Anyone in the wine industry can tell you that not only is the three tier system archaic, but it is a royal pain in the A$$! Wineries outside of the United States often describe trying to import wines to the United States is like working with 50 different countries. Sadly, this is something that we have to deal with, but at least we are all on the same playing field.  


Recently, I was scrolling through the internet and came across a wine law that made me laugh. In South Carolina it is illegal to sell any type of alcohol on Election Day. I had to look a little deeper because I thought it may have only been this year’s election. Although weird, I said to myself, “ok, that sort of kind of makes sense with all that was happening around this election; why add alcohol to the mixture.” BUT it wasn’t a law that was created for this election, it has been a law on the books for quite some time.

Enter the rabbit hole. I completely forgot what I was suppose to be doing and jumped in with both feet and found some other pretty laughable and odd alcohol laws on the books.  I sent an invite out to my wine writer friends and decided to have a chat about these. I figured we all could use a little laughter.  

Below are some of the laws I found. 

  • Massachusetts – forbids happy hour as a public safety measure. (No happy hours????!!!!) 
  • Oklahoma – beer with 4% alcohol by volume (so pretty much all beer) needs to be sold at room temperature at liquor stores. (I guess they don’t want anyone popping open a bottle until they are home)
  • Utah and Indiana –  only let you purchase drinks at a restaurant if you’re buying food, too. (this is how it was during the pandemic here. You want alcohol, you need to also purchase food. Again, not sure of the logic)
  • New York – restaurants cannot serve alcoholic beverages until 10 o’clock in the morning on Sundays. (but other days of the week are ok?)

Arkansas – if caught drinking underage, In addition to paying a fine, minors caught drinking need to write an essay about alcohol for school. (who reads this essay? the school or the state?)

  • Maine – can’t play drinking games in any of Maine’s bars.  Also prohibits alcohol sales before nine o’clock in the morning on Sundays, except St. Patrick’s Day. (I love that they call out St. Patrick’s Day- party it up all day!)
  • New Jersey – In addition to paying your fine and/or serving jail time, if you get arrested for a DUI, you are also disqualified from receiving a personalized vanity license plate. (not sure of the logic of this one)
  • Florida – Several counties in Florida have placed bans on beer sales leading up to and during a state emergency. (guess they don’t want you drunk during an emergency)
  • Colorado – it is illegal to ride a horse under the influence of drugs or alcohol. (but would be pretty funny to see!)
  • Iowa: It is illegal to run a tab in a bar, all alcohol must be paid for at the time of purchase. (I guess 
  • Montana: It is illegal to leave the stage if you are performing in a band at a bar. (I mean, come on… what if you need to go to the bathroom?)
  • In Utah, the bartender must pour your drink out of your sight. (I don’t know about you, but I always prefer seeing what exactly goes into my glass) 
  • In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, you can’t give animals alcohol in a public park. (I guess it’s ok, if you are at home though) 

If you would like to listen to our commentary on these laws, give a listen to my podcast.

If you can’t listen now, you can find Exploring the Wine Glass on all the podcast catchers. Even ask Alexa to play it!

I hope this added a smile to your day and I’d like to thank my friends for joining me in the fun conversation.

Debbie Gioquindo- HV WineGoddess

Maria Ferrora Beardsley – Wine Cheese Friday

Linda Whipple – My Full Wine Glass

Michael Kelly – California Wines and Wineries

Anatoli Levine – Talk-a-Vino

If you would like to be added to the distribution list for future Wine Writer Wrap Ups, please send me an email or leave a comment below.  


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  1. I went to Oklahoma several years ago for a family reunion.  We went to buy some beer and went to a liquor store that sold spirist, wine, beer.  We wanted a certain brand of a popular beer (I think it was Miller), but didn’t see it in the store.  I thought that was unusual, so I asked the clerk about it.  I was told that beer under a certain abv was only sold at grocery stores, not liquor stores.  Huh?

    1. such crazy laws. I really am curious as to what happened to make some of these get on the books.

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