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Weird Beer Laws

  • In Fairbanks, Alaska, it's illegal to serve liquor to a moose. By contrast, in Ohio it's legal to serve booze to a fish, but not if you get it drunk.
  • Take the business of bars. Some states mandate sitting, while others require standing at the bar to drink. Texans may take up to but not more than three sips of beer while standing. Some jurisdictions require the interior of public drinking establishments to be visible from the street; others specifically prohibit that.
  • In Iowa it's illegal to run a tab. And don't even think of having a drop after closing hours there - not even if you own the bar. It's hard to imagine the incident that led to Iowa's law stating that if an employee pours water down the drain while a police officer is drinking at the bar, the water is considered an alcoholic beverage intended for unlawful purposes.
  • Bars and restaurants in North Dakota are forbidden to serve beer and pretzels at the same time. Nebraska bars may not sell beer except when simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup.
  • If you skip the bar and head to a liquor store in Indiana, you won't find any soda or milk in the cooler. They may, however, sell warm soft drinks. In California, no alcoholic beverages may be displayed within 5 feet of a cash register if the store sells both alcohol and motor fuel. Presumably so you don't confuse your Colt 45 with your 10W40.
  • Philosophical drinkers in Houston might ponder the fact that it's illegal to buy beer after midnight Sunday but perfectly all right any time Monday, which starts - that's right - right after midnight Sunday.
  • The law considers some things best left unsaid. Like the word refreshing, prohibited on any alcoholic beverage in the country. The newsletters and ads of California producers may not list retailers or restaurants that sell their products.
  • In New York City, the word saloon is forbidden, a fact that restaurateur Michael O'Neil didn't realize until his sign was already up. Patrons now belly up to the bar of O'Neil's Baloon.
  • Legislators are adamant about protecting children under 21 from the demon rum. In Missouri, if your kid takes out the trash and it contains even one empty wine bottle, he can be charged with illegal possession of alcohol. In Michigan, it's illegal for a youngster to give a grown-up a bottle of booze. Pretty lenient, considering that in Kentucky even an adult could spend five years in jail for sending a gift of beer, wine or spirits to a friend.
  • If the friend were in Texas, he might have a long wait, anyway, considering that delivery drivers carrying anything alcoholic must detour around the state's dry counties. Could this sort of clarity of thinking have anything to do with the fact that the entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it contains a recipe for making beer that could be used at home?
  • If you decide to send your youngster on a semester abroad to absorb some foreign common sense, don't imagine he'll get a taste of wine in Bordeaux or beer at the Hoffbrau Haus. The Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act prohibits Americans under 21 from conforming to the drinking laws and customs of their host countries.
  • Enough to make you sit down on the curb and cry. Which is perfectly legal in St. Louis, as long as, while you're sitting there, you don't also drink beer from a bucket.
  • If you like this story, be glad you live in Colorado and not Maryland, as this reporter would be unlikely to pass that state's stringent requirements concerning wine writers. Not only are they restricted to three bottles per brand of product samples, but they must first be certified as experts by an agency of the state.