Sunday, December 05, 2010

On This Date In 1933, Prohibition Almost Ended

Why, I'll just nip out, buy a fifth at the liquor store and celebra- No? Can't? Okay, I'll pick up a nice bottle of wine at the grocer's* instead- Can't? Fine, I'll visit my neighborhood bar, then; it's too small for a kitchen, so I'll just have a quick cocktail and- What? Closed?

Yeah. But you can still purchase drink on the (Christian) Sabbath in Indiana. In restaurants and wineries, where you've got to drink it where you stand. Breweries can even sell you an actual growler of beer, which you can now, oh wonder of wonders, actually take home to consume. Or just gaze into, while you wonder what other dregs and vestiges of the smaller Grand Experiment plague citizens of other states.

What'd the nannies leave your state with? State-run liquor stores? Bizarre requirements about selling from different registers or even buildings, as though the stuff was radioactive? Did you ever try to get a drink when visiting Kansas? Didja end up with "Local Option?" (Not the only one but the best description I found). Does your state, like many with otherwise almost-sane liquor laws, ban the sale of alcohol on Christmas?

On this date in 1933, Prohibition "ended" in the United States. Kind of. It's enough to drive even me to drink -- but I durst not. Even one drink could put me over the BAC limit.
* They can -- and do -- sell the hard stuff at supermarkets here, too.


Midwest Chick said...

You just described Pennsylvania. For hard liquor and wine, you had to go to the one state store, for beer, there was another states store about a mile and a half away.

In North Carolina, there is the 'ABC Store' for hard liquor but you can get wine and beer at the grocery store.

rickn8or said...

Some Tennessee counties have laws which prohibit the sale of beer before noon on Sunday.

My guess is that the Baptists were tired of all the cold beer being gone when church let out.

TotC said...

Ah yes, Kansas, home of the 'club card' during my youth, my parents would decide they'd like a cocktail before their meal, would have to whip out a 'club card' which if the restaurant did it right, had agreements with others that allowed you to drink at those establishments honoring the card.

And I remember the gaggle of liquor stores on the Missouri side of state line road, all enticing the Kansans to come and sin on the sabbath.

Standard Mischief said...

I'm the grain alcohol "bootlegger" and "clandestine" maker of limoncello in the family. Most everyone else lives in Virgina (state run liquor stores that chose not carry the stuff) and Pennsylvania (odd quagmire of laws described above)

You really need the 190 proof stuff to make the full extraction. I then dilute it down to a more manageable 40%. For living in Maryland, I have to say I'm surprised it hasn't been outlawed yet.

I guess something we do have is no hard liquor on Sundays. I ran into this in my youth, and we just waited two more hours until it was 12:01 Monday morning to do the purchase (yep, open 24 hours). We also have no Sunday sales, but larger places can get around this by running a bar on the premise.

Next county over, all the liquor stores are county run - limited hours - crappy selection - government run efficiency.

David aka True Blue Sam said...

The beginning of Prohibition gave us some fun songs. They were probably written with drink in hand. Alcoholic Blues:
The Moon Shines On The Moonshine:
The Moon Shines is performed by Bert Williams, and i bet that he would have performed this on the stage at The Follies.

Roberta X said...

I must admit, it did wonders for music -- and fashion, too; in some odd conservation-of-whatever law, the corset stopped being required daily wear about the same time speakeasies went into full swing.

Drang said...

We were pretty sure the state owned and operated liquor store was going to go away this last election, but all the sheeple are convinced that, if it did, the grocery stores would be selling booze to 6 year olds. (Despite proof that the state operated stores regularly get busted for selling to minors, with no punishment; they are, after all, state regulated as well as operated...)

We have silly distribution laws, as well, which means that my favorite beer store must order through a distributor instead of directly from a brewery, so no ordering one case of whatever special brew it is you want to try out.

cybrus said...

I've been blogging about PA's insanity for a while now. Similar in many ways to what you describe here.

For a primer on PA's laws, check out:

perlhaqr said...

I think we might have a "no sales until noon on Sunday" law here in New Mexico, too, which is weird, since we're primarily Catholic rather than Protestant.

I recall being at a restaurant and being told I couldn't have my beer with lunch until noon. And since I was drinking beer at lunch, it was most likely a weekend. :)

John A said...

"Local Option."

As a teen I was a bit amused by a situation where an uncle lived.

Town A was "dry" as far as selling/buying, but allowed consumption by individuals who bought alcohol elsewhere. Town B was "wet." A restaurant straddled the town line. So it put the bar in town B and the dining room in town A: they would not serve drinks at table, but customers could fetch their own from the bar.

Oh, and Town A - the "dry" one - was nonetheless headquarters and a brew site for Carling beer. Go figure.

Old NFO said...

Blue laws... sigh... And dry counties and wet counties side by side!

Jeffro said...

Hey, hey, hey - ya just don't get it. All those prohibitive booze laws are there to stop alcoholism and drunk drivin' and all that bad stuff in it's tracks and they have done a wonderful job. Oh, wait.........


karrde said...

Well, Michigan's laws are a little funny. I think hard liquor is wholesaled through state-owned stores, but is available on retail shelves. (I think...I'll have to go looking.)

But there are rules against selling alcohol after 0200 hours in the morning, and before 0700 hours in the morning most weekdays...and also before 1200 on Sunday.

There is also a State tradition of having 'party stores' that are very heavy on alcohol, and sell token amounts of groceries. That might be a holdover from when alcohol licenses were only let out to special stores, before the State let alcohol be sold at general grocery locations.

But that's just a guess. I can't figure the business case for having separate stores that specialize in alcohol, and the law is pretty clear that ordinary grocery stores can sell alcohol.