Describe your state's asinine liquor laws.

In Ohio, depending on local law, you get to vote on new alcohol sale permits. Liquor is regulated more tightly than beer and wine (I think the state restricts the number of liquor licenses based on the county’s population), and Sunday sales are a separate vote, so a new store that wants to sell beer/wine and liquor every day might be on the ballot four separate times.

Until I read the rules posted above, I thought that TX had horrible alcohol laws. In light of Utah’s, ours are merely stupid.

Each county in TX gets to decide whether it allows alcohol sales, and normally each city in that county gets to decide what kind of sales they allow, if any, after a county has become wet. For example, at one time Grand Prairie was a dry city, next door in Arlington you could buy beer (and eventually wine), and further over in Fort Worth, they allow liquor sales. So, it’s a crapshoot whether the city you’re in allows you to buy alcohol.

On top of that, you can’t sell liquor to go on Sundays state-wide, and up to 17% alcohol to go can only be sold between 7am-Midnight Mon-Fri, 7am Sat-1am Sun, and Noon-Midnight on Sunday. Meanwhile, you can sell alcohol by the drink during those hours, and can extend it until 2am if you’re in a county that allows it.

Liquor has to be sold in a separate package store (but they often sell groceries and other sundries). Their allowed hours are 10am-9pm Monday-Saturday, closed on Sunday.

As the final wrinkle, alcohol producers, distributors, and retailers must be separate entities. I think they’ve made it so small breweries can sell small amounts on tour, but they can’t sell their beer directly to a retailer.

So yeah, we’re dumb and needlessly complex on the matter, but there seems to be worse out there.

When I visited Arizona, my brother and I walked into a convenience store and found:
[li]birth control/condoms[/li][li]porn (not just playboy, either)[/li][li]hard liquor[/li][li]bullets[/li][li]whipped cream[/li][li]coffee[/li][/ul]

Which we thought sounded like the start of a fun weekend.

In Oklahoma, you cannot have sex in a bar, nor can you fall asleep.

Until a few years ago, WA was a control state. You could only buy liquor at state-owned stores, of which there were 150 or so in the entire state. Almost all of them were open only 8 hours a day, none of them were allowed to be open later than 10, and until 2005 they weren’t allowed to open on Sunday at all. (They were, at least, allowed to sell mixers and beer and wine and snacks as well.) Supermarkets and convenience stores could only sell beer, wine, and other non-distilled alcohols (though they were allowed to sell vermouth for some reason). Restaurants also had to buy liquor from the state stores at retail price.

In 2011, the people passed a referendum to abolish that system. Sounds good, right? Here’s the thing; the initiative was written and primarily funded by Costco, and the system it produced is now almost just as convoluted. Any business with a license to sell alcohol can now sell liquor, but only if they have more than 10,000 feet of floor space. The only exception is the former state stores, which were auctioned off to private entrepreneurs, but over a third of which have since gone out of business (and cannot be replaced; once that store is gone, it’s gone for good) since they can’t compete with big retailers that can sell at lower prices. In order to make up for the loss of profit to the state, liquor is now taxed twice at the point of sale; there’s a sales tax of 20.5%, plus a volume tax of $3.77 per liter that applies to all distilled beverages regardless of strength. Everclear 191 is now specifically prohibited under state law; you can only buy the 151 proof version. Additionally, your local city council can establish what’s called an “alcohol impact area” and arbitrarily ban the sale of any specific brand of beverage that they feel is contributing to public drunkenness and related issues (I don’t have a beef with this one so much as it’s mostly targeted at unpalatable hobo wines and the like anyway, but it also singles out some perfectly respectable drinks arbitrarily).

It’s no small wonder that the very first exit on I-5 past the Oregon state line has three liquor stores within two minutes off the off-ramp - Oregon still has sales at state stores with prohibitive operating hours, but they have no sales tax. The state of WA expects that if you buy liquor there, you will fill out a bunch of paperwork about how sorry you are and mail it to them along with the amount of tax you didn’t pay; I imagine that the compliance rate with that statute is pretty low.

On the plus side, you can now legally get cider in growlers (which wasn’t allowed before).

Because vermouth is a fortified wine, like port, sherry and marsala, which they probably also sell.

It seems that Maryland has laws that vary by county, though there does seem to be some state laws too. From what I’ve seen, there can be beer and wine stores or hard alcohol stores. Though I’ve seen warm beer and wine at county run alcohol stores in some places.

I can only speak for Montgomery county, but it seems to be the only place where one can buy beer and wine in some grocery stores. The catch is that only one store per company can sell beer/wine in the county. This could be the same in other areas in the state, but I’ve never seen it before. It’s nice to be able to go to the store down the street and get my beer in the huge walk in fridge. They are also cheaper.

I remember in college in Western Maryland they couldn’t sell stuff on Sundays, not sure if they still do that or not.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, whenever there was a large party it meant one of the dads would have to go to the beer distributor. This meant that we kids would be getting A-Treat sodas at the party! Yum! We only ever got the A-Treat sodas from the beer distributor and only for large parties, which made it special.

It is entirely possible that these sodas weren’t all that special, it’s just that the fact that they were rare and only at special occasions made them seem extra delicious.

In North Carolina if you’re stocking up your liquor supplies for a party you may find yourself having to apply for a storage and transportation permit before they’ll let you get more than four 1.75 liter bottles from the liquor store. The permit is good either for one day and expires at 9:30 pm on the date issued or a 48 hour permit. You must keep the permit with you at all times while you are transporting and storing the liquor. It has your name, address, destination, quantity and type of liquor purchased.

You might think thing this is one of those obsolete laws that are never enforced. You’d be wrong. Buy five handles of liquor, you have to get the permit.

In Wisconsin, there is a local option that allows small towns to declare themselves dry. The only one I know of is Ephraim, where you can’t get a drink at a bar or buy liquor in any form. Since the town (village, actually) is only a few miles wide, you can easily drive to nearby stores and bars.

There are several nice restaurants and classy hotels in Ephraim, and except for one ice cream store, I wouldn’t call it as kid-friendly as you might think a dry town would be. Yet it’s in the middle of a heavy summer tourist area. I’ve always been surprised that the hotels, restaurants and marinas never got together to get the law changed.

Almost every nearby town has some kind of summer or fall mega-festival with beer, brats and music the major focus. Not Ephraim.

There are four grocery store chains in MoCo that have one “grandfathered” license each (Giant, Safeway, Shoppers, and Magruder’s); they can each have one store that sells beer and wine, and they can change which location it is upon approval by the County. Liquor may only be purchased from a county-run store (Somerset and Wicomico counties have similar laws, but beer and wine may be sold in grocery stores without restriction in Wicomico). I’ve actually found their liquor stores to generally be well-stocked and competitively priced.

In PG county each chain may sell beer and wine at one only location. It is allowed freely in St. Mary’s, Talbot, Worcester, and Wicomico counties. Liquor may also be sold in grocery stores in St. Mary’s.

Alcohol may not be sold for off-premises consumption on Sundays in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

In Vermont, you buy liquor from state stores (which I believe are privately owned, but operate under the state’s authority). The prices of everything are fixed, so there is no advantage to going to one store over another. Stuff goes on sale now and again – the same prices and for the same dates in every store.

As a result, the stores are generally of a downscale, utilitarian design that makes Home Depot seem positively inviting. You don’t go to state stores to browse. If actual competition were allowed, whether on pricing, sales, product mix or whatever, the stores might actually be nice places to visit, and the owners might actually make a little money.

Beer sales in Ontario are messed up. In Ontario by law beer may only sold for off-site consumption at:

  1. a brewery
  2. an LCBO store, which mostly focuses on wine and spirits and has a very limited selection of beer.
  3. The Beer Store

The Beer Store essentially has a monopoly on beer sales in Ontario, and it’s almost entirely owned by Coors and Budweiser (they own 49% each and a Japanese brewery holds a 2% stake).

Well that is just asking for trouble with some potentially obscene combinations there.

I mean…who the hell has whipped cream on coffee!

Illinois is pretty much sane. Beer, wine, and liquor are sold in grocery stores, convenience stores, as well as private liquor stores. Bars are open until 2 am, with some open until 4 am (at least in Chicago). There’s an idiotic blue law which prohibits sales until 11 am Sunday morning, a combination of Black democrats and Southern Illinois white republicans are stubbornly refusing to change that.

Yes PA is nutso about this. My Wife is from there (we live in Colorado) and it confuses the heck out of me when ever we go back to visit family.

Colorado is weird to though. 3.2 beer can be bought in grocery stores in a pinch. But regular beer and any other alcohol you go to the liquor store. Really not a problem, as liquor stores often are close to the anchored grocery store. And just recently, we can buy booze on Sundays.

I recall from years ago, when Minnesota had outrageously high taxes on alcohol, that people would drive across the border from Duluth, MN to Superior, WI to buy booze. Quite often, cops would lie in wait on the MN side and stop cars coming back with trunks full of liquor.

Oregon has state liquor stores. There are far more pot dispensaries. You can buy all the beer and wine you want in any grocery store.

Alaska Native villages can vote themselves dry and often do when alcohol abuse gets out of hand. Bringing liquor into a dry village can land you in some serious trouble. The cities are wide open, although grocery stores must maintain booze sales in a separate part of the store, and may have different hours from the grocery portion.

I seem to remember that Idaho used to not only have state-run liquor stores, but that there was some sort of ration card system as well. Perhaps that has changed.

I’ve always thought that the age of majority is 18 but that one can’t buy alcohol until 21 is wrong. I know people claim it is to reduce drunk driving but that should be a separate enforcement issue, after all plenty of folks over 21 are driving drunk.

Yeah, Michigan has everything pretty freely except for drive-through liquor. If we have it, it is quite rare and I’ve never seen it, though I read just now it exists in Ann Arbor. I was just thinking the other day how useful it would be to pick up a beer in a drive-through instead of going in.

Anyway, most of the silly stuff is not existent here. Growing up, I had no idea there were grocery stores in other states that don’t sell alcohol. That must cut their profits massively.

Missouri (at least, St. Louis) was founded by French Catholics (with a late influx of Germans). You can buy alcohol anywhere.

There was a “no booze sales before noon on Sunday” law for a while, but I’m pretty sure that’s gone.