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Weird Drinking Laws of the USA

Written by Jennifer Jordan
Filed Under: Wine Laws

The United States has its fair share of weird laws (what is up with having to pay taxes?), but there are few laws that achieve the level of oddness that certain American drinking laws attain. Underage folks may find the "21 and over rule" to be weird. People wanting to buy beer seven days a week may find the fact that liquor stores are closed on Sundays in many states to be strange.  Those who like to stroll around a park with an uncorked bottle of wine may find it bizarre that open containers of alcohol aren't allowed in many areas. But, the oddness that the above laws emit is nothing compared to the peculiarities of those below:  

Don't use the "R" word: According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BAFT), the word "refreshing" can't be utilized when describing alcohol beverages. That forces us, the alcohol consumers, to describe beer as brisk, gin as invigorating, and wine as reviving. That's right BAFT, we have a thesaurus.

When in Rome, Don't Act Like You Are: Thanks to the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act, an underage student studying abroad is forbade from drinking alcohol, even if they are in a country where they meet the drinking age requirements. Of course, this sort of defeats the purpose of studying abroad altogether: what's the point of drinking in a different culture if you aren't allowed to be drinking in a different culture.

Bring Cash and Coins to Des Moines:  In Iowa, it's illegal to start a tab at a bar. This is a concept that undoubtedly leaves out of town patrons a-maized. Sorry, that was corny.

Texas Told'em Not to Buy a Reference Book: In Texas, the complete Encyclopedia Britannica collection is banned because one of the volumes contains a homemade beer recipe. We aren't positive, but we think any Texan caught with this encyclopedia will probably get the death penalty.

No Drinking with the Fishes:  In Ohio, the law states that it is illegal to get a fish drunk. Apparently, the "drinks like a fish" saying doesn't apply to the marine life in this region. You can give a carp or a trout the worm, but you better drink the bottle of tequila all by yourself.

A Women's Consent: Pennsylvania law prohibits a man from buying alcohol without a note of permission from his wife. This has turned women's liberation into women's libation and, not surprisingly, left many Pennsylvania men single.

Three at a time: The law of Texas states that no person can consume more than three sips of beer at a time if they are standing up. But, if they are falling over or stumbling around, then that may be a different story.

Unfair for Fairbanks Moose:  In Fairbanks, Alaska, it is against the law to give a moose any kind of alcohol. This could be because moose don't know when to say when or because they simply are light weights. For whatever reason this law exists, the Alaskan moose consider it "bull."

Obviously, the above laws are rarely - if ever - enforced in the industry of wine and spirits. This is for the better: those of us who love wine and beer would never be able to adhere to the above regulations. A world of alcohol that didn't allow us to go out drinking with the boys, the girls, and the Alaskan wildlife, just wouldn't be the same.