The 5 Dumbest Laws Restricting the Sale of Booze

The 5 Dumbest Laws Restricting the Sale of Booze


For the first time in decades, Virginia bars
and restaurants can finally advertise happy hour. It’s the latest in a number of recent victories
that make it easier to enjoy your favorite drink. In 2019 we also saw the repeal of a law that
banned distilling spirits on Native American lands and a supreme court decision that could open
up alcohol sales across state lines. The recent reforms we’ve seen in places like
Virginia with their happy hour law may seem small but they are slowly pointing us towards a
better boozy future. We asked R Street’s resident alcohol law expert
Jarret Dieterle about some of the most nonsensical alcohol
laws. There’s still a lot of dumb alcohol laws on
the books today and here’s five examples of them. In North Carolina good luck getting a cheap
drink with buddies after work. North Carolina doesn’t have happy hour at
all. I like to call them sad hours. You can get food specials, you can get discounts
on that, but you can’t get drink specials which is
what everyone associates happy hour with. They also have other weird restrictions like
buying your buddies a round. If you buy a pitcher of beer for example,
anything that has more than one serving of alcohol, two people have to go to the bar and pay for it, one person can’t just pay it and bring it back to the table. So it’s pretty a fairly depressing place in
North Carolina when it comes five o clock and you want to head to the bar. And then there’s Utah’s Zion Curtain. It requires bar tenders basically to stand
behind a partition or a wall when they’re mixing cocktails. The Utah legislature tried to reform it and
they ended up making it even more complicated. The justification for the law is they don’t
want the children or people that are sensitive I guess to see cocktails and hard alcohols being mixed
together. Every other state of course you can go into
and watch a bartender actually mixing a drink and it’s completely fine and normal and hurts
no one. And in Louisiana you can’t have airplane sized
liquor bottles. Louisiana currently allows 100 milliliter
bottles which are twice the size of the normal airplane bottles but they still arbitrarily draw a limit on
the regular 50 milliliter size ones that we want. I think the theory for it originally is that
little liquor bottles are easier for people to conceal. That might allow people that have an addiction
issue to over indulge more if they have a small concealable bottle. Of course lots of states have done the opposite and thought that less amounts of alcohol is probably better for people that have an addiction problem. In Indiana, good luck picking up a cold six
pack. Their gas stations cannot sell refrigerated
beer, they have to leave it at room temperature and it has to be warm. You know, if your’e going in, filling up your
tank of gas, and want to grab a chilled twelve pack you
can’t do it. Which makes summer barbecues particularly
depressing I’m sure. The market’s actually responded in a fairly
clever way although they probably shouldn’t have to but some of the, you’ll see in gas stations
in Indiana now is like chiller bags that they’ll fill with ice. Apparently they claim to, you know, chill
the beer in 15 minutes or really quickly. But again you have to ask yourself why we
created an arbitrary barrier that forces something like that to even be
necessary whereas it isn’t in other states. And finally, in some states, government stores
are the only place to get your favorite bottle of bourbon. Some places like Virginia ABC stores, you actually have to go to a retail store
run by the government of Virginia to be able to buy your alcohol. People should care because it limits their
choices, and it also hurts producers that are trying
to create innovative products. So despite all the progress that’s been made
in eliminating stupid liquor laws, the rules governing the sector are still often
random and absurd. So let’s raise a glass to the ongoing fight
to liberalizing alcohol sales. Because open markets mean colder, cheaper
and more abundant booze.

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100 thoughts on “The 5 Dumbest Laws Restricting the Sale of Booze

  1. COUNTERPOINTS . . .?
    The first one; To prevent one dude from buying a pitcher of booze and drowning himself in it.
    The second one; There is no counterpoint. In fact being able to see what the bartender puts in your drink is probably a GOOD thing.
    The third; He raised it. Honestly though this is a case of it not mattering one way or the other, as was indeed brought up.
    Fourth; Its probably to discourage someone from opening a cold one while driving. A bit silly. Personally I say that a law preventing Gas Stations from selling beer would do a better job, but this one probably flew under the radar better.
    5th; Just, what? Why? If anything, this is solely to make sure the government gets a bigger cut of the profits. Greed, pure greed.

  2. in PA you can’t get any liquor or most wine anywhere but the state shop. also good luck buying beer at the gas station! better head to the beer distributor or grocery store (if you’re lucky) a little saddened that PA wasn’t mentioned.. it’s basically all the stupid laws combined!

  3. I still can't grab a sixer for lunch after church at my house with my buddies in Texas because church ends about an hour before you can buy beer…..

  4. What's the reason behind the NC law of no happy hour? And why should 2 people buy the pitcher for the group? should the tab be split 50/50? or can the other person pay 1 penny?

    For Indiana, I can understand the "no cold beer pack"… bot that i agree with it… but I THINK it's to refrain you from drinking the beer immediately. You have to go home, cool the beer then drink it – as warm beer tastes awful.

  5. There should NOT be laws about what people can and mustn't put in their own bodies! Such laws fly in the face of self ownership!

  6. Was anyone else left anxious at 3:25, wondering if that last drop of booze being poured made it into the glass?

  7. Can't find any of my favorite liqueurs in NC without doing a 'Special Order' through the ABC. Never had that problem with private stores.

  8. Many towns in Wisconsin booze sales end at 9pm for carry out. Minnesota only 3.2 alcohol is allowed to be sold by gas stations and grocery stores.

  9. We're in Colorado for the summer and all the grocery stores are advertising that they have full strength beer. Huh? I guess prior to this year, they couldn't. Being from Nevada, all these alcohol laws are just weird and don't seem to serve any legitimate purpose.

  10. I live in PA we just recently became able to buy liquor on Sundays and yes we have state run liquor stores!

  11. In Ohio we still have only state liquor agencies. It limits my ability to get certain brands because the state decided they don't want to carry it. They carry the big names of course but not some high quality, reasonable cost small and medium sized distiller's products. Hmmm.

  12. Indiana has the only sensable law, believe it or not it does improve the taste of the beer itself. In Colorado you never know if the beer was refrigerated left out and refrigerated and left out. Those temp changes will skunk a beer. Now it was probably not the intention of the law makers as I believe it was to discourage people from drinking them on the way home but hey i've never had a skunky nasty beer in indiana when I was picking up fireworks for the 4th.

  13. I have found buying from a Government-owned store to be a much more pleasant experience than buying a bottle from the majority of private businesses. In Ontario, sales are handled by the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). LCBO stores are clean, staffed with knowledgeable staff who are paid a good wage that means they care about doing their jobs well. I am presented with a very large selection of choices and staff that can and will answer my questions about those choices. This is the norm here. In the States, MY experience has been Dirty stores, manned by low wage uncaring staff with a very limited range of choices. Some times pure Capitalism is not the best choice!
    .

  14. Man there are some crazy liquor laws out there… (Utah) "Hold my caffeine free root beer!".
    Seriously, no state can hold a candle to Utah's restrictive liquor laws…

  15. In Scotland (which historically has had a very, very poor relationship with alcohol) the laws are very consistent. The main principle is: You can't use your prices to encourage people to buy more than they otherwise would want to. In practice:

    – All alcohol of the same type has to be sold at the same price per volume. So no buy one get one free, for example. Everyone agrees this is sensible. I have English friends (where they don't have this rule) saying they wish they had it. They feel almost ripped off being kinda forced to get more drunk than they want to.
    – Happy hours are simply not a thing. Nobody misses them. Why a business would want to adjust their profit margin depending on time of day has never made sense to me anyway.
    – You can't buy alcohol in a shop past 22:00. This is supposed to prevent street drinking. Whether it does is questionable; this is our stupidest rule.
    – ID laws are extremely strict, as are advertising restrictions. You must challenge anyone who looks under 25, and a brewery can't do an ad describing how much better in a fight you will be if you drink their product.
    – There is a minimum price per unit of alcohol. It boils down to "you can't sell alcohol at a loss to gain customers who buy more profitable products". This is the most controversial rule, and came in most recently. What effect this will have is yet to be seen. I have mixed feelings about this.

    But as for what you drink, and how, where and when you drink it, it's basically a free for all. Overall, they aren't bad.

  16. I'm from NC and that first one definitely isn't enforced…….people do that shit all the time lol. NC also has laws on the books that says oral sex is illegal and homosexuality is against the law…..yeah most people in one way or another aren't following those.

  17. Pennsylvania we have Govt Liquor stores, it used to be wine, and spirts that you could only get at these places, now wine is sold in some approved stores, and until last year if you wanted 18 cans or more beers in a case you had to go to a beer distributor, 18 cans or less a beer store. But you can only buy 2 items at a time per person, so if you wanted 24 beers and the store only sells 6 packs, you have to buy 2, take them outside and come back and buy 2 more. There is no limit on how many times someone can do this, it's just a royal pain in the ass when beer distributors were closed on Sundays and a select few that PLCB allowed to open could only be open until 3 or 5 pm Sunday, very annoying for a Monday holiday party on Sunday that needs more beers

  18. There are also some states where grocery stores can't sell liquor, but they can sell beer. If you want the hard stuff, you have to go an actual liquor store. It's such a pain in the ass.

  19. Quit you're whining and be glad there's no prohibition still in place.
    Alcohol abuse causes untold suffering and misery. Learn to enjoy life without it. You'll save lots of money and probably live longer.

  20. The funny thing that you left out: all of these laws apply to Utah except cold beer. Go us!!!

    No happy hour. No mini bottles and state run liquor stores that are closed on Sunday. Also, you can’t buy wine or “alco-pops” at the grocery store.

  21. Prohibition Lite. The temperance movement, another crackpot female idea, spawned mafia mayhem which then spawned the NFA. Suffice it to say, the Path to Hell is Paved with Far Too Many Feminist Good Intentions.

  22. up until recent years in pennsylvania if you wanted to buy a 6 pack you had to buy it from a bartender at a bar, no other establishment could sell you a 6 pack, not even the beer distributor. if you went to the distributor you would have to buy at least a 24 pack. and you still to this day have to buy liquor there from a government store. i moved to idaho and it's the same here. people say we're free and idk wtf they're talking about.

  23. So horrible. All these people trying to enjoy themselves. Disgusting. Next they’ll be saying George Washington distilled whiskey!

  24. Can sign up to go to war, or put yourself a hundred thousand dollars in debt at 18, but buy a beer? Forget it! And while you can brew gallons and gallons of beer and wine, if you try to refine that product by distilling it? You're going to jail!

  25. When a state is dry on Sunday. That is literally the stupidest liquor law. In fact, any law even remotely based on religion is absolutely dumb and unconstitutional.

  26. I lived in Utah and when I was 18, my family wasn’t allowed to eat in a restaurant that didn’t have that curtain because of my age

  27. Now, we need to fight the ban on Ladies' Night. Seriously, you just KNOW that it was a gay man that got pissed.

  28. Now, we need to fight the ban on Ladies' Night. Seriously, you just KNOW that it was a gay man that got pissed.

  29. Now, we need to fight the ban on Ladies' Night. Seriously, you just KNOW that it was a gay man that got pissed.

  30. In California they’re trying to allow people to buy alcohol past 2am, up until 4am. Are there any states where you can buy alcohol 24/7?

  31. In Utah, you also have to have a sign that identifies whether the establishment is a bar or a restaurant.

    Recently, Utah decided that you didn't need a strict limit on how much alcohol per volume a beer that is being sold in a grocery store is allowed to have.
    Oh let us face it, Utah is the worst when it comes to alcohol restrictions. Thanks Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  32. I vote to repeal all anti-booze laws, and let's make the drinking and tobacco age back to 18. Reason, Freedom, Wisdom.

  33. Ha at least those areas aren’t still dry. I live in a dry county where possessing a beer can land you in jail for a misdemeanor possession of alcohol charge…

  34. Move to the MORON STATE of Utah! Jettison your brain and you'll fit right in! If Founder Thomas Jefferson was still alive, he'd have a shit-fit with all of the religious influence in State Legislatures that come up with all of these laws, and make no mistake, ALL of them are there because of religion's influence. DUMP RELIGION AND JOIN THE FASTEST GROWING SEGMENT OF AMERICA, ATHEISTS!

  35. I don't like to be the guy saying "we have it worse", but we really do.

    In Finland the taxation is insane and everything exceeding something like 6% ABV is sold only at government monopoly, Alko. Cheapest, almost gasoline like, vodka costs about 30$/liter(estimated the conversion rate).

    This leads to people buying 40€ ferry tickets to Estonia where everything is so much cheaper that the trip is actually worth it if you buy like around 10 bottles of liquor, not taking to account that Tallinn is a nice city where there is a lot to see. So Finland gets less tax money and gets all the costs of alcohol use for the public health service (which is another problem of its own).

    And then the petty stuff. The drinking areas at restaurant are very strict and you can't even leave a festival area with the plastic cup of beer you bought and so got the ownership rights to. Also, advertising liquors is illegal, and a recent court case stated that a Finnishdistilling company which couple years back won the best gin in the world award for their gin couldn't advertise their gin outside of Finland online because the operation was done in Finland. Insane.

  36. The Illinois law against cold beer actually makes sense. People who violate open container laws or drink whilst driving might be dissuaded from doing so if the beer itself is warm. For every normal person whose life doesn't revolve around alcohol, they simply purchase their beer and put it in the fridge at home. The only people inconvenienced are problem drinkers.

  37. Power is more addictive than alcohol. Liquor laws are a great example of what happens when you let the government control something. They do. In fact, they do it too much. So many laws are made just to satisfy the need for control over others that tthese authoritarian busybodies need.They have power, but they don't know it unless they can punish us for something. Making these laws assure them of their power."It doesn't pay to have a nation of law abiding citizens." Ine Rand.

  38. You all do know that 3 times more people are KILLED each year by DRUNK DRIVERS than by guns. They want to take m,y guns, then they need to make everyone who drinks pass a background check for each drink they buy. And if you are depressed, you will not be able to buy any. Thats what they want to do with my guns, and they say they care about people lives…. so look out.

  39. BEER IN GAS STATIONS ISN'T WRONG? Id say 100% of people in gas stations ARE DRIVING smh you people just lost a fan

  40. Oregon suffers from pricing, selection, and outside competition due to these types of laws. The only plus here was that it resulted in a huge craft beer industry
    and now numerous local distilleries which are sadly unknown by the rest of the country due to the same types of laws in other states.

  41. How about the dumbest law of all: No public consumption of alcohol." To include states making us cover up our beer and liquor in paper bags when purchased so they can't offend people's sensibilities…

  42. How on earth did you manage to make this video without mentioning that several states ban the sales of alcohol on Sunday. Or force bars to close on Sunday.

  43. What is with libertarians and bowties? Bowties are only acceptable for Dr. Who cosplay. And even then only Dr. Eleven.

  44. It's crazy seeing these laws. In my state, Missouri, I can go buy alcohol whenever I want, at grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, etc. I have the lowest alcohol taxes, I can buy on Sundays, I can drink underage as long as my parents are home and so on.

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