The Mixology Talk Podcast, Episode Thirty Nine
There are a lot of laws and restrictions that relate to alcohol. This week we’re discussing a couple that are useful to know for bartenders & enthusiasts alike.
Huge, Important Caveat:
The information we provided in this podcast is based on internet research only, and varies a LOT based on where you are located. Our comments are NOT legal advice! Be sure to verify the exact laws where you live before you take any risks.
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In today’s Episode…
One more Warning: All information provided in this podcast was found on the internet, and I have NOT confirmed whether it’s true or not. Furthermore, much of what’s listed below depends heavily on what state you’re in. Be sure to check your local laws!
Laws You Should Consider:
- Don’t buy “Used” Alcohol. There might be great deals on Craigslist but it’s illegal to buy alcohol from an unlicensed person or store – and that’s for safety and purity reasons.
- Be Careful with Private Parties. If you charge money for drinks, charge for tickets at the door, or even if you open the party up to the public, you may be required to have a liquor license.
- Don’t Infuse Alcohol in Your Backseat. This may not be a common problem, but infusing alcohol in your car is almost certainly a violation of Open Container laws. Plus, it’s an awful way to infuse!
- Owning a Still & Distilling: Distilling your own alcohol is NOT something for beginners. It’s dangerous! As a result, it’s very likely that there are restrictions on owning (or using) a still in your area. In the USA, it depends on the state – some allow you to own a still, some don’t. Take a look at this page for detailed lawsworldwide.
- You Can’t buy booze from a Distillery. This one is definitely state dependent, but my understanding is that California and many other states won’t let you buy spirits directly from the distillery. This is because of the “Three Tier” alcohol distribution system in the US.
- Bartending Licenses: my research indicates that there are no states in the US that actually require a “Bartending license” before people are allowed to Bartend. You may be required to get a certificate proving you know how to handle food or alcohol safely, but I don’t believe these certificates are specific to bartending. Again – check with your local hospitality lawyer!
- Bartenders & Cutting People Off. Yes, it is part of your job to know when people are too drunk to have another drink. Leverage your management and / or bouncer to help you if this situation arises.
- Keep the Flask at Home. I know flasks are supposedly created to help you surreptitiously cart liquor around, but having an open container of alcohol on your body is illegal in most US states. Sorry, folks.
- What about the car? In the US, laws regarding what you can and can’t do with an open container in a vehicle are extremely varied. I’d absolutely do some research before taking any chances at all. (Also check out OpenContainerLaws.com)
- Alcohol Advertising: Worldwide alcohol advertising laws vary a lot, and in some cases they are very, very strict. Be sure to consult with a lawyer before doing anything that could be considered advertising – even putting a sandwich board in front of your bar listing your specials, or selling T-shirts talking about Alcohol could be considered “advertising.”
Ridiculous and Weird Spirits Laws:
The following are also completely unverified, and were found from all corners of the internet. Whether they are actually true…. I really don’t know! Regardless, I think I’ll avoid giving Whiskey to moose.
In the USA:
- It’s illegal to give whiskey to a moose in Fairbanks, Alaska
- Men technically can’t purchase alcohol in Pennsylvania without the consent of their wives. (No Comment!)
- It’s apparently illegal to drink beer from a bucket in St. Louis, Missouri while sitting on a street curb.
- No Drinking is allowed on Election Day in South Carolina or Kentucky.
- Mixers cannot be sold in the same store where liquor is sold in Tennessee.
- It is illegal to offer Happy Hour in Massachusetts and Utah, and Pennsylvania limits Happy Hours to four hours in length.
- It’s one-drink-at-a-time in Iowa – in that state you can’t open a tab.
- No refrigerated beer for Oklahomans… Any beer that’s over 4% alcohol is required by law to be sold “room temperature.”
- I find this one hard to believe, but in Texas, there is (supposedly) a law that says you can only take three sips of beer while standing. I have no idea how they could possibly monitor this one, but it’s good to know!
- In Nebraska, public displays of affection between bar employees and patrons are strictly forbidden. In a hopefully unrelated law, it’s also prohibited for bars to sell beer unless they are making soup at the same time. So if you can’t hit on a bartender, you may as well order some soup!
- Last but certainly not least, it’s illegal to get a fish drunk in Ohio.
Around the World:
- Scotland: A drunk man cannot possess a cow.
- While it’s illegal to import or brew beer in Nigeria, it’s not actually illegal to drink it.
- It’s illegal to drink water in a beer parlour in Saskatchewan, Canada
- In Malaysia, if a man is caught driving drunk, the driver AND his wife are put in jail.
- Russia: Until recently, Russia considered drinks <10% ABV to be “non alcoholic” – meaning it was not subject to age restrictions or open container laws.
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Thanks for Listening!
Hopefully this episode has given you a sense for the kinds of laws you should be look into in your area. Be careful out there, and let us know if we’ve missed anything where you live!
Another great show! Not a bad idea to always be making soup at the bar anyway!
Thanks for the shoutout!
I’m with ya Brian, soup is always a good option 🙂
Late to the party but… There is one law I’m surprised you didn’t mention considering the bartending industry perspective here:
It is illegal to marry liquor (pour spirits from a large bottle to a smaller bottle of the same spirit). This is nationwide in the US… It’s in the federal TTB regulations.