Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Funny, Funnier, Pennsylvania.

I have lived in places with some funny beer laws...

Georgia and Tennessee had local option, which meant that some counties in the dustier corners of the state may actually have still been "dry", and Georgia didn't let you sell beer for off-premises consumption on Sundays, because you might burn in hell for that. Local option also led to a patchwork quilt of quitting times:
"Oh, man, we're out of beer and it's after midnight."
"No sweat, dude, the Cobb county line is only three miles away and they sell 'til 3AM there."

Tennessee, on the other hand, would let you buy beer on Sundays after 10AM or thereabouts, which prevented people bereft of planning skills from being blotto in church, but wouldn't let any alcoholic beverage stronger than Bud Lite be sold anyplace but a liquor store. (...and liquor stores in Tennessee could only sell liquor. No mixers or pretzels or cigarettes or pickled eggs or what-have-you. That meant a separate stop before the party.)

Indiana at first glance seems a lot more laid back about the booze, since you can buy Jack Daniel's at the local CVS, but it's got quirks of its own: like Georgians, Hoosiers are convinced you'll spontaneously combust if you purchase alcohol on Sundays in a sealed container, and also won't let you buy cold beer anyplace but a dedicated liquor store because apparently John Dillinger once bought cold beer at a gas station or grocery store and look where that led. (If there's a weird law in Indiana, such as the one that says machine guns, suppressors, and short-barreled rifles are okay but short-barreled shotguns are Right Out, it's usually safe to blame that famous Hoosier black sheep, Johnny D.)

The weirdness of these beer laws pales in comparison, however, with the Keystone Kops laws Sebastian must put up with in the Keystone State. I still remember a couple of exasperated Pennsylvanians trying to explain PA beer laws to me at DragonCon '93. They gave up.*


(* They also started singing Drivin' and Cryin's "Straight to Hell" as "I'm goin' straight to Pittsburgh, just like my mama said...")

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wierd? Hah, what Indiana has now is close to sane.

Cold beer in grocery stores proposals come and go. The liquor store owners always grease the General Assembly and no one really cares because it has always been this way and people aren't drunkards here.

Just Google "Indiana Beer Baron Law" and hilarity will ensue.

Or, find out why Coors did not sell in Indiana for ages.

Ahhh, Indiana, where the warmth and manners of the North meet the efficiency, discipline and industriousness of the South.

Shootin' Buddy

Anonymous said...

The short barreled shotgun law is actually another famous bank robber.

Johnny D used machine guns (Thompsons and BARs) stolen from the Warsaw, Indiana Police and the National Guard.

Shootin' Buddy

Tam said...

"...the warmth and manners of the North meet the efficiency, discipline and industriousness of the South."

Exhibit A is built in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Exhibit B is built in South Carolina.

The defense rests.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Gummint stores in Maryland and my County.

Only the State gummint can sell you likker, retail.

Private store-owners can sell you beer and wine in my county, but the county gummint runs the wholesale.

I have to leave the county for a halfway decent selection of microbrews.

And I live close to DC. Booze sales there are almost lawless. No gun sales, but if you have a business card you can show the city, then you can pretty much get a license to sling hootch.

crankylitprof said...

Heh. I went to grad school in FL, where you could go to the drive-through beer/likker store and buy that shit in the PigglyWiggly, and then moved to PA, where there's a separate beer store, a state store for likker, and weird laws governing buying six-pack for take-out in bars...

PA has the most screwed alcohol laws.

Kevin said...

The Laws in PA are not bad, by the time I was 16 I had them all figured out!

It only took 2 months of living in Georgia to de-progam and make me wonder around looking for beer in the Giant Eagle.

20 years later, and I still have screwed up and ran out of hooch on Sunday.

OA said...

"Ahhh, Indiana, where the warmth and manners of the North meet the efficiency, discipline and industriousness of the South."

Would that be the same South that actually has industry? The same South that's kicking ass when it comes to automobile manufacturing thanks in large part to disciplined workers that actually take quality seriously? The same South that still has steel mills? I could go on, but this isn't the first time you've made it obvious you don't know what in the blue hell you're talking about when it comes to the South, so I won't bother. Why don't you prattle on about drunkards and bears a bit more? You don't know what the hell you're talking about there, either, but the bears don't mind.

Kaiju Images said...

Hey Tam,
If you need someone to make a beer run on Sunday, I'll go to Ft Ben when the PX opens & I'll run out there and stock up.

Sometimes being a retired "right-wing extremist" has its perks.

doubletrouble said...

My son lives in PA for the favorable gun laws, but works in NJ (where he gets his beer)...

Matt G said...

TX: Buy beer cold or warm, it doesn't matter. If you want to take it home, it had better be sealed, and if it's sold at a place licensed to let you take it home, it's a misdemeanor to consume a single drop of alcohol on premises. Unless Texas Alcohol And Beverage Commission issues you a temporary permit for tastings and such, and then it's okay.

If you want to buy liquor, you have to go to a liquor store, which may not operate on Sundays, and which may not open earlier than 10AM nor stay open one second beyond 9PM. Oh, and it has to be closed on New Years Day, and Christmas, if memory serves.

Beer stores sell beer no earlier than 7AM nor later than 12AM, except on Saturday nights, when they can sell until 1AM.

Bars and clubs and restaurants licensed to serve for on-premises consumption can serve until 2AM in Texas.

So, in Texas, if it's 9:02 PM, and you want to have a margarita, or a raise a toast with something stronger than wine, then you'll have to go to a bar to do your drinking, before trying to drive home in a state notorious for its lack of public transportation. Oh, you wanted to drink at HOME, where you could responsibly go straight to bed without driving? Too bad! You failed to plan!

Oh, you're having a little party on Sunday evening, and wanted to serve rum drinks, but you forgot the Bacardi? Too. Damned. Bad. Shoulda planned ahead. Guess you'll all have to go to the bar to do that, and try to drive home.

Can't afford a keg all by your lonesome, so you ask for your party-goers to each kick in $5.00 toward the cost of your keg of Newcastle Brown Ale or Guinness? (Why in the world do people get kegs of Coors Lite, which runs as water at any bar?) Too BAD! You're a illegally distributing beer! You're a damned bootlegger!

See? Texas alcohol laws are stoopid, too. First time I had a rep offer me a taste of a new wine at the package store (she had a special permit from TABC), I thought it was a frickin' trap. And I was a (n off-duty) cop!

jed said...

I remember flying into Savannah on a Sunday with a co-worker, en route to MCAS Beaufort. First thing after leaving the airport in the rental car, he pulls into a store to buy some beer. So much for that idea. He was really miffed when it turned out you couldn't get any in Beaufort either. He had packed a sixer in his luggage (carryon, I assume -- back then you could take a lot of stuff onto planes) so he wasn't totally SOL.

In CO, the legislature finally got rid of the Sunday sales ban not too long ago. The apocalypse didn't happen.

Dunno what's up there now, but I remember the state-run liquor stores in Oregon. But you could get beer/wine in grocery stores.

rickn8or said...

Kaiju--Doesn't work for me; I refuse to drive that far unarmed here, and Base Security would have a sh*t hemorrhage were I to be caught onboard with my daily carry piece. (The same guys who used to trust me around $40 million dollar airplanes, nukes, and crypto keylists.)

And Tam, the Sunday AM beer restriction in extreme SW Tennessee is noon; the Baptists are afraid all the cold beer will be gone by the time they get out of church. (Poor planning skills.)

Anonymous said...

The PA township where I grew up was "dry", and you could tell where the township ended because on every road, no matter how small or otherwise untraveled, there was a bar 10 feet over the line.

Phil-Z

Sebastian said...

Oh man... what I wouldn't give for some moralizing christian types to agree to allow everything else in exchange for no booze on Sunday. That would be relative paradise compared to what I've had to live with for 35 years. Well, I guess 14 years, really.

Pamela D. Hart said...

In Pa you can mess with our beer, but don't dare touch our bibles or guns!

HTRN said...

Pennsylvania has, hands down, the most onerous alcohol sales laws in the country. Between the "six to go" places, having to buy beer at a distributor if you want more than a six pack, limited numbers of "state stores" for hard liquor(for which they tack on an 18% liquor tax).. And oh, did I mention bringing alcohol in from out of state is a crime?

Most of this is protectionism that sprang up after prohibition ended - the distributors who are now in business don't want any more competition.

It's been tried off and on for years to reform these regs, but the associations fight it, and there isn't the political will to change it in Harrisburg.

OrangeNeckInNY said...

Johnny D. plays Johnny D. in the new Johnny D. movie. Weird, huh?

Come buy beer in NY. The only time you can't buy beer in a grocery store is from Sunday morning 12 a.m. to Sunday 12 noon. Any other time, it's anybody's game.

Jeff the Baptist said...

"And oh, did I mention bringing alcohol in from out of state is a crime?"

So is not paying the sales tax on the refrigerator you also bought in Delaware. But I've never seen anyone charged with either.

Anonymous said...

I keep forgetting that BMV actually stands for Buford's Motor Verks.

OA, geez, make a joke about a non-Southern state and the Glassjaw Brigade forms ranks. Bear got your sense of humor?

I think the Civil War could have been bloodless if the North had just sent stand up comics into the South and the South would have been so butt hurt that it would have refused to fight, much like Appamattox but without the bloodshed.

And now the comedy stylings of Morty Sherman and Abe "Mushugina" Lincoln:

"Take my slaves . . . please!"

I say, I say, boo hoo hoo, I'm offended *runs back home*

Shootin' Buddy

Tam said...

"I keep forgetting that BMV actually stands for Buford's Motor Verks."

Actually, it's "Bubba Makes Wheels". :p

Rob K said...

Indiana will have Sunday sales and cold beer in the grocery within a couple years. The grocery stores and gas stations want it and I don't think the liquor store lobby is as big as Marsh, Walmart, Kroger, IGA, and all the gas stations. (See the faux grass roots at http://www.beveragechoices.com.)

I feel for you, PA.

OA said...

So you're just obnoxious rather than malicious? Understood.

perlhaqr said...

NM lets you buy beer and booze in the same place, but grocery stores can't sell either on Sunday. Beer and Liquor oriented stores can.

You can carry in a place that's licensed for sale of booze, but not for consumption. So you can go to Safeway or a regular beer store, but don't go to a restaurant or that's a felony. And my favorite beer store happens to have a consumption license... what a PITA.

However, we do have some stupid. NM is a franchise state, which means the only people allowed to import beer for sale are distributors. So, if you want something, you'd better hope one of the big boys carries it. Jubilation has a pretty good relationship with the distributors, so they can sometimes get them to import a flat of something if they promise to buy the whole damn thing.

This limits selection somewhat, which is why I often come home from road trips with the entire car full of cases of beer I can't get anywhere else.

Somerled said...

Patchwork-quilt laws perpetuate bureaucracy, allow lobbyists to remain employed, and confuse the hell out of thirsty mortals.

In this traditional, Carry Nation state, the need for tax revenue is outpowering the "Kansans for Life at Its Best" lobby.

Tam said...

"The short barreled shotgun law is actually another famous bank robber.

Johnny D used machine guns (Thompsons and BARs) stolen from the Warsaw, Indiana Police and the National Guard.
"

I heard that Dillinger also used switchblades and "Chinese Stars" in his criminal career, and may have ridden motor scooters larger than 49.99cc's without a license plate...

Anonymous said...

"So you're just obnoxious rather than malicious?"

On a amateur basis, yes, I am obnoxious. Professionally some deem me malicious.

How in a House of Snark I could be deemed obnoxious is a mystery.

"heard that Dillinger also used switchblades and "Chinese Stars" in his criminal career, and may have ridden motor scooters larger than 49.99cc's without a license plate"

Not only that, but Dillinger once died a baby rabbit and a chicken bright festive colours. Thus, Indiana made colouring rabbits and chickens a Class B misdemeanor (0 to 180 days in the county jug and up to a 1K fine).

Shootin' Buddy

Tam said...

I shudder to think what he did with them after dyeing... (IC 35-46-3-14)

Ride Fast said...

[...] We talk over whiskey and fight over water [...]

I was Indiana once (I think it was Indiana) and they looked at me in horror when I ordered a beer in a resturant. They also asked me "why" I was reading a book while eating. So beer wasn't the only issue.

Jeff said...

Don't forget election day! Make sure your stocked up the day before our your SOL. Something about politicians getting people drunk and taking them to the voting booth back in the day. The likker laws were one of the only things that really annoyed me in IN. THe laws in NV are great. 24/7/365.

Anonymous said...

"I was Indiana once (I think it was Indiana) and they looked at me in horror when I ordered a beer in a resturant."

They don't serve beer in McDonald's here.

"I shudder to think what he did with them after dyeing... (IC 35-46-3-14)"

It was consensual (and straight animal love)!!! Lousy state cops, not the boss of me!

How can it be a crime when you see the come hither stare of the llama?

Shootin' Buddy

Steve Skubinna said...

As screwed up as Kaleeforneeah is in everything else, they let gorcery stores sell just about anything that has alcohol in it. Even if there's a school within fifty miles. On Sunday.

Anonymous said...

I am 4-square behind ridiculous local regulations for alcohol purchasing.

It affirms my belief that Obama and Reid shouldn't control everything I do.

BTW...I buy in bulk. Ignorance should not be rewarded.

Luv

HTRN said...

Jeff the Baptist:
I have heard stories about unmarked PSP cars waiting in the parking lots of major liquor stores just over the border on major roads, watching the PA plates, and following the back, pulling them over.

Of course, if it does happen, the odds against it are high.

Anonymous said...

I love Louisiana. I can Stop at the local convenience store and pick up beer (even a single), a bottle of booze, and a Hustler. Makes for interesting trips home. When leaving a bar they have plastic cups by the door so you can finish your beer while you walk to your car.

Chalkie said...

Indiana liquor laws are pretty stupid, but compared to the neighboring states.... I think it could be a lot worse. We do allow sales of wine from wineries on Sunday, and as another poster said, the no Sunday take out law is on the way out. The groceries want to kill it. There is a also a pretty easy loophole, at least for beer. Just take up golf, or at least pretend to, and most courses will sell you a sixer or two of sealed cans on ice, and they don't watch closely enough to make sure it doesn't show up still sealed in your car.

Lergnom said...

We were travelling through the West some years ago, and decided to stop in Moab, Utah for the night.
Before looking for a place to have dinner there cames the search for emergency supplies, which we were too young and foolish to have pre-positioned in our luggage. I stopped near a local and asked to be directed to the nearest State Store.
He heard the way I said it and said "You're from Pennsylvania? Next block over.'
It wa so much like the old gummint run liquor stores, I got homesick.


BTW, Heinlein said the difference between a dry county and wet county was in a dry county, you could get liquor delivered on Sunday.