Brewery working to prevent DUIs with free beer

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An Ybor City brewery is using a unique approach to discourage drunk driving. It's giving away free beer to those who don't do it.

Coppertail Brewing Co. may be the first in the Bay Area to reward those who make a safe choice with more alcohol. The voucher program began when staff would see cars left on the parking lot the next morning after a busy night.

"We came in one morning. We saw a bunch of cars lined up outside that had been left from the night before and it was like, 'That's so awesome!' These guys didn't leave here trashed. They consciously chose to get home safe," said Zeus Cordeiro, general manager of Coppertail's tasting room.

Cordeiro says most people coming back the next day to get their cars think they're getting a ticket, until they see the beer voucher.

"Usually when they see it, they're pleasantly surprised and they're really happy they're getting something," said Cordeiro.

Coppertail has been giving out the vouchers for more than a year. The business' approach to people who leave their cars overnight is a stark contrast to some bars and shopping centers at other Tampa night life hot spots, like the South Howard area.

In the last year, predatory and illegal towing practices were discovered, leading to a crackdown from the city on an ordinance aimed at preventing drunk driving. It is illegal, in most cases, for cars to be towed from a business which sells alcohol between 9:00 p.m. and noon the next day.

At Coppertail, customers not only won't be towed, but they'll have a reason to come back.

"I think it's great that, unexpectedly if you have too many and can't drive home, that's awesome that you're rewarded for being responsible," said customer Joe Hamilton.