Alcoholic beverages are now on tap at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.
Recent approval from Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, along with the City of Edmonton, means the attraction is now licensed for site-wide booze consumption. Zoo visitors can now grab a drink and consume it anywhere food and drinks are currently allowed on site.
The owner of Prairie Catering, the operator of Sandwich & Sons and 40 Acres Cafe at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, said he hopes the new rules will open up the attraction to new clientele.
“It just provides a different type of experience,” Jimmy Shewchuk said. “I think it will help the zoo become a new date night hot spot.
“Why shouldn’t you be able to enjoy a beer or a glass or wine or Prosecco as you walk around the zoo and enjoy a summer day?”
Shewchuk believes people are open to more freedom when it comes to public consumption, and this move will align with other regions around the world that have successfully done it for years.
“Europe has been doing it for decades,” he said. “It’s a little bit more forward-thinking in terms of enjoying a beverage.
“We’re glad we’re catching up.”
The zoo is also using this chance to support local businesses, by offering beer from local breweries Sea Change Brewing Co. and Blindman Brewing. Broken Spoke Cider is also on the menu.
The zoo is currently only open during the day. As COVID-19 public health restrictions allow, Shewchuk hopes there will be future opportunities for evening events such as live music nights.
The AGLC said the licensing for the Edmonton Valley Zoo was approved in December 2020. Alcohol must be purchased on site, people cannot bring their own booze.
Alcohol consumption may also be allowed at some river valley parks this summer. The motion for a city pilot project that would allow for open drinking is being put forward at Wednesday’s Community and Public Services Committee meeting.
If approved, the program would allow alcohol consumption from May 28 until Oct. 11 at 47 picnic sites in seven parks around Edmonton.