Interesting and Strange Alcohol Laws Across the States

Photo of a liquor store sign.

 

What Law Does Your State Require?

Those involved in the alcohol industry see a variety of strict federal and state laws regarding the manufacturing, distilling, producing, shipping and retail sales of alcohol.

One of these laws is the requirement of surety bonds. The federal government requires TTB Bonds for many businesses to ensure that taxes are paid. On the state level, each state has its own laws on when or if surety bonds are required.

When it comes to other alcohol-related laws, almost every state gives its residents reason to gripe. What’s perfectly legal in one state could get you arrested in another. There are also some false rumors floating around about what is and isn’t legal. Most of the really ridiculous rumors simply aren’t true. But some actually are. Here are some interesting tidbits and laws regarding alcohol use in the States that are worth sharing:

Alabama:  Wine labels cannot be “immodest or sensuous,” even if the TTB has already approved it.

Alaska:  It’s okay to give your children alcohol as long as it’s not in a licensed establishment. It used to be illegal to give alcohol to a moose. Though that law was repealed long ago, it’s still illegal to give human food to any wildlife in Alaska.

Arizona:   An intoxicated person at an establishment is only allowed to remain for 30 minutes. This gives a sober person enough time to show up to take them home.

Arkansas:   Minors who are aged 18 to under 21 that are caught with alcohol will get a fine and have to write a theme or essay on intoxicating liquors, wine or beer.

California:   Alcohol cannot be displayed within five feet of a cash register or the front door if the business also sells motor fuel — unless it is in a permanently fixed cooler.

Colorado:  You may not be intoxicated while horseback riding on the highway.

Connecticut:   You can purchase up to four liters of beer at restaurants, cafes and taverns for off-premise consumption.

Delaware:   No alcohol sales on big holidays including Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas. In the city of Rehoboth Beach, alcohol may not be served at dance halls or dance clubs.

DC:   Santa Claus, Easter, Holy Week and Mother’s Day may not be used in advertising to sell alcohol.

Florida:   You can have alcohol delivered to your house. Active military can import alcohol tax-free.

Georgia:   Athens-Clarke County doesn’t allow 2-for-1 specials, and there’s no Lady’s Nights in Columbus.

Hawaii:  Minors caught drinking and driving get a DUI, and their parent or guardian will be required to attend an alcohol abuse educational program.

Idaho:   Limits liquor licenses to one bar for every 1500 citizens. These licenses are a hot item and can be traded or sold for big bucks.

Illinois:   Don’t lend out your driver’s license to anyone, like a younger sibling. You could be fined and get a year in jail. Also, if you are driving and your passenger is drinking, both you and the passenger could be issued a traffic citation.

Indiana:   Grocery stores and gas stations cannot sell cold beer. Only liquor stores can sell cold beer, but they are not allowed to sell cold soda. Minors under 18, including babies, are not allowed to enter a liquor store, bar or other public place where alcohol is sold or provided.

Iowa:   You can’t run a tab unless you are using a bona fide credit card. Home delivery is allowed.

Kansas:   Didn’t lift Prohibition until 1948, lifted a ban on liquor by the drink in 1987, and lifted the ban on happy hour drink specials in 2012. But you still can’t buy ice at a liquor store.

Kentucky:   Since some counties are dry and others are not, many wineries will deny shipping wine to the entire state, just to be safe.  You can run a tab for beer, but not for wine or distilled spirits. You cannot buy alcohol during a primary or general elections, but you can during special elections.

Louisiana:   It is legal for parents or legal guardians to purchase alcohol for their underage children. Open containers are fine in New Orleans as long as they are not glass containers. You can buy cocktails at a drive-thru but you can’t drive with an open container, so keep the straw out of the cup.

Maine:   Liquor sales on Sundays can begin at 7am, unless it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Then they can start selling at 6am.

Maryland:   Active military returning to Maryland can bring alcohol with them. It’s considered a household good. And there is no limit on the amount.

Massachusetts:   Many establishments do not accept out of state driver’s licenses as acceptable proof of age, but a passport or military identification card is okay.

Michigan:   No alcohol sales on Christmas Day until noon.

Minnesota:   High-alcohol spirits like Everclear are illegal. Does not allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays, but all of Minnesota’s border states and Canada do sell on Sundays.

Mississippi:   The only state where drinking and driving is allowed. Drivers may drink as long as their blood alcohol level remains below .08%.

Missouri:    There are no open container laws, no public intoxication laws, no dry jurisdictions, and parents or guardians may provide alcohol to their children. But you can’t be intoxicated in church, school or a courthouse.

Montana:   Liquor licenses are privately held and can be sold for huge profits. New licenses are acquired through a lottery system.

Nebraska:   Bar employees may not show PDA (public displays of affection) with bar patrons.

Nevada:   Do what you want. Drink what you want, when you want, where you want and how you want. Public intoxication is legal. Minors may drink in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

New Hampshire:   Patrons at bars and restaurants must be seated at their table or booth to be served. Patrons may be served while standing at the bar or drink rails. In Claremont, New Hampshire, you may not drink alcohol in a cemetery. (You are also not allowed to picnic in a cemetery, enter at night, or enter by yourself if you are 10 years old or younger.)

New Jersey:   If you get a DUI, you may not get a personalized license plate. If a restaurant doesn’t have a liquor license, you may bring you own wine or beer, and you cannot be charged a corkage fee.

New Mexico:   Selling, serving and giving alcohol to a minor is fourth degree felony, except when a parent, legal guardian or spouse of a minor serves that minor on property other than licensed premises, or for religious purposes. But a minor who uses a fake ID to obtain alcohol is charged with a petty misdemeanor.

New York:   Liquor stores must be owned by a single owner who lives within a certain distance of the store, which can make it difficult for chain stores to operate.

North Carolina:   No Happy Hour, no Buy One Get One Free and no Lady’s Night Specials. In an emergency, the Governor may decide to order the cessation of selling, manufacturing and transporting alcohol.

North Dakota:   It is illegal for minors to have internal possession of alcohol. Meaning, they can’t possess alcohol in their bodies. This allows law enforcement to make arrests or issue citations even if the minor is not holding or drinking alcoholic beverages.

Ohio:   Parents and guardians can give their underage child alcohol in a bar or restaurant, but it’s up to the establishment if they want to allow it.

Oklahoma:   If a beverage is more than 4% alcohol, it must be sold at room temperature.

Oregon:   An establishment with a liquor license must serve at least five different substantial food items.

Pennsylvania:   Beer can’t be sold where gas is sold or in grocery stores. You can’t buy more than two 6-packs of beer at a time. (You can take those two 6-packs to your car, and then return to buy more.) Cases and kegs can only come from a distributor. Grocery stores can only sell beer if they have a café or eat-in restaurant that seats 30 people. You may not bring alcohol into the state from another state unless you are: in the military, retired military, totally disabled veteran, or their spouse.

Rhode Island:   One of two states that never ratified the 18th Amendment that established Prohibition. The other was Connecticut.

South Carolina:   On the fourth Friday of October each year, children in public schools are required to learn about Frances Willard, a key figure in the passage of prohibition, and “the evils of intemperance.”

South Dakota:   Federal law bans the sale of alcohol on Native American reservations unless the tribal council allows it.

Tennessee:   Tennessee’s most famous whiskey distillery is in a dry county.

Texas:   Public companies with more than 35 shareholders (like Wal-Mart) cannot sell hard liquor. You can buy cocktails at drive-thrus, but they have to put a piece of tape over the straw hole in the lid.  No labels with the US flag, Texas flag or any Armed Forces flag.

Utah:   If an establishment has a restaurant liquor license and not a bar liquor license, then liquor bottles cannot be on display, and drinks cannot be mixed in view of a patron. If you order a drink at a restaurant, you must also order food.  Private individuals cannot bring alcohol into the state from other states.

Vermont:   After Prohibition was repealed, the drinking age in Vermont was 21. The age was lowered to 18 in 1971, but raised back to 21 in 1986. This is due to losing federal funding if the age was 18.

Virginia:   If an officer has probable cause to believe you have been drinking and driving, you must consent to a breath or blood test. If you refuse, that will be used against you in court and your license will be suspended.

Washington:   Music, dancing or entertainment are not allowed in licensed establishments without permission of the proper authorities. This does not apply to radios or mechanical music devices.

West Virginia:   You may not bring more than 10 gallons of alcohol into the state for personal consumption.

Wisconsin:   If an establishment is okay with it, a parent or guardian can serve alcohol to their child in a bar, no matter the child’s age.

Wyoming:   Alcohol may be consumed in state parks. You may not ski while intoxicated.

Puerto Rico:  Liquor sales are prohibited during hurricane emergencies.

 

How to Get Bonded

If your business is in the alcohol industry and you need a surety bond, you must purchase it from a Surety through a licensed agent, such as SuretyGroup.com.

SuretyGroup.com‘s Surety Bond Specialists can often give you same-day approval that makes the process quick and easy.

 

Have questions? SuretyGroup.com can help. Give us a call at 1‑844‑432‑6637 and our Surety Bond Specialists can walk you through the bonding process.

SuretyGroup.com – Your Online Bond Provider.

Great Rates. Solid Advice. Quick Solutions.

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