Here Are Some of the Craziest Beer Laws
Liquor laws are a notoriously bizarre concept in the United States. Because they're determined on a state level, there's an incredible amount of variety and difference from state to state. Because there's historically been a religious and moral component complicating our relationship with drinking in this country, the kinds of laws we've drafted have, at various times, alternated between quirky and outright insane.
Let's enjoy some of those absolutely bonkers laws now, shall we?
In Massachusetts, a great state for craft beer and one of the foundations for the "craft beer" revolution we've been seeing over the past few years (Harpoon and Sam Adams, of course, being significant presences in the beer world and opening the door for many smaller breweries to come through) has a peculiar law about growlers: You're only allowed to get a growler filled if it came from that brewery. You couldn't get a Sam Adams growler filled up at Trillium brewing, or Sam Adams, or anything of the sort.
In a few states, including Massachusetts and North Carolina, there's a law preventing "Happy Hour," and in some cases Ladies' Nights and other such promotional events at bars.
In Arkansas, you're not allowed to buy single bottles of beer (smaller than 16.9oz--the typical beer bottle is 12oz) unless you're buying them three or more at a time (as in, say, a mixed 6-pack).
Utah, perhaps unsurprisingly, has a plethora of unique laws. Beer of no more than 4% ABV may be sold at supermarkets and convenience stores, but anything above that level (essentially anything other than a light beer) has to be sold at a state-controlled store, which have very specific hours.
In Tennessee, beer above 6.3% ABV must be sold in a liquor store; upon a visit there this past Winter, I was in a store that was essentially two stores in one: you would go in one side to get your lower-ABV beers, go outside, then right into the adjacent store, in the same building with a mere wall between them, and get your bigger beers, wines, and liquors.
Anyway, those are just some of the many, many laws of the sort. New York, despite our history and reputation of being a bureaucratic mess in many legislative ways, actually has some decent beer laws.
So hey, let's enjoy the fact that we have a big ol' beer festival coming to our area soon!
If you love craft beer, be sure to join us for the Hudson River Craft Beer Festival at Riverfront Park in Beacon on Sept. 17.