FAIRFIELD, NJ — A local chocolatier has been the catalyst behind the formation of a coalition whose mission it will be to bring a sense of sweetness in trying to minimize over-consumption of alcoholic beverages in local liquor-licensed establishments as well as on the roadways of Fairfield Township.

David Little, the owner of Fairfield-based ChocolateText® and the developer of the Chocolate SideCars for Safety™ approached Fairfield Police Chief Anthony G. Manna earlier this year about finding a way to use his chocolate creation in a manner to help promote responsible drinking. The pair joined forces and came up with the nexus for a town-wide initiative using the chocolate.

They quickly formed a coalition with the ride-share company Lyft, the Fairfield Municipal Alliance Committee and the owners of three local popular bars, including the Franklin Steakhouse, Thatcher McGhee’s Irish Pub and Sidelines Pub.

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“This program reflects a subtle and sweet town-wide initiative in helping to try to minimize drunken driving incidents, not only through aggressive enforcement efforts, but equally as important from inside some of our town’s most popular liquor-licensed facilities,” said Manna. “Working alongside Lyft gives our community an easy and seamless option to get where they need to go while maintaining safety as their number one priority.”

The program works as follows: Lyft will provide branded chocolates for bartenders at these establishments to distribute as a discreet way to alert patrons that they should not drive home. When a patron has a few drinks, the bartender will place a Lyft-branded chocolate on the rim of his or her glass.

The chocolate not only serves to suggest that the patron should not get behind the wheel to drive, but also aids as a visual reminder to other bartenders at the establishment regarding the patron’s consumption.

In order to make the decision to utilize an alternate form of transportation even easier, Lyft will offer the special discount code “RIDESAFENJ” for new and existing passengers for a safe ride to and from these select Fairfield bars. For rides that start or end at Sidelines Bar, Thatcher McGhee’s or the Franklin Steakhouse, passengers will be eligible for 50 percent off of two rides up to $5 each ride from Dec. 29 up to and including Dec. 31.  Availability is limited.

“It is vital that those who consume alcoholic beverages be responsible while having fun, especially while celebrating during the holidays,” said Ann Ferracane, General Manager of Lyft New Jersey. “Through this partnership, Lyft provides reliable and safe rides to and from popular destinations for all residents.”

Not only will chocolate be used at the bars but also by Fairfield police officers who will be handing them out to motorists that they stop who are found to be sober as both a reward and a reminder not to drink and drive.

“Working with Lyft and the Fairfield Police Department gives us a unique opportunity to help both spread the message of responsibility in a delicious way,” said Little.

Frank Oliver, the owner of the Franklin Steakhouse and the first bar owner to sign onto the program stated he is excited to be a part of this coalition and will continue to support any programs that assist in helping to reduce drunken driving incidents.

The program will take place in Fairfield between Dec. 29 and 31.