When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, drinkers rejoiced from coast to coast. Actually, serious drinkers never let that stressful period affect them but the repeal of the laws that banned alcohol production, sales and consumption changed the country. As each state rushed to create restrictions and guidelines to reflect the views of their local citizenry, it became more difficult to know the rules of each community.
After a few decades, it mostly boiled down to dry states (no alcohol allowed), wet states (party time 24/7) and mixed states, where the liquor laws vary from county to county, town to town, and in some cases, from street to street.
Today the liquor laws in some states that emerged are as bizarre as they were a century ago. While the odder ones are rarely enforced, it’s still disconcerting to know you COULD be arrested and prosecuted for violating these oddball laws. Cheers.
Few people would disagree with Alaska’s law that it’s criminal to serve alcohol to a moose. Moose never seem to be in particularly good moods and if they get a little tipsy, they could get unruly and combative or, worse yet, decide they want to be friends. Even wilder is the Alaska law that minors can drink alcohol as long as Mom, Dad or a guardian gives it to them outside of a licensed restaurant or bar. Their family reunions must be a blast. Could it be all that open frontier and subzero temps that help foster such strange thoughts
Tipsy Florida Soldiers
If you’re serving your country and happen to be stationed in Florida, you’re the designated party host. Florida is so doggone happy with the military, they let them import as much alcohol as they like into the state, tax-free. Note to civilians: follow that camo to find the best parties.
Tabbed Out in Iowa
If you belly up to a bar in Iowa for a night of drinking, don’t even think of running a tab on your credit card. Granted, you can ask the barkeep to write down all your drinks and pay for them at the end of your stay, but the common practice of using your credit card is illegal there. Bartenders in Iowa quake when the law walks in the door because state law states any liquid “destroyed” in the presence of law enforcement is automatically deemed an illegal alcohol product. So much for emptying and washing those bar glasses.
If you like to snuggle in bed with your spouse while watching the game and sharing a six-pack, don’t get caught doing it in Iowa. The state law clearly states it’s illegal for a man to drink beer in bed with his wife. You can chug wine and do shots of tequila, just no beer.
There’s No Place Like Kansas
Dorothy may have had delusional dreams about the homey appeal of Kansas but in reality, it doesn’t sound like much fun. It didn’t ratify the 21st Amendment that ended Prohibition in 1933 and until 1987 you couldn’t get a drink in any bar or restaurant in the state; 29 Kansas counties still have that restriction in effect. To open a state liquor store in the corn state, potential owners must be an American citizen for a minimum of 10 years, a Kansas resident for four years, cannot be employed by law enforcement, and must never have been convicted of a felony, a crime of moral turpitude, or any alcohol-related offense. If you’re married, your spouse has to meet the same prerequisites. Much easier to just plant some corn to earn a living.
Kentucky Double Standards
While they often brag about the fine liquors they produce and everyone has a mint julep in hand on Kentucky Derby Day, most of the state is dry on Sundays; the Derby always runs on Saturday. They also close the bars when the polls are open on any election day. However, on any given day, you can probably spit and hit one of the many illegal stills.
Party Down in Louisiana
Always ready for a drink to either remember or forget, residents of Louisiana can buy any type of liquor regardless of proof at most grocery stores throughout the state. But don’t call them irresponsible it comes to packaging. You can walk the streets with a drink in your hand; hell, they even have drive-thru daiquiri dispensaries. But you can end up in the pokey if that adult drink is in a glass container; only non-breakable ones are allowed. And if you’re driving with a daiquiri or other mixed drink, it must have a lid on it. Wouldn’t want to have your buzz ruined by a careless spill.
Choose Your Distraction in Nebraska
If you own a bar in the Cornhusker State or just serve drinks or are part of the closing clean-up crew, you’re breaking the law if you get too chummy with the patrons. There’s a law in the Nebraska state books that forbids the kissing, hugging and/or touching of private body parts by either party. But when the bar closes, all bets are off, so…
North Dakota Bans Bargain Coupons
Shoppers who love using coupons to save money on booze purchases are out of luck in North Dakota. No local or national manufacturer coupons are honored in North Dakota to reduce the cost of any type of alcohol, so looking for in-store bargains is your only option. You may, however, still qualify for rebates, so save those receipts.
Beautiful, Albeit Strange, Ohio
No matter how strong the urge, you absolutely must not give alcohol to fish while in Ohio. The fish may beg, make eyes at you, or offer you tips on lures and bait, but they could be undercover and you could end up behind bars. Actually, this law allegedly stemmed from the misinterpretation of laws passed to deter pollution in the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie. But the law against alcohol sellers is no mistake. If you own a store that sells liquor, you can’t hand out alcohol as gifts to any friends or family for any occasion. What about rum balls?
Don’t Mess with Texas Labels
Texas often boasts they are among the most patriotic states but they have a ban against the Texas flag, US flag or armed forces symbols on liquor bottle labels. You can depict these images on your chest during football games or the mud flaps on your pick-up, just not on an alcoholic beverage label. America’s team? Please.