it impossible to sell expensive specialty beer, which often does not come in six-packs and is typically sold by the bottle, Giarrante said.
Given the owners' concerns, the ordinance will be discussed again at the next liquor commission meeting set for 9 a.m. Aug. 15 at Harrah's. If endorsed by the commission, the ordinance would still need Joliet City Council approval.