In the initial month since the Blue Sky convenience store, located off Highway 6, became the first to sell to-go daiquiris in Oxford, its sales have doubled. However, the store has already faced legality issues.
The daiquiris were introduced to Blue Sky customers on a Friday and were taken away that Saturday by the Oxford Police Department due to a miscommunication regarding liquor licenses. The second instance came shortly after, when a cup violation forced Blue Sky to stop selling the daiquiris and change the containers.
Christine Anderson, Blue Sky general manager, said it’s been a challenge to keep OPD happy in order to ensure the sales of the daiquiris comply with the law regulations. The daiquiris sold at Blue Sky are malt- and wine-based with an alcohol content of 6.2 percent, meaning that the only permit required of the store is a sale permit.
“We have dealt with the law a few times since we’ve been here because, of course, we opened up Friday and the law came in Saturday and shut us down,” Anderson said. “They thought we didn’t have the right liquor license.”
The sale of daiquiris is not a new phenomenon in the city of Oxford, with Funky’s Pizza and Daiquiri Bar located on the Square. Because Blue Sky is the first store of its kind to make the beverages a to-go drink, it is facing a different set of challenges.
Although to-go cups of alcoholic beverages were previously unheard of in this city, establishments that serve food and wine are permitted to reseal unfinished bottles and place them in plastic bags. Blue Sky has been cooperating with OPD to ensure customers are informed of the regulations regarding open container laws.
To stay consistent with open container laws, Blue Sky follows a step-by-step process for each daiquiri sale. The convenience store is enforcing the law by ensuring the daiquiris are secured by placing lids on the Styrofoam cups.
“Once the ID is scanned and the daiquiri is purchased, we put the lid on it and lay the straw across the top,” Anderson said. “We then tell the customer that they’re not allowed to insert the straw as long as they’re on our premises, but what they do after that is up to them.”
Funky’s owner Lee Harris said he is not fazed by the newest competitor in town.
“I think it’s a great idea for a convenience store, especially for customers who are just grabbing gas and want a daiquiri to-go, but I don’t see a point in changing the recipe to add wine just so I can sell them to-go,” Harris said. “When people come in for a Bushwhacker, they’re going to be expecting that rum, and it just wouldn’t make sense.”
OPD code enforcement Officer Rusty Rasberry said he thinks the chain might affect the number of alcohol-related traffic violations committed in the city.
“It’s so new, and I think we’re all kind of learning together,” Rasberry said. “To be honest, the business is just a business; they’re trying to make a dollar, but our main priority is to keep everyone safe.”
Rasberry said customers should be well-informed of the open container laws in the city of Oxford and should not be consuming any type of alcohol while in a vehicle.
“Any violation committed will be due to a general lack of education that people would not see drinking a daiquiri as the same as opening a bottle,” Rasberry said. “I think the mistake would be if people are absent-mindedly putting that straw in and tasting it as they head out the store, compared to knowing that they better not open that beer.”
Anderson said he has seen many new customers since daiquiris became available for purchase. Senior business major Hugh Sherrill visited the store last weekend and was excited by the new daiquiri machines.
“The experience is not quite like the drive-thrus in New Orleans, but it gets the job done, along with a sugar rush,” Sherrill said.