How A California McDonald's Location Almost Became The First To Serve Alcohol

It's been a long day of work, and you don't feel like cooking tonight. You decide to head on over your local McDonald's and get a good old burger and fries to ease off your workday woes. You drive over to the Golden Arch-emblazoned burger restaurant, head through the drive-thru, and place your order on the somewhat fuzzy speaker. A Quarter Pounder, a large fry, an apple pie, and a Bud Lite. Your cashier hands you that brown paper bag, stained with grease spots and warm to the touch, and a can of ice-cold beer. Just as the taste of champagne goes alongside oysters, you think as you munch on your meal back at home, so does a Bud Lite go alongside McDonald's fries.

What you have just read is, of course, pure fantasy. While there are McDonald's that serve beer in places such as in France, Germany, and Greece (via Thrillist), you'll never get any sort of alcoholic drink at any McDonald's here in the United States. That does seem pretty strange, doesn't it? After all, McDonalds was born here in America, so shouldn't responsible Americans be able to have a cold beer with their burger too?

There was, believe or not, going to be a moment when those boozy dreams of Big Mac's and beer were almost a reality. 

McDonald's almost sold beer back in 1983

The year is 1983, and a new McDonald's is opening up in the resort community of Mammoth Lakes, California. While this may not sound like particularly big news, the one key difference setting this Mickey Dee's apart from all the rest will be that it will boast a liquor license.

Or, at least, it would have, had there not been a sudden last-minute change of mind. According to UPI, owner Whitey Andres suddenly changed his mind regarding the store selling beer and wine, withdrawing the request for his McDonald's location to be granted a "special exception" to sell alcoholic spirits. The request was actually considered by McDonald's higher-ups, as the Mammoth area had a notably high adult customer base, making it more appropriate to sell alcohol than it would have been in a general suburban area.

Nevertheless, the request was withdrawn per Andres' demand with no further elaboration given beyond it not being "consistent with the interest of the community". Perhaps the reason for this abrupt change is tied to complaints from local residents, who believed that adding liquor to the menu would hurt McDonald's "clean-cut" image, as well as concerns that teenagers from the local high school would be employed at the restaurant. 

While McDonalds may not serve spirits at their locations, other fast-food phenomena such as Taco Bell's Cantinas may be signs of fast food slowly becoming more accepting of selling alcoholic beverages.