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Friday, December 12, 2014

Wacky Alcohol Laws

Prohibition may have ended over 80 years ago, but that doesn't mean various state agencies didn't come up with lots of idiotic ideas afterwards. Liquor laws are all over the place in the U.S. There are still areas where it's illegal to drink (dry counties), there are places where you can't buy booze on Sunday, but elsewhere there are drive-through bars.

Here are some of the weirder laws.

Banned in Alabama
AK: In Alaska you cannot furnish alcohol to a moose, but you can give it to your kids. This makes sense if you think about it. Imagine the damage a drunk moose could cause while the kids will probably just fall asleep.

AL: There's a state bureaucrat in Alabama browsing alcohol labels looking for nudity. Pornographic labeling not allowed as we don't want a riled up citizenry.

CA: California has very liberal laws regarding alcohol. Enforcement for alcohol sales, including tasting rooms, is under the Alcohol Beverage Control. The ABC has lots of lawyers that have come up with very specific regulations on the relationship between manufacturers (like wineries), wholesales, and retailers. At the consumer level a few years ago the ABC decided wineries could not open a bottle of wine for their guests. They could, however, sell you a cheap corkscrew so you could open the bottle yourself for your picnic. The state legislature hurriedly wrote a new law overturning that interpretation. The latest in ABC interference doesn't allow winemakers to sign their bottles then sell them. It's ruled as an enticement to buy alcohol which is illegal. Yes, the ABC is not very well run.

KY: Part of the bible-belt South still doesn't allow drinking. The dumb part here is that some of Kentucky's famous bourbon is made in dry counties so it's illegal to drink it. There is a "bourbon trail" for visitors and wanting the dollars generated by something like this the state has created a loophole in the law to allow drinking at these "historic" whiskey-making spots.

NE: In Nebraska they wrote up a specific law saying bartenders can't kiss or touch the private parts of patrons. I guess it's okay once they punch out for the day. I'm thinking this law came about after a particularly rowdy Nebraska-Oklahoma football game awhile back.

OK: Oklahoma didn't actually repeal Prohibition until 1959. They are also one of the many states that think 3.2% beer is the way to keep the masses in line. The weird part is you can't buy any beer over 3.2% refrigerated; it must be room temp. Why? I was once told this was to help prevent drinking and driving. People in Tulsa do their shopping in Missouri.
PA vending machine sales

PA: Pennsylvania liquor is totally under the control of state bureaucrats. Their "best" idea was the expensive wine dispenser complete with breathalyzer that won't allow you to buy if you blow a .08. A very dignified process, no?

TN: Tennessee liquor stores can't sell cold soft drinks so you won't be tempted to buy a pint of Jack and a Coke to mix for your ride home. Considering that Jack and Coke is the official state drink this is really a shame.

TX: You aren't allowed to have more than three sips of beer at a time when standing. This must be some sort of college campus anti-chugging law as no self-respecting 20 year old wants to sit down while chugging a warm Lone Star. 

UT: Okay, you expect Utah to have dumb alcohol laws. One is not allowing restaurant patrons to actually see the bartender preparing their drink. Apparently, it's like porno or something. Utah also has a ban on happy hours, as does Massachusetts. That is freaking un-American!