7 of the Most Bizarre Alcohol Laws in the United States
By Devin Pratt
The United States has always had a close—but strange—relationship with alcohol. Many of the state laws that were established to regulate the consumption of spirits throughout the country’s history still remain on the books long after they stopped being enforced. Still, some states continue to be sticklers. No booze with your votes; pay-as-you-go drink ordering; bans on cold beer: It’s a weird drinking world across the U.S. of A.
No Tabs in Iowa
It’s common for most people to leave their credit cards with the bartender as they enjoy a few rounds with friends. Not in Iowa. The Hawkeye State prohibits running a tab. As crazy as this law sounds, it was probably enacted to protect business owners from the ol’ shady patron drink-and-dash.
Oklahoma’s Warm Beer Law
There are few things more enjoyable than cracking open a cold beer on a hot day. Unfortunately, for Oklahomans, any beverage containing 4-percent alcohol by volume can only be sold at room temperature in licensed liquor stores. Here’s hoping this archaic law is repealed Sooner rather than later.
No Moore Whiskey in Tennessee
Moore County, Tennessee, is home to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. It’s also a dry county, which means up until a few years ago you were served a glass of lemonade at the end of the tour. Fortunately, new legislation allows visitors to have a tiny taste of the legendary whiskey when visiting the facility.
Massachusetts’ Not So Happy Hour
Everyone relishes that feeling of ducking out of the office early and heading to the bar for discounted drinks. Unless you’re from Massachusetts. The Bay State forbids businesses from running happy-hour specials as a public safety measure. Not what you would expect from Norm Peterson’s hometown.
Public Boozing in Georgia
The country’s love/hate relationship with booze is especially prevalent in certain parts of the South, where liquor laws can range from draconian to lackadaisical. Georgia falls into the latter category. The best example being that the Peach State has no law against drinking in public. That means residents and visitors to Savannah frequently enjoy a cold beverage in the city’s squares and parks.
No Election Day Alcohol Sales in
Up until 2014, you couldn’t purchase alcohol on Election Day in the state of South Carolina. The law, which was once common in many states, harkens back to the late 1800s when polling stations were often set up in saloons on Election Day. Back then, the ban was meant to deter candidates from bribing voters with free drinks.
Behind Utah’s “Zion Curtain”
Out of all the wacky liquor laws, Utah’s “Zion Curtain” rules may be the most bizarre. In an effort to keep children from seeing alcoholic drinks being prepared, the state requires restaurants to mix or pour drinks behind an opaque barrier. The Beehive State’s restrictive drinking laws can be attributed to the Mormon Church, which bans alcohol use among its parishioners.