Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Coughing up hairballs

Richard Dicks harps a lot on PA liquor laws, and there are certainly a lot of unusual and prudish ones on the books around here. They restrict when you can sell, what you can sell, who you can buy from... there's state run stores for all wine and distilled spirits, there's tight restrictions on what size packages a beer distributor can sell. There's no true beer barrels allowed, only half-barrels. You can't have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle. You can't walk down the sidewalk drinking. You can't drink a 6-pack in the establishment that sold it to you. But many of these laws exist in other states. In fact, there are quite a few places in this country that are more squeamish when it comes to alcohol. For instance:

Des Moines does not allow patrons to run up tabs at a bar.

Until recently, bars in South Carolina could only serve liquor from small "airline" bottles.

Liquor stores in Indiana can't sell pop or milk.

Bars in Oregon must sell some kind of food.

Texas doesn't allow its citizens to own the Encyclopedia Brittanica because it has a recipe to make beer somewhere in it. Does that mean you also aren't allowed to go to blogs like ours?

No 40's allowed in Florida.

In Portland, bars can have happy hour specials, but they aren't allowed to advertise them in any way - even on a placard out front!

Until a month ago, bartenders had to hide from patrons while mixing drinks in Utah.

In Massachusetts, you must keep bottles of booze covered or disguised in some fashion while carrying them in public.

But there are some things that people say are weird, but are really quite common:

No booze in the grocery stores is a big one. It seems to be mostly displaced Californians whining about this one, as many states have this restriction. I saw one person bitching that you can't acquire alcohol from a department store in some states. Who the fuck goes to Macy's to pick up a six pack??

Many people bitch and moan about not being able to buy liquor on Sundays, Holidays, and election days; but so many people are bitching and moaning because that law is quite common. So get over it, and plan ahead when you want to have a bender on a Tuesday.

But there is one frighteningly common weird liquor law that doesn't get nearly as much attention as not being able to buy 40's from the Piggly Wiggly on a Sunday; I'm talking about NO BOOZE AT ALL!

Shocking. Horrifying! Is there some charity that fights to eliminate this crime against humanity? Can we hold people accountable for this in an international court of some kind?

Well, until the day comes when this atrocity is wiped from the face of the planet, don't feel so bad the next time your bartender charges you 10% extra before opening your airline bottle of fortified wine behind a folding screen. It could be a lot worse!


  1. I don't harp a lot. I'll say that beer in convenience and grocery stores is quite common in "most" states. But I've said many times that I don't mind the state stores and in fact like the convenience and selection they offer here in PA.

    But I agree things could be a lot worse. I travel a lot so have seen first hand some of these prudish laws. I think I first told you about the airline bottle law in SC. Liquor stores are privately run, but they also aren't allowed to be open on Sundays. They also close at 7PM. You can but booze at 9 in the morning for breakfast, but not at dinnertime. I've been to many flat out dry counties as well as those that don't permit draft beer or hard spirits. The funny thing is the next county over I found a store called "Liquor Guns n' Such"

  2. Where did you get that map from? It shows Montgomery County, VA as being dry. It most definitely is not. And I've passed thru several other counties on that the VA map shows as dry that definitely aren't.

  3. That map can be found at The date of posting is 2007, and as with all wiki-anything is subject to being wrong every once in a while. I do know Montgomery WAS a dry County up until sometime within the last 8-9 years.

    Thanks for letting us know. We have a friend that just moved down to Radford (right on the Montgomery border) for a job. I'll be sure to put Montgomery County on my safe list for the next time I'm driving down there.

  4. And thanks for posting, Schuyler. We get boring talking to ourselves all the time.

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