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America’s Strangest Liquor Laws

Published: January 24, 2018

Recently, the Indiana House and Senate voted to overturn the state’s long-standing law banning Sunday sales of alcohol, a statute that has been a thorn in the side of football game watchers and weekend wine sippers, as well as an unwelcome surprise for the thousands of out-of-town guests attending the always-on-a-Sunday Indianapolis 500.

The Indiana vote comes on the heels of the 85th anniversary of the twenty-first amendment, which was ratified in January 1933. It repealed the eighteenth amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed the production, transport, and sale of alcohol. But it also recognized the rights of states and municipalities to pass their own laws limiting alcohol use.

What has resulted is a wild assortment of laws that govern everything from signage to serving moose. Here are some of the more interesting state laws concerning alcohol.

Alabama

  • No serving of alcohol to animals in Tuscaloosa’s public parks
  • No sale of liquor bottle with labels showing “a person posed in an immoral or sensuous manner”

Alaska

  • No intoxication is permitted in bars.
  • No serving of liquor to moose in Fairbanks.

Arizona

  • No intoxicated customer may remain in an establishment longer than 30 minutes.

Colorado

  • No horseback riding while intoxicated.

Florida

  • No 64-ounce growlers can be sold at craft breweries that produce more than 2,000 kegs a year.

Georgia

  • No Ladies’ Nights in Columbus.

Indiana

  • No liquor sales on Sunday.
  • No sale of cold beer at grocery stores or gas stations.

Iowa

  • No bar tabs unless covered by a credit card.

Massachusetts

  • No happy hour.
  • No signs in bars with the words “free” “discount” “unlimited” or “jumbo” before the word “drink.”
  • No sale of more than two drinks to a customer at any one time.
  • No encouragement of drinking games at bars.

Nebraska

  • No sale of beer unless soup is being cooked.
  • No physical contact between bar owners or bar employees and customers: no kissing, fondling, etc.

New Jersey

  • No personalized license plate will be sold to drivers with a DUI on their record.

North Dakota

  • No serving of beer with pretzels.

Ohio

  • No free drinks from bartenders for your birthday, holiday or other celebration.
  • No alcohol can be given to fish.

Oklahoma

  • No sale of refrigerated (colder-than-room-temperature) beer above 3.2% alcohol by weight or 4% by volume.

Oregon

  • No licensed establishment can serve liquor without also serving at last five different food items.

Pennsylvania

  • No sale of liquor except in state-run liquor stores. Beer can be sold in privately owned stores, but only in cases. Bars, bottle shops, and grocery stores can sell 192 ounces or less of beer.
  • No sale of more than two six packs at a time.

Texas

  • No alcohol bottle labels with designs incorporating the U.S. flag, the Texas flag, or armed forces.
  • No sale of cocktails at Houston’s drive-in cocktail bars unless a piece of tape is placed over the straw opening on the lid.
  • No more than three sips of beer are allowed while the drinker is standing.

Utah

  • No sale of double drinks.

Washington, D.C.

  • No advertising of alcohol with references to Santa Claus, Easter, or Mother’s Day.

Wyoming

  • No intoxicated skiing.

 

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  • Let’s hope the new allowance of alcohol/liquor sales on Sundays doesn’t result in a sudden spike of drunk driving accidents and crime in Indiana. For most people, common sense would have meant you bought your needed liquor on the weekdays or a Saturday. Hopefully that will continue, but that first Sunday it’s legal may be a boozy doozy!

    Meanwhile, I found these four laws rather interesting:

    1.) No Ladies’ Nights in Columbus.
    2.) No sale of beer unless soup is being cooked.
    3.) No serving of beer with pretzels.
    4.) No more than three sips of beer allowed while drinker is standing.

    I’m not sure how 2, 3 & 4 could even be enforced. The second law in Nebraska sounds like something to prevent the kind work place incidents Gay Haubner encountered in chapter 35 of ‘North Country Girl’.

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