By Caroline Lowe, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Wally the Beer Man will have his day in court this week on charges he sold beer to a minor at Target Field. He was fired by the company that handles the concessions at the Minnesota Twins home ballpark.

Wally McNeil, known as Wally the Beer Man, has been selling beer at the baseball games for more than 40 years. The 76-year-old was caught in a police sting last September and charged with a gross misdemeanor. He now wants to clear his name.

McNeil, and another vendor Edward Stepnick, turned down a plea deal to take their chances with a jury in Hennepin County, accusing police of entrapment.

“Because they’re not guilty. You can settle and cut your losses by working out a plea deal but you have to say you had criminal intent and believe me, these guys did not,” said McNeil’s attorney Peter Wold.

They were all set to start their trial Monday morning when it got bumped to Wednesday. 

“We’re going to cross the bridges and win,” said McNeil. “I am in good hands with peter and that’s all I have to say.”

Wold will argue that Wally and Stepnick were set up by the police when they didn’t check the IDs of a teenage decoy buying beer during a sting at the ballpark.

“Wally’s been doing this for 41 years at that time, Ed for 27, I think. And not once in all the different stings, any report, any complaints that that had ever happened before,” said Wold.

McNeil’s popularity selling beer for decades at the Twins games decades prompted fans to create a Facebook page to rally for him.

McNeil said he has “10,796 hits on Facebook about Wally and Free Wally and different things. It’s great to have that kind of fan base. What more can I be happy about?”

A police supervisor said he couldn’t comment on the case because he is on the list of officers subpoenaed to possibly testify at the trial. But Lt. Chris Hildreth said officers played by the rules in the handling of the sting at Target Field.

Whether McNeil is invited back to sell beer at the Twins games will be determined in part by what happens in court.

A Twins spokesperson said the team would like to have McNeil back in some role because he is so popular.

If Wally is convicted of a gross misdemeanor, he faces a maximum penalty of $3,000 fine and a year in jail.

Comments (73)
  1. laupforod says:

    go WALLEY go, im rooting for you

    1. laupforod says:

      oops ‘wally” sorry

  2. Bob says:

    No question, he is a “celebrity beer vendor,” but he committed a crime. Why waste the court’s time with this matter, not take the plea, and hope that you once sold the judge a beer and he’ll be forgiving.

    1. Richard in Minneapolis says:

      Did he KNOWINGLY commit a crime?

      1. Bob says:

        WHAT? So by that logic, he can sell to anyone, as long as he does not know their age? It is illegal for him to sell to minors. Period. He is required by law and his employer to sell only to those 21 and over. I think given his experience, he may have KNOWN this.

      2. Victim Du Jour says:

        Chubby Soccermoms in the State Legislature have been pushing childhood farther into adulthood.

        My Dad worked on a ship when he was 16, traveling the world.

        Now parent can claim a 26 year old as being a kid and 30 year olds are still living in the basement with mom and dad.

        14th Amendment “equal protection clause” says 18 year olds are old enough to buy a beer at a baseball game.

      3. Wilbur says:

        Once again victim du jour is claiming to know all but yet so ignorant.
        Drinking age is set by the state. Here it is 21. It may have been 18 when he was young.
        States set their own ages for emancipation, usually 18 or 19. To be declared younger you need to go to court. This changes based on society. In an earlier time all a kid had to do was go through the 8th grade. That changed some time ago. Sorry victim can not keep up with the times.
        You can claim a child as a dependent at any age as long as they are physically dependent on you (sorry you kid had muscular dystrophy) or a full time student up to 24 (halfway through a phd?) If your kid is 30 and living at home it is one of 3 things 1. Good for the kids taking care of their parents, 2. It is the economy, stupid, 3. what the heck?

      4. Hmmmmmmmm says:

        He knowingly committed a crime by not checking the ID of the individual wishing to purchase a beer. To work at Target Field you go through extensive training and there is no questioni n the matter you ID those that wish to purchase alcohol of any kind. The training is very thorough and you are informed that the MPD will perform stings or compliance checks some time during all home stands. I don’t care if he has been selling beer of one year or one hundred years he SHOULD have checked the ID of the kid whether he felt he didn’t need to or not. I have watched volunteers walked right out of the ball field with no question asked for no complying with the rules around alcohol sales. Time to suck it up Wally and if Peter Wold truly gets you off then I will question the integrity of our legal system.

    2. just8 says:

      Done correctly, any beer seller can be nabbed in a sting. It’s called a set-up for a reason. Have some compassion.

    3. Arne says:

      What ever happened to innocent until proven Guility in a court of law

    4. Paul H. Krumrei says:

      Shut your pie hole BOB! It aint like he was on the streets selling booze on the side, he was targeted by the police in a sting, in which they TRICK people. This is all a bunch of BS! Go Wally!

      1. Disk Guise says:

        Any kid can dress in a manner that makes them look over 21. Just because he sold it to a minor, doesn’t mean the kid didn’t appear to be over 21. I’d love to see you try to make a living selling beer and having to check ID with 40,000 of your closest fans yelling in your ear

  3. Austin says:

    leave it to the beer nazi’s

  4. Susie says:

    What about the other 7, are they fighting it in court ? If you do wrong you pay for it. Simple.

    1. dunno says:

      Yeah – he may have screwed up. I think it’s a matter of the ability to sell going ahead…or the inability I guess.

      I’m sober … since the 70’s. Hate alcohol and what it does. That stated – I think allpiying the same criteria, laws and rules to parents might mean we have to build a hundred new jails or prisons too. just saying……………………………

    2. Paul E. says:

      Good Question, what did other7 do?

      1. Sara says:

        I believe only one other person is fighting this too!

  5. Tom says:

    Concession sting? Good use of tax money.

    1. Ralph bets you say yep says:

      got no problem with this sting thing – more like seeing who’s breaking the law in a mass of people and the only way they can do it. You be troubled if they selling crack? Or sex? just asking ……….

  6. Joey says:

    They are saying it was entrapment. That’s why he’s fighting it.

    1. BBB says:

      Hey – don’t get me wrong. I love this guy, he’s been making me smile for decades. And not with beer as I don’t drink. lol
      He messed up – likely an error but playing the entrapment card makes me not in his camp on this either. Take the rap, work a deal, and back to work asap.

    2. Bob says:

      ICE COLD BEER HERE!! Here’s my money. Here’s your beer. Oops, entrapment.

  7. sam says:

    only 8? a very small number considering. why aren’t the beer nazi’s more concerned with those 21+ customers who buy beer and then bring it back to their underaged friends in the stands? that’s where the real money is.

    1. ThomasY says:

      Too funny now sam….how many cops you want in the park? lol
      I saw a guy busted in the Dome for doing this a few years back. He’d been buying a few rounds and suspect someone had said enough and turned him in. It made me kind of happy even – the young kids were getting pretty disgusting with their trash talk. They hauled off – 5 of them. My view of game was then better too
      Thanks to all the security and police – I actually got to hear and see the final 3 plus innings!

  8. tom says:

    Smart move on his part. More media the better. Bottom line: $$$$$$

    1. Tad G says:

      he loses he gets no vendor license for a year. Think he was dumb – cut a deal and head back to work sooner. Nope – not Wally.
      Luv ya man but you really missed a easy way out

  9. Jobu says:

    I’ve heard of bartenders getting fired on the spot for getting caught in a sting.
    I have no sympathy for him. He’s just another overpriced beer vendor to me and he broke the law.

  10. Jake says:

    Wally will walk away unscathed from this because he has Tiger Blood and Adonis DNA. All you haters are just envious because he is drunk on a homebrew called “Wally the Beerman.” When you go back to your miserable lives, Wally will be back home with his godesses doing what? Duh. Winning!

  11. Idiots says:

    I heard there were some little old ladies with walkers running an illegal bingo game out of their nursing home…better send out some undercover cops to infiltrate their operation. Can’t have those kinds of things happening in our city! And I don’t trust those two grandma’s that reviiew the movies and Oscars tor channel 4, they seem to be up to mischief, I’d keep an eye on them….you just never know.

    1. Idiots is an idiot says:

      So the country should be governed by no rules you are saying eh? Heck, I’m going to go speeding down 35 tonight going 100 and if I get caught in a speed trap, I will plead “the Wally the Beer Man”. I was set up.

      1. Idiots says:

        If you were put in the passenger seat and the cop was driving your car 100 mph so his buddy could write the ticket, you might have a point.

    2. @Idiots says:

      I heard there were 99 little ol’ dudes running an illegal sex op with 17 year olds.
      Another group of small businesses that give ya a 5% discount when it’s nuttin’ but cash they receive.
      Or my neighbor who might be selling just a few joints to the kids in the neighborhood.
      They get to use the Wally Entrapment All’s Good Rule too?
      I agree – lets toss out laws altogether. We all have an excuse or justification eh!

  12. Jeff says:

    Look wrong is wrong, if bar employees are held to the law then it’s no different with beer hawkers at sporting events. They are essentially mobile bartenders and should be treated no different than any other employee of any establishment that sells alcoholic beverages.

    I know I certainly don’t want any of my underage grandchildren going to a Twins, Vikings, Wild, Timberwolves or any other sporting event and be able to buy beer . I.m glad the police ran this sting operation, they do these on bars every now and then as well. The vendors at the various sports facilities should get no preferential treatment.

    1. JDC says:

      Correct wrong is wrong. So everyone who is gambling on the NCAA and all the fantasy sports should be arrested. Also most people go over the speed limiit, so anyone speeding should be busted no more allowing the public to go 5 mph or so over the limiit.

      Oh, wait, he does have the right to fight it if he wants, the same as everyone else. Oh, and we do not have a paticulars of how the sale went down, so could there be somthing here? Law Enforcemtn has used entrapment before, could be who knows. I think that is why we have the system we do and the Judges to decide. If not then many here are saying if you are charged you must be guilty and that is not always the case.

      1. Mike d says:

        Gambling on the NCAA or any other fantasy sport is LEGAL as long as the person running it is not making any money. They must give all of the money to the winners.

  13. Dave says:

    If the Minneapolis police have the time and resources to bust beer vendors and bartenders then its time to cut the Minneapolis Police Force.

    1. yesssirrrreeeee Dave says:

      I agree – get rid of all the laws and enforcement. Hey Dave – post up here when you heading home from the bar please. Preferabley when you just cashed a unemployment check and are flush …… and after you slashed the PD numbers. I’ll put it up on the scoreboard 😉

    2. to Dave says:

      I love my country, the United States of America.

      It’s the idiots whom reside here that I don’t

  14. Ralph says I.C. says:

    independent contractors — so many jobs this way today. Way out for comapnies on everything from insurance to paying into SS to liability issues. Cool for them

  15. MAJ says:

    Not much different than the local police getting a high school senior to buy cigs at the local Cenex store.

    1. Cope with it says:

      nope – funny but when I grew up a law was THE law. You got busted you did the time and then decided if you wanted to be dumb later and take another chance at being caught. Usually one said no thanks.
      Wally surprises me playing the cop out thing. And I lost my respect for the guy. Deal with it and grow up. You already old – so just up wally. Please. Gosh – I am actually older than Wally. That is somewhat scarey

  16. I see stupid people... says:

    I’m guessing most of the pro-Wally supporters on here who think he was set up also have criminal records of their own and have no respect for the law. If I get caught speeding, I will admit guilt and pay the fine. I was in the wrong.

    1. Repeat this again to stupid folk says:

      You and I and a few others here seem to have missed the initiation calling of the New American. The New American Pledge begins with these sentences:

      ” I can do no wrong as I have no laws that pertain to me nor mine”
      ” If I am called on doing something against the laws that pertain to the others I shall have an excuse to avoid your laws apply to me”
      ” I shall accept no blame nor responsibillites for any of my actions”

      The USA Ship is sinking 🙁

  17. DJAbraham says:

    Shoulda took the plea bargain, dude! You’re no OJ.

  18. nadine says:

    How do u know who is really buying the beer? U need to pass it down past 20 people give or take a few depending on where u r sitting. This is bs and they need to drop the charges!!! Go Wally

    1. Wallys sipping a java says:

      pass the kool aid and pipe down when ya done nadine

      1. Clint Make My Day says:

        I would enjoy some too when you and Wally are done. LMAO

  19. DJAbraham says:

    @ Dave – the bartender most certainly gets fined!

  20. Grizz says:

    Poor Wally – seems another cash grabbing legal beagle may be steering him down a path that he was pretty off not treading on. Not the first one to deny responsiblity for actions but in the end he did it. Pay the fine Wally and get some rest

  21. Happy I am not but sheesh says:

    Not Wally !
    Holy Sinful of Beer. Busted.
    Wally – Wally – Wally
    By gads man – you sold it to me when I was 15, way back. You could have been busted thousands of times – deal with it. This is stupid …. entrapment
    Wally Wally Wally …. plead it and end it

  22. just8 says:

    Cops watch minors smoke all the time. Why don’t they bust them? It’s not profitable to bust a kid, but get the business or sales clerk with a big fat fine. Yes, nobody should sell to minors, but more responsibiity should be placed on the minors purposely commiting a crime.

    1. Ugottabe kidding me with this comment says:

      They do – I fired several of my half wits in last 5 years for selling tobacco to underage buyers. It costs me and may cost my license.
      It was good knowing you kid

  23. Tea likes BEER! says:

    Wally is a nice guy……He made a mistake…..or was in a hurry…still….

    Good luck Wally….Hope to see you at the games still!!!

  24. scott says:

    Wow they got nothing better to do than go to a SOLD OUT Yankees game. And bust someone for selling to a minor trying to get beer. Why not pentalize the person commiting the crime of underage drinking? Probalbly because they are minors and you wouldnt get a dime. Mabey we should go after auto maker next because they make cars go faster than 55 lol

    1. Waldo oh Waldo says:

      They got lots better to do – thing is they getting lots of complaints about under age drinking too. The law is the law – underage and want to drink maybe it best to stay home and do so. You got Wally in a jam
      Where’s Waldo?

  25. Connie Pronk Remiger says:

    ok dude in the 12 seat in the 5th row in section 105, send me your ID I’ll check it and send it back then you can send me the money and I’ll send you a beer………………….Maybe they should put wrist bands on miinors.

    I’m on Wally’s side. Give me a break.

    1. Rachael -EP parent says:

      Not me – so stay home if ya don’t like the law. 😉

  26. Scooby Doo says:

    The continually corrupt Minneapolis police department got bored picking on their own, so they decided to entrap some beers vendors selling beers that are closer to water than alcohol. My tax dollars at work, oh joy!

    1. We called the Twins and PD you idiot says:

      How come you react ScoobyHead w/o doing some digging and research? They had been getting complaints from us there about the underaged thing for better part of the season – they did what we asked or demanded. It’s a shame you shift the blame to the PD as they doing what we asked. And enforcing the law thats on the books.
      You upset about it please stay at home. That’d be swell by me. Thanks in advance for making my day.

      1. Larry M says:

        I hope you slept well knowing that you did your part to rid our insidious world of villlians and scofflaws. Let me know guess, you live in Eden Prarie or Woodbury and like to watch CSI-Miami and get all pumped up at the thought of turning in a few kids having a Miller Lite. Don’t tell me what’s a shame when the cops are breaking the same laws that are “on the books”.

  27. Larry M says:

    The continually corrupt Minneapolis police department got bored picking on their own, so they decided to entrap some beers vendors selling beers that are closer to water than alcohol. My tax dollars at work, oh joy!

    1. Scooby Larry Moron Idiot Fool says:

      Go grab a beer Larry and pass out huh

      1. Larry M says:

        While we’re at it let’s compare w-2s and bank accounts. You’d lose at those also.

    2. Alan says:

      So does having a high income mean you can label a force of 800 as corrupt? Make claims about other people with no basis of knowledge? You may have a high income but it did not buy you any charm.

    3. @Larry M says:

      @Larry M

      You a drunk or just plain crazy?

  28. Larry Jr says:

    LMFAO – retired 9 years ago junior, happy and well and smiling every day.
    Indeed – I live in EP, off the Path and yep- I’d meet you anywhere and anytime to compare notes. 😉

  29. Rich says:

    Here’s an idea, Have Wally the Beer Man do a Public Service Announcement about underage drinking that’s sponsored by the Twins or one of the beer companies and then drop the charges. Imagine Wally saying something like this on camera, “I can’t wait to see you back at the ballpark again real soon and even serve ya a beer, but only if your 21 or older. No ID for me, no beer for you!”

    1. Thank you Rich. says:

      I think this is probably the best, most reasonable response I’ve read on here so far.

  30. anthony says:

    great Job of state of minnesota put the real criminals away. How about focus on welfare fraud. I see so many people living like kings on welfare. The man will not marry the woman and collect welfare get free food and sell drugs and maybe have boyfriend working if lucky. Go to rainbow foods on arcade you pigs of police and bust some of these people with 100’s of dollars of clothes on with ebt cards and buying lottery tickets and steak and seafood. we can overlook this but not someone selling alcohol to a 20 yr old 300 day person. Give me a break fn pigs. I lost all respect for law inforcement when i got a dwi sleeping in my car. This pig is a hero now and I lose my job of 11 years for this. I had no intentions on driving just on wrong side of town having a few to many. Im looking forward to fighting this and go wally. Police are now the crooks. They F the working and overlook the real crooks.

    1. Grizz Pop's 'em says:

      Well stated anthony – you really impress us all. Not many can speak so eloquently and with such in-check emotion. You are truly assisting all your fellow drunks who sleep in the car. 😉
      BTW – if your keys were not accessible to you then there is no charge that will stick. If they are within easy access you will have a problem. As far as I am concerned, and likely the police, you may have or been planning on driving. And used the ruse of sleeping to save your carcuss from a DWI.
      Sorry – that is the law, the way it is written on the books, and the way it should be. Maybe consume less – ever think of that? Just wondering as it would have saved you a lot of expense and it seems bitterness.

  31. Richard in Minneapolis says:

    Go ahead and put Wally in jail for a year. I mean the State of Minnesota really doesn’t have any higher priority for the $40,000 that would take.

    After living seven years in countries where the drinking age is 16 I find the whole brouhaha absurd – and getting carded at MSP at the age of 52 a tad insulting.

  32. Del says:

    The point is the guy has been working there for 30 years, in that 30 years he has probably worked over 3000 games, this is his first and only offense. Of course you are not supposed to sell to a minor, everyone knows that, but sometimes people make mistakes. Almost everyone I know at their job has made a mistake at some point in their life, should they be fired for 1 mistake? How would you feel if you were working, and you unknowingly did something wrong and got fired for it?

    Give me a break, the people with no compassion for wally, are ridiculously over-analyzing this entire case, it’s truly not that serious, especially when considering that the seed in the operation can’t and didn’t drink a beer anyways. Yes the guy sold to a minor without ID’ing him, a big offense and certainly the wrong thing to do. So maybe he should sell hot dogs or something else for a certain amount of time, and go through some more training to prevent the problem from happening again. Putting somebody out of a job on a first offense is just ridiculous. If it happened again, then yes a lot of the people here with no compassion toward wally would have legitimate concerns. Everyone makes mistakes

  33. BIGDOG says:

    WAlly is the best. I go out of my way to buy beer from wally. the law should go after the real criminals out there. free wally. opening day is soon. I’m a twins season ticket holder. IT COULD BE A DRY SUMMER AT TARGET FIELD. BOYCOTT BEER AT TARGET FIELD