By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
With the owners of one of the Casper movie theaters announcing their intent to seek a liquor license, Wyoming could soon have three cities with movie theaters that also serve alcohol.
This week, the owners of Studio City Mesa told the Casper City Council that they were seeking a restaurant liquor license to serve alcohol at the theater’s concession stands, according to the Casper Star-Tribune.
Wyoming State Liquor Association Executive Director Mike Moser told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that movie theaters across the nation have started to sell alcohol, so Wyoming is just getting in on the trend.
“Since COVID, people realized they can watch movies at home,” Moser said. “But, when you do that, you can’t go out and get a bunch of friends together and have a burger and a beer before seeing a movie. That’s part of the fun. Considering the quality of some of the movies I’ve seen in the last year, alcohol would really have helped.”
The owner of the Capitol 12 movie theater in Cheyenne, Rob Berger, recently received the a restaurant liquor license for his venue, meaning it will soon begin to serve alcohol, although a firm timeline has not yet been set.
The owners of a Jackson movie theater are also interested in pursuing a liquor license, but Moser said they are looking to secure a retail license, since they do not serve enough food to go under the “restaurant” umbrella, unlike Cheyenne or Casper.
According to the Star-Tribune, the proposed expanded menu for the Casper theater’s concessions includes chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken tenders, french fries, pizza and appetizers. The Cheyenne theater serves much of this same menu already.
The Casper theater’s application must be reviewed by the state Liquor Division and local agencies will ensure the business is compliant with city codes and ordinances before the license is approved.
Moser does not feel that the alcohol sales will necessarily bring in much, if any, extra money for the theaters, but rather that the owners are doing this because it enhances the filmgoing experience.
The number of residents in a community will determine if movie theaters in cities such as Laramie, Gillette or Sheridan will begin to sell alcohol, he said.
“We’re not talking about a lot of volume [of alcohol] here, since movie theaters have been struggling for a while,” Moser said. “You’re not going to be sitting around for three or four hours, drinking. But you can have a drink and a burger and see a movie.”