Hot weather pilgrims planning to descend upon the Texas tubing mecca of New Braunfels this summer may not know yet that the rules of eating and drinking while floating have changed.
Under the city’s “Can Ban,” several traditional methods of imbibing on the river have been outlawed in the name of conservation. But take note: alcohol itself is not banned. It’s just that all items consumed on the river, both food and beverage, must be held in non-disposable containers.
As our lead station KUT reports today, the ban has had a negative impact on businesses that rely on tubers. Scott Gromacki, assistant manager at Greune River Co, tells KUT that his business is down 40 to 50 percent for this time of year. “We’re hoping it picks up,” he says. “If we get more rain that would help. But, the main factor that we’re down is the city ordinances.”
So what’s allowed on the river? It might be easier to start with what isn’t : No glass or Styrofoam. Containers cannot be smaller than five fluid ounces. People may bring along coolers but no more than one per person and no larger than 16 quarts. And no “volume drinking devices,” like beer bongs, are allowed.
With these (not-so-clear) rules in mind, we’ve compiled a list of five ways to get out on the river, cerveza in hand, keeping in mind that safe floating and responsible drinking are the best way to enjoy any river:
- Coffee Thermos: You might wince when its labor-inspired aesthetic reminds you of what your float was supposed to be an escape from. But at least its thick layer of insulation will keep your drinks nice and cold.
- Flask or Wineskin: There are few more classic examples of taking spirits on the road than the good, old-fashioned flask. As long as the flask holds at least five ounces, you can swig away while floating. And in the decidedly common pastime of river tubing, what could be better for floating your cosmopolitan cred than the Mediterranean-inspired wineskin?
- Gatorade Cooler: You may be used to seeing this on the sidelines of football games, but its utility goes much further — it can serve a hoard of tubers at once, and is allowed under the new rules.
- Camelback: Humps aren’t just for camels anymore. No hands needed, either! Just don’t let the drinking tube fall out of your mouth.
- Gas Can: This is completely up to your discretion, but we suggest buying a new one. At the least, clean it out several times before filling it up for your float. The fossil fuel aftertaste can get quite cloying after a while.
To get a complete rundown on the rules, you can visit www.watertherules.com.