Laws governing alcohol have always varied state by state with some more restrictive than others. Whether they are blue laws prohibiting sales of alcohol on Sundays and in some cases across whole dry counties, or less strict laws where the sale of hard alcohol is restricted to state-run liquor stores, states love to legislated the hooch.
Recently, a bill passed the Texas House of Representatives and is on its way to the state senate that would require breweries that make more than 225,000 barrels of beer a year to buy back their own beer from distributors, to serve in their tap rooms. Who would be pushing for this bill? Distributors and wholesalers, of course. While this bill defies common sense, they seemed to have convinced enough reps to vote in their favor. The only thing this bill would do would be to send more money to the wholesalers, cutting into the already narrow margins that most craft breweries face. While this only affects larger breweries (for scale, Stone produced about 325,000, in 2015, according to Wikipedia) at this point, the bill is still damaging to the craft beer community and would ultimately mean an increased cost in beer for consumers.
We’ll be keeping our eye on how this turns out for our craft beer friends over in Texas, but until then, here are four more state drinking laws that seem just as ridiculous…
1. Not So Happy Hour
Although happiness is not illegal, in 8 states including Massachusetts, Vermont, Utah, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Alaska, happy hours are banned. The laws were passed in these states in an effort to curb drunk driving, although the jury is still out on whether these laws have actually helped to do so. The ban on happy hours centers around not giving alcohol at a discount or away for free in deals like 2 for 1, but many establishments in these states are still able to offer happy hours, as long as it’s only for food discounts.
2. Horseback DUI
That’s right, in states such as Colorado, Michigan, and even here in California, it’s illegal to ride a horse on a public road while drinking. This law is aimed at the fact that horse and riders can cause major problems on roadways if not handled properly, but it does leave the question…if the horse isn’t drunk, then isn’t he your designated driver? In fact, a well-trained horse might be the first driverless vehicles around…suck it, Google.
3. No Touch in Nebraska
This law is all about protecting patrons at bars and restaurants. In Nebraska, it’s illegal for bar owners or employees to touch patrons. No hugging, kissing or patting anywhere near their “no-no square.” Not sure how this applies to spouses or girlfriends/boyfriends, but we are pretty that this law isn’t super enforced around the state.
4. How Young is Too Young?
This is truly the most surprising of the drinking laws that we found…In 8 states including, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming it’s actually legal for underage patrons to drink alcohol in a bar or restaurant as long as they are with their parents. Here in California, there is no serving to minors in any respect and it’s actually illegal to even serve alcohol to your kids in your own home. I’m a bit skeptical of the wisdom of letting parents decide whether their kids should be drinking at bars and restaurants, but I would guess that most people in these states don’t take advantage of these laws.
So to recap, some states decided that happy hour is too dangerous while others think it’s A-OK to serve kids alcohol as long as their parents are there. With the wide array of drinking laws on the books here in the U.S., it would be prudent to check up on the laws in your particular state. Remember, always drink responsibly and make sure you have a designated driver…as long as it isn’t your horse.