When our Founding Fathers were hanging out in Philly taverns discussing The Declaration of Independence, thinking about the future of this new United States of America, I highly doubt they realized that the system of law that they were establishing would one day become riddled with so many outrageous beer-related laws and regulations. I believe they would be down right ashamed of what some states are doing in this day and age that make selling, purchasing, and even enjoying a beer so damn difficult.
Working with beer in Pennsylvania has given me first hand experience with some of the absurdity that exists in the law books when it comes to everyone’s favorite fermented beverage. If you want to buy more than 12 beers you should by all means be able to carry more than 12 beers out of the store but you can’t. At least not at a six-pack shop, go to a distributor and you can buy all the kegs and cases your heart desires…AND carry them out to your car all by yourself. Now where is the logic in that?
A lot of these laws are simply outdated, put in place long ago by a bunch of Quaker prudes. They end up causing merchants and consumers all sorts of troubles including on occasion, fines. The state knows people need their beer and they’ll find a way to squeeze a few dollars out of that need whether in taxes or fines. This is motivation for quite a few of these sorts of laws and regulations but after doing some reading and snooping I’ve come across a slew of beer laws that seem to come out of absolutely nowhere and are just plain old stupid. Some of these make Pennsylvania seem almost ahead of the curve. Almost.
Grab yourself a beer, you’ll need it. Here are some of the worst.
- North Dakota – It is illegal to serve beer and pretzels at the same time. SCREW YOU.
- West Virginia – Of course it’s illegal to furnish alcohol to minors…except if you’re related by blood OR marriage. That would’ve come in handy.
- Indiana – You can’t carry your own drink from the bar to a table…an employee is the only one legally allowed to do so.
- Missouri – If you love sitting on a curb and drinking beer out of a bucket don’t go to St Louis because that is illegal. Quite specific.
- California – If a store sells both motor fuel and alcohol, the alcohol cannot be within 5 feet of the cash register.
- Georgia - The sale of beer over 6% ABV is prohibited. Boo!
- Iowa – Pay attention. If an officer of the law is having a drink in a bar and the bartender pours water down the drain the water is then considered an alcoholic beverage “intended for unlawful purposes”…?
- Indiana – It is illegal for a bar to give you a drink on the house.
- Texas - You can’t buy beer after midnight on Sundays but you can purchase it at anytime on Mondays. Come again?
- Hawaii - Apparently underage drinking is not exactly stated or prohibited.
- Minnesota - They specifically state that it is in fact NOT a crime to be intoxicated in public. I like it.
- Florida - Containers can only be sold in four sizes: 32, 24, 12, or 8 ounces. They’re just missing out.
- Indiana - Liquor stores cannot sell cold sodas or soft drinks…they have to be unrefrigerated.
- Michigan - It is illegal for any sort of establishment to serve alcohol on Christmas Day.
- Nebraska - A bar cannot sell beer unless they brewing a kettle of soup at the time.
- Missouri - I would’ve had one less chore as a kid. If anyone underage takes out the trash and it has even one single empty container they can be charged with possession.
- Colorado – The sale of any alcohol is prohibited by law on Election Day.
- Utah – There is a 3.2% ABV limit on draft beer. Damn shame.
- New Hampshire – You must be sitting down when served an alcoholic beverage.
- Texas – They have a few. It is illegal to take more than three sips, swigs, or gulps of beer while standing.
- Kentucky – You can go to jail for five years for just sending a bottle of any alcoholic beverage as a gift.
- California - A brewery can’t release any list of retailers that actually sell/serve their beer.
- Virginia – If you are the passenger of a drunk driver and you yourself are also drunk you, the passenger, can be charged with a DUI.
- New Jersey – If you get a DUI you’ll have to wait 3 years before you’re allowed to apply for a personalized license plate. Get a real problem.
- Iowa – Apparently you are not allowed to run a tab there. If I ever end up there I’ll probably end up not tipping because I’m just so annoyed.
- Texas – The beloved Encyclopedia Britannica because it has what is essentially a homebrew recipe in it. Get over it.
- Iowa - It is illegal for the fine gentlemen of Ames to have 3 sips of beer while they are in bed with their wife. I wonder if they that applies to all other women?
This is just a mere spattering of what I found to be the most appalling, there are plenty of other less-entertaining laws that paled in comparison to this list. Some are inane, some amusing, and some just simply made me quite angry. From what I’ve gathered here, living in Texas or Iowa is just a rough life. So if you’re sitting around getting angry about your state’s own beer laws take a look at this list and you’ll probably feel a little bit better, I know I did.
*Texas Readers: Please make sure you’re sitting down before cheers-ing. Just in case.