It would have been easy to stock King Cobra, Mickey's, Olde English, Colt 45 and other 40-ounce bottles of beer on the shelves on the new Walgreens on the corner of North Fourth Street and East Route 66.
The super-sized malt liquors, better known as "40s," have a high alcohol content and are the drink of choice for many street alcoholics.
The national retailer has decided to opt against selling any super-sized can or bottle of beer in their newest store at the request of area residents, who say they are battling an ongoing problem with street alcoholics.
Marnie Vail from the Change Action Network asked the Council on Tuesday night to restrict the sale of some types of alcohol at the store.
"People (in nearby neighborhoods) feel that these are cheap intoxicants that promote alcoholism and public drunkenness along the Fourth Street Corridor and in nearby parks," she said.
The Series 9 license, if approved by the state liquor board, would allow Walgreens to stock a wide range of alcohol to sell -- including the controversial 40-ounce beers.
Mayor Jerry Nabours noted the city had no ability to restrict the sale of either 40s or the miniature bottles of hard liquor known as "shooters," asking Vail if she'd then oppose the issuance of any liquor license.
Vail said yes, but before the Council could vote on the license for the new store, an attorney representing Walgreens offered a voluntary compromise: The store would not sell any single-serving container of beer.
Instead, it would sell beer in the more expensive six- and 12-packs of beer, which are less common among street alcoholics.
Walgreens declined, however, to comply with another request by area residents not to sell the "shooters." The store will, however, keep those behind the counter.
After the meeting, Vail said she was pleased by the concession on 40s. She noted the neighborhood was going to meet with the store manager in the coming days before the store opens.
Councilmember Coral Evans, who has previously approached businesses asking them to stop selling 40-ounce beers, said she was impressed with the decision by Walgreens.
"I am pretty happy they have taken into consideration some of the longstanding issues in this area," Evans said.
Eastside residents have long had problems with street alcoholics, most recently at Bushmaster Park.
Last year, the city instituted a permit system -- requiring residents to get a one-day permit if there wanted to drink at the eastside park in an attempt to cut down on public intoxication.
The Council approved the liquor license, but Walgreens' application still needs the approval of the state liquor board before the national chain can start selling alcohol at its new Flagstaff location.
The store is expected to open in a few weeks.
Joe Ferguson can be reached at 556-2253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.