Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Simple Pondering

In one of his posts today Jerry was left wondering about Virginia’s odd method of dispensing alchoholic libations to a paying public.

Someone needs to fill me in on the bizarre state liquor store system (ABC) here in Virginia. It's as if I fell asleep and woke up to find the Soviets had finally invaded and took over the local packaged hootch business.
Jerry, you travel quite a bit, as I once did. I learned quite quickly that there are no “normal” liquor laws. In Pennsylvania, if you want a six pack of beer to take back to the hotel room, you can’t buy it from the local Quick Stop. Beer is sold in case quantities only from “Beer Distributors”. Six packs “to go” may be purchased only from the local tavern. The “Hard Stuff” is only available from a State operated store similar to Virginia.

Maryland has a completely different set of laws for each county... Consequently, no one knows what’s legal there and what’s not.

In Utah, where the company I used to work for was based, you can buy 3.2 beer in supermarkets and convenience stores 7 days a week. Anything stronger has to come from a State owned store similar to Virginia and Pennsylvania. Even in the heart of Mormon Territory most restaraunts do serve mixed drinks and cocktails, but you must ask for them. The law prohibits your waiter or waitress from telling you that they are available. This makes for a twentyfirst century speakeasy type of atmosphere.

Several states, Oklahoma comes to mind, have a bizzare “Private Club” provision whereby a bar can proclaim itself a private club, charge a minimal “initiation fee”, (known elsewhere as a "cover charge") and operate much as any bar or tavern anywhere else.

Finally, there are the more “civilized ?” places like California, France, and New Jersey where most any grocery store can sell you a bottle of Bushmills along with your apples and cheddar cheese. (A nice McIntosh and a very sharp Cheddar along with a short glass of Bushmills being my favorite after dinner before bedtime snack.)

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