There are weird laws about drinking. International alcohol laws can be pretty strict and, America has some really strange regulations on the books. Alcohol laws from around the world can affect anything from how much wine a married woman can drink to penalties for drunk driving. If you’re going out of the country, you’ll want to check their drinking laws.
You might want to do the same thing in the US. There is a happy hour out of state. Check if it’s legal. Your bartender in Nebraska. There is no question that Hanky panky is out of the question. Want to buy alcohol in Pennsylvania. The civil code is so complex that you need a copy with you.
Some of the weird drinking laws and funny laws about alcohol are just plain silly, some are well-intentioned, and some are just relics of a bygone era.
1. In Texas, one cannot chug a beer in a standing position.
In Texas, it’s illegal to take more than three sips of beer at one time. It is difficult to enforce this law.
2. In Scotland, if you wear underwear under a kilt, it will cost you two beers.
There is a law in Scotland that says if you are found wearing underwear under your kilt you will be fined. If this law does not exist, it will never be enforced.
3. The laws are complicated in Pennsylvania.
If you want to host a party in the state, you need to get ready to work. State-run liquor stores called “Fine Wine and Good Spirits” and privately owned beer stores (distributors) can be found in the state. You can’t get one at the other. Wine can be purchased in winery storefronts, but it can’t be purchased in supermarkets. You can’t buy six-packs or large bottles at the beer distributor.
4. The drinking and racy movies don’t quite mix in Idaho.
In 2000 Idaho passed a law prohibiting movie theaters from selling alcohol in movies that depict sex. It seems like such a law would be hard to enforce, but it actually is. Two undercover Idaho State Police officers busted a theater for serving drinks to customers during a screening of Fifty Shades of Grey in 2015.
The owners of the theater sued the state police because of a similar law that was overturned in California.
5. Some restaurants in Utah must pour drinks behind a screen.
Utah’s liquor laws are complicated. Bars used to be private clubs that charged membership fees. Many restaurants now have to pour drinks behind opaque glass, so as to not entice teetotalers and children. The laws have relaxed a bit, and these so-called “Zion curtains” used to be more common.
6. In Bolivia, married women cannot have more than one drink.
In La Paz, Bolivia, married women are allowed to enjoy just one glass of wine in a public bar or restaurant. Women who have more than that to drink can be legally divorced by their husbands if they are caught over-indulging.
The law is, however, not enforced frequently.
7. In Scotland, one cannot ride a Cow while they’re drunk.
The Licensing Act of 1872 made it illegal to ride atop a cow in Scotland. It’s illegal to operate a horse or steam engine.
8. Dry counties in Kentucky can make Bourbon.
Kentucky’s bourbon and temperance are two things that are well-known. Many Kentucky counties have some kind of alcohol restriction. The state’s laws allow historic sites to make alcohol. The historic sites are where distilleries make their product and bring in tax money for the state.
9. Drunk Driving in El Salvador used to mean the firing squad.
First-time drunk driving offenders in El Salvadoran will face a firing squad if they violate the law. The death penalty was abolished in El Salvador in 1983.
10. In India, you need a liquor license in one state.
The drinking laws in India vary wildly depending on where you go. In Maharashtra, home to the capital city of Mumbai, you can’t drink without a license. The law was passed in the wake of Indian independence. To get a license, you have to go to a government hospital or customs house.
11. Infused liquor is prohibited in Alberta, Canada.
Cocktail aficionados were upset when they were not allowed to sell fruit-infused or barrel-aged liquor. It’s illegal to add anything to liquor until a customer requests it. This is to prevent bars from deceiving drinkers with watered-down drinks. It means that everything from craft cocktails to sangria is forbidden.
12. You cannot be drunk in a pub in England.
It’s technically against the law to be drunk in a pub in England. The 1872 Licensing Act put in place the law that is still on the books.
13. Happy Hour is illegal in many U.S. states.
Happy hours have been banned in Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Massachusetts. These bans are not popular.
14. My states are dry in the U.S. on Election Day.
Many states had blue laws about buying alcohol on election days, but the majority were rolled back. They were on the books in seven states as recently as 2008. Kentucky’s blue laws expired at 6 pm, while South Carolina’s expired at the same time. If you were a Romney voter in South Carolina and wanted to drown your feelings at home, you had to do it. South Carolina did away with the law in a storm of criticism.
15. It’s illegal to carry wine from one province to another in Canada.
You can bring up to nine liters of wine from another province with you in Quebec, but you can’t have booze shipped to you. It’s against the law for wineries to ship wine to customers.
Wine trade between provinces is often proposed but rarely passed.
16. In Tennesee, alcohol, and mixers weren’t sold together until 2014.
Until the year 2014, you couldn’t buy alcohol and mixers in the same store in Tennessee, so you had to make a bunch of stops. If the liquor store has applied for a special beer permit, you can buy beer in a special store. Liquor stores are the only places where one can buy wine.
17. Public intoxication is illegal in Nevada.
Being drunk in public is legal thanks to laws passed by the Nevada legislature. Public intoxication can be rolled into other crimes.
18. No shots in Sydney, Australia after midnight.
If you want to get hammered in Australia’s biggest city, you better start early. Bars can’t serve shots, doubles, drinks in a glass, or more than four drinks to one customer after 12 am thanks to laws designed to curb alcohol-related violence. If you beat the 1:30 am lockout laws, you can keep partying until 3 am.
19. One cannot buy booze in the morning in Thailand.
Thailand has blue laws that prohibit alcohol purchases from midnight to 11 am and from 2 pm to 5 pm. It’s not allowed on many national holidays, including those related to the king. Tourist-friendly areas can sell bottles wrapped in newspapers or plastic bags.
20. In Sweden, you can buy booze only from the government.
Systembolaget is a chain of government-run liquor stores that are the only places in Sweden where you can purchase alcoholic beverages for private consumption. Systembolaget was an attempt at compromise and rationing was later put in place.
21. In France, it’s necessary for drives to carry a breathalyzer with them.
Motorists in France had to carry a breathalyzer in their car at all times. France had a serious problem with drunk driving deaths. In a country of 65 million people. Drivers have to carry a portable breathalyzer to see if they’re safe to drive or not. There is no punishment for being without one. One year after the law was put in place, the number of French deaths from drunk driving dropped by 8%.
22. Alabama doesn’t have any sensual wine labels.
In 2009, a wine bottle depicting a flying nude lady was deemed too lewd to sell in Alabama. The state’s law forbids bottles with labels that show a person posing in an immoral or sensuous manner.
23. Physical contact with a bartender is a crime in Nebraska.
According to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission, it is against the law to have physical contact with a bartender that involves kissing or touching the breast, buttock, or genital areas.
24. Bar tabs are illegal Iowa.
Don’t leave your card at the bar in Iowa. Bar tabs and vouchers are against the law. The old-fashioned way to burn calories is to get your credit card out.