Wine Law 101: Silly Alcohol Laws Edition

Every state has its own laws regarding the sale and consumption of wine and other alcohol.  Some may be legit, but others are just plain silly!  Today’s post is a light-hearted break from the heavier scientific reviews, and highlights just a few of the many laws related to wine or alcohol in the United States.  Since laws change all the time, it’s possible some of these are no longer in effect.  I also can’t confirm the accuracy of some of the sillier ones, but I really wouldn’t put it past state governments to enforce them.  😉 

This is all in good fun, so enjoy!

Alabama:  Just below 40% of the counties in Alabama are “dry”, as in they don’t allow the sale of alcohol.  However, within those dry counties, it is not illegal to possess or consume alcohol.

Alaska:  In Fairbanks, Alaska, it is apparently illegal to feed alcohol to a moose. 

Arizona:  Once identified as being intoxicated at a bar or other establishment, a individual is only allowed to remain for 30 minutes.  This gives a “sober person to arrive at the premises and drive the intoxicated person home”.

Arkansas:  Depending upon what sort of alcohol license an establishment has, the hours alcohol is allowed to be served differs.  A ‘Class A Private Club’ license allows alcohol to be sold from7am to 2am; ‘Class B Private Club’ licenses allow alcohol to be sold from 10am to 5am; and ‘Restaurant’ licenses allow alcohol to be sold from 7am to 1am.

California:  It is illegal to sell alcohol beverages within 5 feet of a cash register in a store that sells both alcohol and motor fuel.  Also, in 1990, Empire, CA banned a traditional version of the famous book “Little Red Riding Hood” because there was a bottle of wine in the basket Little Red Riding Hood was taking to her sick grandmother, and the local school board thought it would encourage underage drinking.

Colorado:  It is illegal to ride a horse under the influence.

Connecticut:  You still can’t buy alcohol in CT on Sundays, which makes them the last state in the Northeast to retain the old rule.

Delaware:  Passengers in a vehicle may consume alcohol, though the driver may not drink and drive.

Florida:  “40’s” are illegal in Florida.  Alcohol must be packaged in either containers of 32oz or less, or 1 gallon or more.

Georgia:  This has nothing to do with wine or alcohol, but was so ridiculous that I can’t help but post it (I pray it’s true!!!);   Goldfish may not be given away to entice someone to enter into a game of BINGO. 

Hawaii: Another one not related to wine or alcohol, but I suppose risk of it occurring is increased when inebriated; in Honolulu public parks, it is illegal to annoy any bird.

Idaho:  Possession of an unregistered, unlabelled keg is punishable by a $1,000 fine or 6 months in prison.

Illinois: In Chicago, it is illegal to give a dog whiskey.  In Pullman, it is illegal to drink beer out of a bucket while sitting on the curb.

Indiana:  It is illegal for liquor stores to sell milk and cold soft drinks.  However, they are allowed to sell soft drinks at room temperature.

Iowa: It is illegal to start a tab at a bar in Iowa.

Kansas:  I don’t know if this is really a law, or just something a crazy Attorney General dreamed up, but it’s too ridiculous not to post:  One Kansas AG claimed that drinking in an airliner above was forbidden by state law while the plane was over “dry” Kansas airspace, since he claimed that “Kansas goes all the way up and all the way down”.  Oh my….

Kentucky:  It is illegal to ship alcohol to Kentucky, even if it’s just a bottle of wine for your mother, unless you want to be charged with a felony and go to jail for the next five years (sorry, Mom and Dad, no VA wine for you!).

Louisiana:  Underage possession of alcohol is illegal, except for when you are in a private residence and are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, for religious, medical, or educational purposes.

Maine: You may not possess an unregistered or unlabelled keg, lest you want to incur a hefty fine and/or 6 months in prison.

Maryland: Alcohol beverage writers must be certified as experts by a state agency in order to be eligible to receive product samples and can only receive three bottles per brand.

Massachusetts:  It is illegal to give beer to hospital patients.  Also, the Pilgrims decided to stop off at Plymouth Rock instead of continuing on to their originally desired destination, partially because they were running dangerously low on booze.

Michigan: Persons may not be drunk on trains.  Also, it is illegal for an underage individual to give an alcoholic beverage to anyone, even if that person is of legal drinking age.

Minnesota:  It is NOT a crime to be drunk in public.

Mississippi: A parent, guardian, or legal spouse may give beer and/or wine to persons 18 and older.

Missouri:  If you are underage and are taking out the trash that contains an empty alcohol container, you may be charged with illegal possession of alcohol (good excuse not to have to take out the trash in Missouri if you’re a kid!).

Montana: A parent or guardian may provide alcohol (in non-intoxicating amounts) to a minor for religious, medical, or educational purposes.

Nebraska:  Bars may not sell beer unless they are simultaneously making a kettle of soup.

Nevada: In Nyala, NV, one is forbidden from buying drinks for more than three people (other than himself) in a day. 

New Hampshire:  It is illegal to be served alcohol unless you are sitting down.  Also, in Claremont, NH, in cemeteries, it is illegal to get drunk, picnic, enter at night, and enter by one’s self if that person is younger than 10 (but if you’re 12 that’s OK??).

New Jersey:  If you are convicted of a DUI, you are not legally able to get personalized license plates for three years.

New Mexico:  Selling, serving, or giving alcohol to a minor is a Class 4 felony and punishable by up to 18 months in prison.  Eek!

New York:  All liquor stores must be owned by a single owner, who lives within a certain distance of it (which effectively bans chain liquor stores).

North Carolina: State liquor stores are not allowed to advertise.  Also, ABC stores are not allowed to sell anything over 151 proof, all because of one town that cited concerns after one ABC store was selling a lot of 191 proof liquor near college campuses.

North Dakota:  Beer and pretzels may not be served at the same time in any bar or restaurant.

Ohio:  It is illegal to get a fish drunk.  Also, the wine brand “Fat Bastard” is banned for sale within OH borders, to “protect impressionable children”.

Oklahoma:  I can’t resist posting this one:  It is illegal for the owner of a bar to allow anyone inside to pretend to have sex with a buffalo.  Dammit!

Oregon: A parent or guardian may provide alcohol to a minor for religious, medical, or educational purposes.

Pennsylvania:  The law states that a man may not buy alcohol without written permission from his wife. 

Rhode Island: The state of Rhode Island never ratified the 18th Amendment which established Prohibition (Rhode Island must have been one happenin’ place back then!).

South Carolina: It is illegal to sell alcohol on Sundays, unless you are a Private Club.

South Dakota: A parent or guardian may provide alcohol to a minor for religious, medical, or educational purposes.

Tennessee: It is illegal to dare a child to purchase beer.

Texas:  No one is permitted to consume more than three sips of beer at a time while standing.

Utah:  Wine used in wine tastings must not be swallowed.

Vermont:  VT was considering lowering the drinking age to 18 (since many drive to Canada to get drunk and get in terrible accidents on the drive back), but the federal government would deny them millions of dollars in funding if they passed such a law.

Virginia:  In Virginia Beach, if you’re pulled over and get a DUI, the passenger inside the vehicle may also receive a DUI if they are intoxicated as well.

Washington:  In Lynden, WA, drinking and dancing may not occur in the same establishment.

West Virginia: Bars may advertise liquor prices, but not liquor brands.

Wisconsin:  An underage individual who is married to someone 21 years or older may consume alcoholic beverages with them legally.

Wyoming:  If you are drunk in a mine, you face up to one year in prison.  Also, it is illegal for a woman to stand within 5 feet of a bar while drinking.  Finally, skiing while intoxicated is illegal.

I hope you all enjoyed this little bit of silliness!  If you know of other ridiculous laws related to wine or alcohol in your home state, feel free to comment below!

I am not a health professional, nor do I pretend to be. Please consult your doctor before altering your alcohol consumption habits. Do not consume alcohol if you are under the age of 21. Do not drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly!

6 comments for “Wine Law 101: Silly Alcohol Laws Edition

  1. June 29, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Wow. I am shocked about Little Red Riding Hood. No wonder Minnesota & Wisconsin have drinking and driving problems. PA…I am shocked! Most of their laws benefit men, not women.

  2. June 30, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Thanks for reading, Lisa! Some of those laws shocked me as well! I don't know the origin of some of the crazier ones, but I would guess that they were written many many years ago, and just were never overturned, and no one ever enforced them anyway (or so I hope!!).

  3. D Cook
    July 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    You spelled Delaware incorrectly:(

  4. July 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Oh my! How embarrassing! You know, this post has been up for over a year now, and you're the first person to catch that (or at least the first to say something to me).

    Silly typos! 🙂 It's fixed now! Thanks!

  5. Chaoszen
    August 25, 2013 at 7:58 am

    In Iowa you can buy Alcohol at 6:00 A.M. on weekdays and Saturday. But on Sunday you can’t buy alcohol until 8:00 A.M. Never have figured that one out. Maybe you have 2 hours to sober up before Church? Silly humans…

    • Becca
      August 27, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      HA! That’s so funny! I wonder who comes up with these crazy laws! 😉

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