Alcohol merchants across Isla Vista are reporting a dramatic decrease in the number of kegs being sold.
Recently many I.V. residents have chosen to buy canned beer or bottled liquor rather than kegs, as those forms of alcohol are less likely to be traced back to the buyer, Lee Johnson, co-owner of the Isla Vista Market, said. Johnson said he attributes the decrease in keg sales to the new keg-monitoring program enacted by the Isla Vista Foot Patrol (IVFP).
Johnson said sales of kegs in his store have gone down as much as 80%, compared to sales at this time last year.
Rami Barakat, owner of SOS Liqour, said his store is also selling considerably fewer kegs this year, even though some of his customers live outside of I.V.
Six-Pak Shop employee Adam Newman, a third year religious studies major, said his store has also seen a decrease in sales, but said he could not provide an exact number for the decrease.
Most kegs hold 15.5 gallons of beer. A keg of Natural Light beer sells for approximately $50. The cost to purchase the same amount of beer that is in a keg – roughly 160 12-ounce cans, at 30-pack prices, is approximately $87.
While overall beer sales have declined, perhaps due to this cost-per-ounce increase, both Johnson and Barakat said that overall profits from alcohol sales have remained constant.
Restaurants and bars in the area report little change in alcohol sales, however.
Bartender and manager of Study Hall Joe Hubag-Dies said while there is no change in sales now, there might be an increase in the future as more people over the age of 21 leave the I.V. party scene and visit bars instead.
IVFP’s crackdown on kegs was enacted after the California Bureau of Alcohol Beverage Control gave the IVFP $150,000 to fund overtime pay and hire new officers. The increase in officers will allow the IVFP more time to enforce keg registration and tracking. The mandatory fine for furnishing alcohol to minors is $3,076.
Since the beginning of the crackdown on kegs and underage drinking, IVFP officer Joe Parker said there has been much less crime in I.V.
“There is less criminal activity all around.” Parker said.