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Washington’s wacky booze regulation still on the books a century after Prohibition

UPDATED: Sun., Oct. 27, 2019

Wine and beer are seen at Terra Blanca’s tasting room in downtown Spokane on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (Don  Chareunsy / The Spokesman-Review)
Wine and beer are seen at Terra Blanca’s tasting room in downtown Spokane on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (Don Chareunsy / The Spokesman-Review)

Monday marks 100 years since Congress passed the 18th Amendment that started Prohibition, which banned the production, import, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States.

It was a dark, dark day, and we’re not talking about dark beer. Anyway, liquor distributor Drizly has compiled a list of 10 of the most bizarre state alcohol regulations, and Washington made the list. In fact, the law is still in effect today. Do you know it?

From beer and soup brewing to wine and tea cups, here is Drizly’s list of 10 wackiest city and state laws, all of which, except for two, are technically still in effect (notes by yours truly in italics):

    Washington, D.C.: Santa Claus may not be used to sell alcohol. Happy holidays!

    Nebraska: Bar owners must simultaneously brew soup if they are selling beer (repealed). Who’s hungry for Cougar Gold beer cheese soup now? Go, Cougs!

    Kansas: It is illegal to serve wine in a tea cup (repealed). This is legitimate and should still be in effect. Wine in a tea cup? Déclassé!

    North Carolina: Alcohol service at a bingo game is not allowed. B-i-n-g … wait, what’s the next letter? Binge?

    Tennessee: Bar owners are not allowed to let patrons make loud or unusual noises. Bar owner, not brothel owner.

    Connecticut: Town records cannot be kept where liquor is sold. Exclusions include City Hall, the mayor’s office and the newspaper. Just kidding.

    Oklahoma: If a beer is more than 4% alcohol, it must be sold at room temperature. Huh? Math is difficult.

    Washington: It is against the law to destroy a beer bottle or cask. Except in Spokane. Go, Zags! Just kidding. About Spokane, not the Zags.

    Idaho: Only 1 in every 1,500 people is allowed a liquor license. So that’s three licenses total in the state.

    New York City: Law enforcement employees are prohibited from holding liquor licenses. Unless they’re off duty. Just kidding.

Editor’s note: I’ll be here all week. If you don’t appreciate my humor, I don’t care because I’m enjoying a glass, er, bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc right now.

Drizly, which operates across the United States and Canada, sells booze via the internet and thusly knows all about city and state alcohol regulations.

“As pioneers of adult beverage e-commerce, we treat regulations with the utmost seriousness. The 100th anniversary of Prohibition got us to thinking about what still might be on the books and see how far we’ve come since then,” Jaci Flug, Drizly’s vice president for regulatory and industry affairs, said in a news release.

“There is real legitimacy to some of these seemingly out-there laws. It does make you wonder if temperance advocates would have ever imagined tapping on a piece of glass to get their favorite libation delivered in under an hour. Highly unlikely, but fortunately, we’ve come a long way in protecting consumers and providing the convenience they’re seeking.”

Now that’s worth celebrating. Salud!

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