‘Booze Pops’ categorization questioned: food or alcohol?

Booze Pops serves the Charleston area, but hopes to expand into Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Greenville over the next year. (Image Source: Woodrow Norris)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A vendor that participated in the Myrtle Beach Food Truck Festival in April is under scrutiny by Charleston leaders.

Booze Pops was founded in July 2016, when retired Army veteran Woodrow Norris saw a popsicle with alcohol in it, and was immediately inspired to create the adult version of an ice cream truck.

“We want to change the game of ice cream,” says Norris. “We’ve had an overwhelming positive response.”

After less than a year serving the Folly Beach and Charleston communities, Norris’ business is being questioned by Charleston officials. The Associated Press reports Charleston leaders are asking South Carolina regulators to reconsider if frozen ice pops made with alcohol should be treated like beer and liquor instead of food.

Currently, state law defines the treats as food and not alcohol, according to State Department of Revenue spokeswoman Ashley Thomas.

Norris says before he could begin to operate Booze Pops, he had to get a retail license, city and county permits, and commercial and liability insurance. If regulations were to change the licensing of Booze Pops, Norris says his business would take a hit.

“We would have to focus on events,” says Norris. “We wouldn’t be able to go downtown, or on the streets.”

Booze Pops isn’t intended to be a controversial treat, Norris explains. In fact, the company’s mission statement is “Bringing communities together one Booze Pop at a time.” And the South Carolina native says his business does just that.

“When you have two neighbors that live next door to each other, who don’t know each other, they walk outside and get a Booze Pop and they start conversating and get to know one another,” Norris says.

Booze Pops is operated by nine independent contractors who set their own schedules, Norris confirms. He says the workers make an hourly wage, tips, and can earn commission. Some of the brand’s most popular flavors are Appletini, Mimosa, and Sangria.

Thanks to his success at the Myrtle Beach Food Truck Festival April 1, Norris says he wants to expand his business into the beach, as well as Columbia and Greenville. However, the expansion may have to wait until Charleston leaders receive a response to their letter sent to the state agency.

The City of Charleston claims the state’s current categorization of Booze Pops as food means a driver could eat a “booze pop” behind the wheel or other places they could not drink alcohol, reports the Associated Press.

“I don’t want to be unfairly targeted because maybe city officials don’t like it,” states Norris. “I want to work with the city.”

Norris adds that Booze Pops will build a solid future for his daughters, who are 7 and 15-years-old. The company recently reasserted its stance on several issues, including serving the alcoholic treats responsibly and engaging with the community on the Booze Pops Facebook page.

Norris says he hopes to bring the ice cream truck, which serves the popular Booze Pops as well as regular ice cream, to Myrtle Beach in the coming weeks for the Harley Bike Week in Murrells Inlet and to Carolina Country Music Fest.