Today in NC State History: Free suds become total duds

September 29, 2014
By Chris Saunders

historyIconIt may be surprising to some current students, but there was a time in the not-so-distant past that beer was served on campus at NC State.

In fact, it was in early September 1971 when beer was first served in the Erdahl-Cloyd Student Union at an acoustic concert where the alcohol was “all-you-can-drink.” And it was free.

But a Technician account from that performance reveals that the free beer was problematic:

“The Coffee House crowd sat near the front, interested in  the music, while the beer drinkers circled the beer tap. Noise from the back was so loud at one time that [the performer] had to ask for quiet so he could continue his performance. … His fine guitar work and excellent voice lost their impact in the competition with the sudsippers to the rear.”

There was one subsequent attempt to marry free beer and folk music before the debauchery drowned out the ditties. At the second coffee house, the Technician reported that less than 300 people drained 10 kegs of beer. “That’s about a gallon apiece,” said the president of the student union.

So it was on this day 43 years ago that NC State ended the practice of bottomless brew cups.

“From now on,” a representative from the entertainment board said, “the beer idea will be more of a happy hour. Free beer will be supplied for about an hour before the entertainment begins, then the service will be closed and the music can start.”

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