6 Weird Alcohol Laws From Around America
The laws that govern alcohol may make your head spin more than the booze itself.
Specific drinking statutes vary by state, and fully understanding the language of these laws can be difficult. We’ve put together a list of some of the more surprising laws from around the country. Remember to drink responsibly (and legally).
YOU CAN CARRY ALCOHOL ONTO A PLANE, BUT YOU CAN'T DRINK IT DURING YOUR FLIGHT.
Per the FAA, “No person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless the certificate holder [e.g. flight attendant] operating the aircraft has served that beverage.” If you’re still not sure, consider this: People report that fines for first-time offenses range from $3000 to $5000. Looks like you'll have to settle for the $11 mini-bottles they serve in-flight.
BARTENDERS AT RESTAURANTS IN UTAH MUST WORK BEHIND A TRANSLUCENT PARTITION.
These structures are known as “Zion curtains,” and they were put in place to make drinking less glamorous to impressionable kids. In the 1960s, before bars were legal in the state, the idea was born in social clubs where glass partitions were the norm. Almost 50 years later, the requirement was lifted—but only for a year. In 2010, the regulation was put back into place [PDF]. Meanwhile, researchers have found that there’s no actual data to back the idea that the partitions help curb underage drinking.
IN ALABAMA, BOOZE LABELS CAN'T BE TOO SEXY OR PROFANE.
Seven years ago, the state of Alabama rejected the sale of a Hahn Family Wines bottle because the label featured a nude nymph. Although it had been sold in the state for three years, it was vetoed for being inappropriate. The state prohibits advertisements that include “any person(s) posed in an immodest or sensuous manner,” and the wine label was found to fall under this code. Luckily for Hahn, the ban caused a bump in sales.
IN INDIANA, BARS AND RESTAURANTS THAT SELL "BY THE DRINK" MUST ALSO SELL MILK.
According to Indiana state law, establishments that sell individual drinks must “have food service available, at all times, for at least 25 persons.” At minimum, they have to serve soup, sandwiches, coffee, milk, and soft drinks. Hey, at least some of those ingredients can be used in cocktails!
5. AS LONG AS YOU'RE UNDER THE LEGAL LIMIT, YOU CAN DRINK WHILE DRIVING IN MISSISSIPPI.
It may sound like a joke, but Mississippi doesn’t have open container laws for drivers, just as long as they stay beneath the legal threshold of intoxication. If your blood alcohol content is over .08 and you’re stopped, you will qualify for a DUI and any and all relevant legal charges and punishments.
6. IN OKLAHOMA, MOST BOOZE HAS TO BE SOLD WARM.
Under state law, beer, wine, and spirits over 4 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) must be sold at room temperature in stores. Currently, legislation is being moved through the Oklahoma House of Representatives state to allow refrigerated beer and wine sales. But for now, you’ll just have to wait for your beer to chill.
Some of the craziest laws have recently been repealed or updated, but no list would be complete without these out-of-date favorites.
UNTIL 2014, YOU COULDN'T BUY MINI BOTTLES IN LOUISIANA.
Though you can get a daiquiri at a drive-thru daiquiri stand, you couldn’t buy 100 mL bottles. Luckily, the bill allowing their sale was signed into law in June 2014.
UNTIL RECENTLY, YOU COULDN'T BUY A DRINK ON ELECTION DAY IN KENTUCKY OR SOUTH CAROLINA.
Politics may drive you to drink, but you couldn’t buy alcohol while polls were open in Kentucky or South Carolina until 2013 and 2014, respectively. Count your lucky stars.