“The Field Guide to Drinking in America” Reveals All
The Good Ole’ U.S. of A. has some very strange laws. In North Carolina, bingo games can last no more than five hours in certain organizations. Idaho is the only state that has declared cannibalism to be illegal. And, the California health code prohibits the eating of a frog that dies in a frog-jumping contest (Calaveras County is home to the famous Frog Jumping Jubilee.) If you think these laws are strange, then you’ll love the liquor laws and stories offered up in “The Field Guide to Drinking in America” (publication date: April 2015.)
Author Niki Ganong has collected some of the oddest booze rules enacted by our glorious, beer-chugging, wine-sipping, spirits-loving (or not so loving, as the case may be) country. The idea for the book was born of the fact that Ganong lives in a “control” state, which means that the state has a monopoly on some or all the liquor sales. What’s her favorite law she discovered?
“It might be the easy choice, but I am fascinated by Utah’s ‘zion’ curtain”,” she says.
“In restaurants, cocktails may be served, but may not be made in front of customers. The end result is that drinks must be made behind a partition with this hilarious moniker.” (Utah-ites also have a sense of humor. The state’s Polygamy Porter advertises with the line “Why have just one?”)
Below are some of the book’s most intriguing and absurd laws and facts:
Alabama — In an effort to kick start their flailing economies, Montgomery and Mobile have created “Entertainment Districts” where you can drink while walking along the street, much like New Orleans.
Arizona — When you go to the “Drive Through” in Arizona, it could just as easily be a liquor store as a McDonalds.
Colorado — Don’t beg for booze in this state. It’s illegal. Even if you say please.
Florida — You can’t buy anything larger than a magnum (equal to two bottles) of Champagne in Florida. Methuselahs, Balthazars, Nebuchadnezzers — anything larger than two-bottles worth is illegal.
Hawaii — Prohibition started on the islands long before it did Stateside. King Kamehameha deemed alcohol “taboo” in 1818. No chance of getting a Lama pa’ipa’i back then.
Iowa — During Prohibition, the entire town of Templeton participated in the illegal production of Templeton Rye. There was even a still in the church basement.
Kansas — We can thank Kansas for human cyclone Carrie Nation, the crotchety anti-booze crusader known for using everything from rocks to axes when destroying bars and the liquor they stocked. She put the “Temper” in Temperance.
Louisiana — Along with the “Go Cup” for which it is famous, New Orleans is also the home base of Cordina, which packages the Mar-Go-Rita and Daiq-Go-Ri in what are basically kids’ juice pouches. The White House called founder Craig Cordes one of their 2011 “Champions of Change.”
Minnesota — Stearns County made tons of moonshine during Prohibition. Called “Minnesota 13”, it was the only “branded” moonshine made during those years and its fame spread due to distribution through Al Capone’s various channels.
New Hampshire – In 2012, the lawmakers passed a “common sense measure” allowing beer to be sold at farmer’s markets. Give me a six-pack with those apples, will ya?
New Jersey — Don’t expect to get a personalized license plate, if you’ve been convicted of drunk driving in Joisey.
Tennessee — Created in the state that Elvis called home, Mountain Dew was once marketed as “zero proof hillbilly moonshine” and the bottle sported the image of Willy the Hillbilly.
Wyoming — Before 1942, you could ride your horse up to the bar in Casper and order him a drink. Hi ho, Silver!