So you're on a "business trip" (rogue for "scoping out fresh marks in a new city after being forced to flee your old one"). It's been a long day, 3-Card Monteing your way into a temporary hotel room. You dump your belongings on the bed, gather up a handful of cash and head down to the bar for a relaxing drink. But wait, before you order, let's make sure you're not breaking some ridiculous law. Well, besides the ones you already broke with 3-Card Monte.
Because as it turns out, there are some pretty weird laws where booze is concerned. For instance ...
"Happy Hour" Is Illegal In Massachusetts
Oh, happy hour, the best time you can have in a bar. Or anywhere, really. Cheap drinks and a few old friends makes for an awesome night. Well, for the people of Massachusetts, you're only going to get the "old friends" part, because selling discounted alcohol is prohibited by law. And you know those free birthday drinks that pretty much every bar on the planet gives out? You won't get one of those, either, because free drinks are outright banned there.
The reason for the ban is a 50/50 mix of sad and weird. In 1984, a woman named Kathleen Barry met her friends at Ground Round. They won free beer from a game of "name that tune". A lot of it, apparently. Later they went on a joy ride on top of another friend's Chevrolet, which is weird, because Teen Wolf didn't come out until 1985.
The ride ended with Kathleen falling under the car, getting dragged 50 feet, breaking her arms, legs and neck. In response to this idiocy, the law was made to prevent DUIs. Moral of the story: Don't drink and drive. And don't ride on top of a friend'ss Chevy even if everyone is sober. Otherwise, you could inadvertently cause entire states to change their laws and ruin free drinks for everyone.
In Utah, You Couldn't Make Drinks In Front Of The Customers Until 2017
Have you ever been to one of those gimmicky, fancy places where the bartender gets all flippy-floppy with the bottles like Tom Cruise in Cocktail? They call it "flair bartending" and it looks like this:
Well, that wasn't happening in Utah until 2017, and it likely still can't happen in some bars. In fact, until the law was changed last year, bars were prohibited from showing the drinks being made at all. They had to be made behind a Zion curtain, which is basically opaque glass.
The law was made to protect kids from seeing the drinks being made (they called it "the glamorization of alcohol"), but it was eventually dropped, because ... well, kids could just look around the curtains. It probably would have been more effective to make them wear Zion glasses. And also prohibit them from all media, forever, so they never accidentally see or hear a beer commercial.
In Finland, Alcohol Over 5.5% By Volume Can Only Be Sold By The Government
Ah, liquor stores ... they're basically the American dream. Any ol' random mom and pop can open a store and start selling beer, right? Well, not in Finland. In Finland: only the state liquor store (called Alko) is allowed to have beverages above 5.5% volume. So suck it, mom. And also pop.
"Jägerbombs are in the back, sonny."
The reason they do it (besides that sweet, sweet profit) is because it helps the state keep track of alcohol consumption. Politicians think that bringing higher volume alcohol to plain supermarkets would make it too easy for the consumer to acquire the booze (even though Alkos are usually located right next to supermarkets, or inside them), and would affect the health of the nation in a bad way.
On top of that, you can buy alcohol from stores (meaning booze that you take home) from 9am to 9pm. Outside of those hours, you can only buy booze from bars, and you can’t take the drinks home. In fact, you can't take them outside certain areas within the bar. Outside of a few exceptions (like a wagon bar that travels between cities ... yes, that's a real thing), you can actually get fined if the cops catch you with a pint of beer in your hands, outside a bar.
In Australia, Using A Motorized Wheelchair While Drinking Is Considered A DUI
In 2008, a 64 year old Australian man was charged with operating a vehicle while drunk ... for driving his motorized wheelchair.
Now, we're aware that the cops in Australia aren't just going to pick out a random dude in a wheelchair and slap him with a bigass fine. Or maybe they do -- we don't know how Australian laws work. If someone wants to fly our crew down to Australia, we'd be happy to test out your drinking laws. But the point is, there was clearly something bigger going on than an old man casually wheeling down the street while sucking on a beer.
Always bring a designated driver.
According to the article we linked above, he was traveling nine miles on a road to see his friend. All we can do is assume the rest of the details, but we're pretty confident that we can say he was posing a danger to himself and other drivers. Maybe he was ramping stuff and doing donuts on the highway. Who knows? The wheelchair part was just the headline grabber. It turns out he could have been on a bicycle or a horse and gotten the same charges.
That law is actually found all over the world. In the US, you can be arrested for driving your riding lawnmower while drinking. In England, a man named Paul Hutton was arrested for driving a Barbie Power Wheels car while drunk. They actually confiscated the car until the hearing, and he was let off with a "conditional discharge" for a year.
We don't want to downplay the severity of driving while drunk ... but Paul Hutton is kind of our hero now.
In Canada, Bartenders Can't Infuse Drinks
How many of you have done the old party drink of dropping some Skittles or Jolly Ranchers into a bottle of vodka? If not, you should try it. It's awesome. It works with pretty much any anything: oranges, chocolate, dirt ... whatever flavor you're into. Hell, in California, we're pretty sure it's illegal to serve water that isn't infused with cucumbers.
In Canada, bartenders can't infuse drinks because of a law that prevents tampering with the contents of the bottle. And when we say "infusing," that also means no barrel-aging cocktails. Whatever is in the bottle has to stay exactly that way until the drink is made.
We serve nothing but 6000 gallons of appletinis.
This law is mostly about safety. If you don't barrel-age a cocktail correctly, it can make a person pretty sick. If you're caught, you can either get "a little slap on the wrist," like Shawn Soole from the article linked above ... or you could get your license outright revoked.
The government is currently working on figuring out a compromise that would allow the practice and sale of infused liquors. In the meantime, if you want an infused drink, you'll have to do it in your house, illegally, like the criminal heathen you are.
Like this article? Check out "How To Talk About Beer Without Sounding Like A Snob" and "How To Create Your Own Signature Cocktail".