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February 9, 2003 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Today marks the first time in 84 years that citizens of Pennsylvania are allowed to buy alcohol on a Sunday. Of course, it's only at state-approved stores, and only in selected suburbs.
posted by mathowie (74 comments total)

 
I've never understood Blue Laws....including banning the sale of alcohol on Christmas Day. Whatever happened to the separation of church and state?

On a related note, I remember some 15 years ago or so stopping at a drugstore late one Christmas Eve to buy some last-minute stocking stuffers on my way to a party. Only one check-out was open, and the line literally reached down the aisle and to the back of the store. Turns out most everyone there was stocking up on hootch, since they couldn't buy it the next day.

The only other time I'd seen a liquor line like that was when I stopped by the drugstore at what turned out to be lunch break for the Chrysler plant across the street. Not only did the line stretch to the back of the store, the cashier also had a stack of styrofoam cups on the counter for the plant workers to pour their pints of cognac, rum, etc into.
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:41 AM on February 9, 2003


My sister lives south Harrisburg and when I visit her, she has to explain the laws everytime. Not that we want a kegger, but maybe just a six-pack with a pizza. Something about having to buy only cases at a time.

The last time I was down there, she was taking me down to the train station to go home and I remarked that I had not seen a liquor store there ever. She remarked that they are all over the place - 45 minutes this way, 35 minutes that way (if the highway wasn't backed up) etc.

Blue laws are indeed weird. Even here in NYC, no liquor or wine sales on Sundays. Although, everybody and their mother sells beer.
posted by lampshade at 8:47 AM on February 9, 2003


Will the fifth ring of hell...I mean, my home state of Connecticut, follow suit? We not only can't buy booze (even beer) on Sunday, we can't buy it after 8pm on weeknights. This always neccesitated drives over the new york border and of course an economic boon to lower westchester liquor stores and convenience shops.
posted by jonmc at 8:48 AM on February 9, 2003


From the article: I know, Sunday has always been perceived as a day for families, for God, for religion. But today, Sunday is the second biggest shopping day of the week.

I've always been against blue laws, but arguing that they should go away because shopping is more popular than family, God or religion just seems wrong.
posted by dchase at 9:04 AM on February 9, 2003


But remember when you had to buy your Cutty from an unsmiling clerk behind a sterile counter? A visit to a state Wine & Spirits store was as dehumanizing as getting your picture taken at the DMV.


Spending my summers as a youth in the 1970s in western PA I remember this well, it was just like you see of Soviet era grocery stores.

As a side note there are still counties in the USA that are dry where liquor sales are illegal 7 days a week.
posted by stbalbach at 9:04 AM on February 9, 2003


Cool... sorta. I guess it's better than the plan I heard about a while ago where all the state stores would "take turns" being open on Sundays (3rd Sunday of every month etc). Honestly, as someone living in Philly, I don't think this will change the way I buy booze much. I still have to go to a state run liquor store to get wine (like I'm sure you have to in many states). The selection still sucks. It's still way over priced. Booze should be in the grocery store, available for purchase 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at a reasonable price.
posted by password at 9:08 AM on February 9, 2003


What are the licensing hours like in America, or is it different all over. As you probably know, last orders are called at 11pm in England, later in Scotland.
posted by feelinglistless at 9:09 AM on February 9, 2003


Wow, America really is odd. No drinking till you're 21, no drinking on a Sunday...what else? No drinking on the fifth Thursday of March between 8:08:47 and 8:09:53...
posted by Orange Goblin at 9:15 AM on February 9, 2003


feelinglistless, it can vary from one city to the next, let alone state to state.

I don't see what the big fuss is in Pennsylvania, anyway. You can't buy liquor in Utah on Sundays either, and it's only sold in state stores. (Although I must admit it amuses me that the home of the Amish is now more liberal than the home of the Mormons.)

The Sunday closing that annoys me here is car dealerships. That's right, it's illegal to sell cars on Sundays in Utah. Try to figure that one out.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:19 AM on February 9, 2003


Beer and wine can be bought in grocery stores any day of the week. I believe that you can get it before 12 on sundays though, but that may vary from city to city. There are still plenty of dry towns here though, but the town that I grew up in, Beaulaville, recently stopped being dry. Which is good, because it was just silly, people would just drive to Pink Hill to get beer. All booze here is sold in ABC stores, and they are closed on sundays.
posted by corpse at 9:19 AM on February 9, 2003


The contrast to this may be found in New Orleans, where one may purchase vodka at a Rite Aid or a Chevron, 24 hours a day, any day.
posted by the fire you left me at 9:25 AM on February 9, 2003


For those who've never experienced the oddity of Pennsylvania, the liquor laws are very odd.

Wine and liquor must be purchased at the state run liquor stores. These stores are generally open until about 9 PM.

Beer can be purchased by the case at private beer distributors, or you can purchase a maximum of two sixpacks at a time from certain licensed bars and convenience stores. There's no alcohol sold at the supermarket.

Last call is at 2 AM.

Or you can do what I always used to do, and drive to New Jersey or Delaware for the improved selection and price, then illegally import it back into Pennsylvania. (it's illegal to bring out of state liquor into Pennsylvania)
posted by mosch at 9:48 AM on February 9, 2003


Here in Minnesota, the ongoing controversy is around wine in grocery stores. Regular grocery stores can only sell 3.2 (weak) beer, wine coolers, etc.--for an actual bottle of wine or regular beer you have to go to a liquor store. Luckily, we have a few good liquor stores that specialize in selling good wine, at least in the cities. But every year, there's a legislative push to let grocery stores sell wine. So far, the liquor store lobbyists have been winning. Oh, and no alcohol sales of any kind before noon on Sundays.

Very different from Chicago, where groceries have big stacked displays of Chivas next to the tomato sauce, or you can buy Bacardi at Walgreens.
posted by gimonca at 9:59 AM on February 9, 2003


The contrast to this may be found in New Orleans, where one may purchase vodka at a Rite Aid or a Chevron, 24 hours a day, any day.

Which explains, in a roundabout way, why I once broke an axle on Carondelet Street.
posted by muckster at 10:03 AM on February 9, 2003


As you probably know, last orders are called at 11pm in England, later in Scotland.

Maybe these people could be talked into delivering to Pennsylvania (or Utah).
posted by LeLiLo at 10:03 AM on February 9, 2003


the fire you left me, what about the drive-thru daiquiri shops in the New Orleans area? You know, for when you're hankerin' for a sweet high-octane beverage and can't be bothered to get out of the, um, car?
posted by djeo at 10:11 AM on February 9, 2003


Also, since we haven't heard from Carol Anne for awhile (I always thought of her as the reference librarian of the place), here's a page about why they're called blue laws.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:35 AM on February 9, 2003


[slightly off-topic] This reminds me of a hillsborough county court ruling here in Tampa that decided in 2001 the banning of lap dancing (which was instituted in 1999) unconstitutional.
posted by poopy at 10:47 AM on February 9, 2003


I just realized my post gives the wrong impression. I was trying to obliquely refer to the serious pothole situation in N.O., which was supposedly caused by the withholding of federal funds for roadwork because of the lax liquor laws.

Instead it sounds like I got trashed on Rite Aid vodka and tried to jump the streetcar tracks.
posted by muckster at 10:47 AM on February 9, 2003


In my area the blue laws prevent anything besides food and drugs from being sold on Sundays. I think they have gotten a little more lenient now as most stores will sell everything after 1 pm on Sundays. The oddest thing is in the local Super Walmart they actually rope off the entire store (except for the grocery section) until 1pm. You cannot sell liquor any day after 7 pm. But midnight on Saturday night you cannot sell beer again until sun up on Monday. That includes bars. To skirt that some bars become so called members only private clubs.

I have always wondered why someone of a faith that doesnt observe sabbath on Sundays did not challenge those laws.
posted by SweetIceT at 10:58 AM on February 9, 2003


I recently moved to Madison, WI, from Cookeville, TN. Christ almighty, it's like being in heaven. Cookeville (home of Tennessee Tech University, where I did my undergrad work) is in Putnam County, which is a dry county - only beer sales are allowed (except for liquor by the drink). Any wine or hard liquor hankerings required a trip to scenic Gainesboro, a 20+ minute drive away. The first time I went into a Madison grocery store and saw wine stretching as far as the eye could see, I almost cried.

Of course, alcohol sales are illegal after 9:00 p.m. in Madison, but that's no big deal; I generally plan ahead with my alcohol purchases anyway.
posted by UKnowForKids at 11:08 AM on February 9, 2003


I don't see what the big fuss is in Pennsylvania, anyway. You can't buy liquor in Utah on Sundays either, and it's only sold in state stores.

Which was exactly the situation here until today. Of course, this won't help me any where I am at the moment, out in the north-central PA sticks. The nearest state store is more than an hour away and isn't on the Sunday opening list. There's a beer distributor 45 minutes away but all I'm ever interested in is wine, varieties of which that I like I'm not likely to find in the state run booze monopoly, though they will special order from what I hear. I just illegally import like everybody else in the state whose tastes run slightly beyond stuff that's $4 a bottle or comes in a - gag - box.

The situation will be better when we're back in Pittsburgh. Unlike Philly, there are a couple of non-suburban stores that will have Sunday hours, incuding a couple in distinctly blue-collar and in one case, largely minority areas. No booze favoritism on the western side of the state.

(Although I must admit it amuses me that the home of the Amish is now more liberal than the home of the Mormons.)

Apples and oranges. Amish don't run for office, and in most of Pennsylvania, you'd have to go looking for Amish, unlike Utah where I'm pretty sure that swinging a dead cat in many public places would only have a small chance of not hitting an LDS adherent.

In truth of the matter, the biggest obstacle to getting Sunday sales going here in PA (and in fact, to privatizing liquor sales which no one with any sense thinks should be the business of the state government) hasn't been religious objection, but labor union objection. Even yesterday, the union which "represents" state store employees staged protests in several locations because their employees dislike the idea of having an additional day in which they can earn money.

I have always wondered why someone of a faith that doesnt observe sabbath on Sundays did not challenge those laws.

It's been thought about. Here in Pennsylvania, again, adherents to a Saturday sabbath are forced to take a day off of work if they wish to purchase a car. Well, they are in the Pittsburgh area where the majority of car dealerships are only open late in the evenings on select nights of the week, and the finance staff goes home at 5. There was some talk of lobbying the state legislature to change this law but it was nixed when an informal poll of car dealers found that they weren't likely to open on Sundays even if the law had changed, because they didn't anticipate enough business.
posted by Dreama at 11:15 AM on February 9, 2003


As a lifetime Californian, I'm surprised by blue laws and I had no idea it was still so widespread, which is why I posted it. You can buy any liquor, wine, and/or beer at any supermarket in California. Everything is open 7 days a week, including car dealers. Last call is 2am, and the only evidence of a blue law is you can't buy liquor between 2am and 6am, but that's never been a problem for me (you can buy whatever you want during the other 20 hours of a day).

I think it's another case of the "small government" folks clashing with religious puritianism in their midst.
posted by mathowie at 11:30 AM on February 9, 2003


I'm not a religious person. Not one bit. Why should these arbitrary laws based on millennia-old fairy tales apply to me at all? Shouldn't there be an atheist exemption or something?

"No, sir, I don't believe in a Deity. Now to be handing over the whiskey, so I can drink away that infinite void barreling towards me, please."
posted by majcher at 11:39 AM on February 9, 2003


In Hawaii, they stop selling alcohol in stores at midnight but bars can stay open serving alcohol until four. This has puzzled me for some time.
posted by snez at 11:50 AM on February 9, 2003


Virginia's laws aren't much better. State run liquor stores are the only place you can buy the hard stuff. No alcohol sales after midnight and the state stores close at 6PM in many areas. They're not open on Sundays at all.

In the town I live in, we're lucky. The Potomac River is Maryland, so, there's a bar/OTB/liquor store built over the water that sells to Maryland's laws. And they are a lot cheaper due to the insane amount of alcohol tax in VA.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:53 AM on February 9, 2003


UKnowForKids: conversely, I moved from Michigan to Wisconsin four years ago (first Green Bay, now Madison) and was shocked to discover the post-9PM ban. Some friends came to visit a few months after I moved and we went to three closed liquor stores before realizing that something might be up. Now, every time I go back to Michigan it seems so liberating to see shelves full of booze in the pop aisle.
posted by aaronetc at 12:03 PM on February 9, 2003


A grocery store in Cambridge, MA (yes, one of the most liberal states in the USA has blue laws) would wrap their wine and beer shelves in nets on Sunday. When I first moved there from Maryland I'd go reaching for a six pack only to fall for the trap. A fine catch it was too. /pirate voice

(They do have some Sunday exceptions now but I have forgotten what they are. Super Bowl Sunday maybe?)

Strangely, in France, where beer and wine are rightly considered food, most stores are closed Sundays and food stores will be open typically only on Sunday mornings. Mondays are also bad days for shopping and once one becomes accustomed to this, it is no big deal. Requires a bit of planning yes, but yields greater satisfaction in the end and appreciation for the small shop butcher who really deserves that one day off instead of being replaced by mindless butcher-like men working for a chain who could probably not tell you from where the meat they are hacking-up originated. Man, am I way off topic or what?

Times are changing though -- more and more stores are open Sundays. The preferred Sunday is still the big lunch with family and then a movie (with commercials of course) after.

posted by Dick Paris at 12:13 PM on February 9, 2003


When I used to live in Mexico, all alcohol, beer, etc. sales (even at bars and restaurants) were forbidden the day before, day of, and day after all elections. I could only imagine that as a very old law based on logic that may have even been strange at the time.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:30 PM on February 9, 2003


Instead it sounds like I got trashed on Rite Aid vodka and tried to jump the streetcar tracks

You wouldn't be the first.
posted by the fire you left me at 12:42 PM on February 9, 2003


I went to college in North Dakota (where blue laws are very intact) in the early '90s. There was an even bigger controversy at the time: repealing the law that forbid shopping of any kind on Sunday. (Only convenience stores and grocery stores could be open. Retail was forbidden, and the mall was verboten. I kid you not.) The headline of one of the daily papers the day that the law was finally repealed:
North Dakota: The Last Bastion of Civilization?
posted by rex at 1:15 PM on February 9, 2003


Here in Minnesota, the ongoing controversy is around wine in grocery stores. Regular grocery stores can only sell 3.2 (weak) beer

What's weak beer? 3.2 alc. is pretty goshdarned weak.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 1:18 PM on February 9, 2003


_sirmissalot_, 3.2 beer is like "half-strength" beer. I believe that it came about in prohibition or right after. Look, on most of your beers (here in the US) have a little tiny "OK+" on them. That means it would have to be sold in a liquor store in Oklahoma (my previous home with much worse liquor laws than PA) and apparently Minnesota as well.
posted by password at 1:29 PM on February 9, 2003


Sorry about my poor grammar. It's a product of growing up on 3.2 beer.
posted by password at 1:31 PM on February 9, 2003


Sipping a glass of Hess Select 1999 Cabernet right now, which I just bought at the (strangely empty) Wine & Spirits Shop(pe) down the road. Congratulations, Pennsylvania. Life here just got just a little bit better.

People were actually standing outside some state stores protesting. I don't really understand that.
posted by drinkcoffee at 2:31 PM on February 9, 2003


UKnowForKids, I thought I was the only one who went to TN Tech. You should have seen it ten years ago. They didn't even have liquor by the drink back then. Totally dry. Then Applebee's started a "campaign" (aka, get the mayor and counselmen drunk) and there you go.
posted by goto11 at 2:58 PM on February 9, 2003


I'm a native Memphian and constantly embarrassed by my State's bible-beating baptist blue laws. It's nice to be reminded that there are other places just as backwards.

Shoutouts to goto11 and UKnowForKids, my fellow Tennesseans.
posted by charlesv at 3:26 PM on February 9, 2003


goto11 (nice username, by the way): Not to turn this into a chatroom, of course, but liquor by the drink passed just a year or two before I got there, and I reaped the benefits (read: scads of chain restaurants) when I got there in 1996.

TTU's campus is, theoretically, a dry one (i.e. zero alcohol allowed anywhere). On the other hand, my graduate department at UW-Madison had a keg at our welcoming party (on the seventh floor of Helen C. White Hall) when I arrived - that's when I knew I was in the right place.
posted by UKnowForKids at 3:33 PM on February 9, 2003


Probably worth pointing out that it isn't just the US with stoopid liquor laws. In Ontario you can only get liquor at state-run LCBO stores and beer at LCBO's or the cleverly named The Beer Store.

Then there's here... oy. Denton County (TX) is dry, period. BUT cities within Denton County get to set their own rules. So the City of Denton is, well, damp. Or moist. You can get beer and wine in grocery stores, but can only get liquor at bars who pretend to be "private clubs." And Lake Dallas, a couple stops down the Interstate, is full-on wet complete with cheap tacky liquor stores.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:00 PM on February 9, 2003


Here in oregon, you can have a doctor help you off yourself, but if it's a sunday he can't buy you a drink.
posted by woil at 4:12 PM on February 9, 2003


We've got the typical weird situation in SC, where the state licensing says that hard liquor may be sold only from sunup to sundown (!) and there are no liquor/beer/wine sales in stores on Sunday. Liquor/beer/wine by the drink is permissible on Sunday if the establishment wants to buy a special, prohibitively expensive license from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (aka "The Mothers of Prevention). I think we're the last state in the nation to sell liquor by the drink exclusively in minibottles, which means you're getting a fairly stiff drink and there's little chance of the booze being watered down, but it's kind of inconvenient for establishments and keeps the cost artificially inflated. Even so, my mother-in-law tells me it's still cheaper to have a drink while dining out here than it was in PA.

Just in case anybody cared...
posted by alumshubby at 5:30 PM on February 9, 2003


They do have some Sunday exceptions now but I have forgotten what they are. Super Bowl Sunday maybe?

Massachusetts allows the sale of liquor on Sundays only between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. The more assinine exception is that liquor stores within 10 miles of the New Hampshire border are allowed to open on Sunday year 'round to counter the economic loss of Sunday booze runs to New Hampshire. However, if your store is 11 miles away from the border, you can't open and your competitor across town gets an extra day of revenue partially at your expense.

New Hampshire loves to draw consumers from neighboring states-- they also have no sales tax (and pretty shitty schools consequently) and allow the sale of stuff that's banned by their neighbors like fireworks and (I think) heroin.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:53 PM on February 9, 2003


This week a Fulton County judge declared Georgia's blue laws unconstitutional, allowing bars in Atlanta to open on Sundays. Coincidentally, the NBA All-Star Game played in Atlanta this weekend.
posted by mischief at 6:12 PM on February 9, 2003


In Nebraska, the liquor situation is...odd. You can buy beer in the grocery store, but if you want to get anything harder, you generally have to go to a separate area of the store. They prefer you buy your booze in that area, but you can take it out and buy it along with the rest of your food. No liquor sales before noon on Sundays.

It's still pretty easy to get, though. It's been an adjustment for me since moving to Delaware to have to get it from an actual liquor store (before I lived in Nebraska, I lived in Michigan, where, as someone mentioned, the alcohol generally lives quite near the pop). I don't think you can buy on Sundays here at all.
posted by eilatan at 6:25 PM on February 9, 2003


Last call is 2am, and the only evidence of a blue law is you can't buy liquor between 2am and 6am, but that's never been a problem for me

I don't really understand that either, and even in New York no booze is sold before 12 noon on Sunday.

Why limit alcohol sales between 2 and 6? Are those magic hours? Some states stop sales between 11 and 5 am. Open container laws are peculiar too, if you asked me.

It may be a bit unfair to blame conservatives because of "religious puritanism" in their midst, because those laws vary and are subject to the desires of citizens in each state.

I just can't see a Senator running on the "sell beer after midnight" platform, or people demonstrating for "Sunday morning swill", but it could happen.

I can assure you that in conservative Korea, not an hour passes in the day or night where one cannot procure the stuff unrestrictedly, even though Korean Christians are estimated at around half the population. Interesting.
posted by hama7 at 6:35 PM on February 9, 2003


I grew up in California, and was used to going to the supermarket for everything. Bag of chips, toilet paper, bottle of tequila. Now that I am in Colorado I still have a hard time getting used to the blue laws here. I have to go to a liquor store for anything stronger than 3.2 beer, and i've got to make sure all my booze needs are met for Sunday otherwise I am SOL, or hang out in a bar. Heck, you can't even buy a car on Sundays here.
posted by Eekacat at 7:25 PM on February 9, 2003


Massachusetts allows the sale of liquor on Sundays only between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. The more assinine exception is that liquor stores within 10 miles of the New Hampshire border are allowed to open on Sunday year 'round to counter the economic loss of Sunday booze runs to New Hampshire. However, if your store is 11 miles away from the border, you can't open and your competitor across town gets an extra day of revenue partially at your expense.

This is no longer true. Massachusetts repealed this particular blue law in the recent past, and now each municipality may decide whether to allow Sunday sales or not. Some do, some don't. I live in a town much more than 10 miles from the N.H. border which does allow liquor sales. The next town north (arguably closer to NH than mine) does not.
posted by briank at 7:31 PM on February 9, 2003


In New Hampshire, you can buy liquor at the state liquor store right smack dab on the highway. Pull off I-93, pick your poison, choose from the assorted mixers proffered in the rest stop-standard vending machines, and don't spill as you merge back into traffic!

Live Free or Die, indeed.
posted by sacre_bleu at 7:49 PM on February 9, 2003


This is no longer true. Massachusetts repealed this particular blue law in the recent past, and now each municipality may decide whether to allow Sunday sales or not.

And why wasn't I informed of this? I've been spending my Sundays sober like an idiot!
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:52 PM on February 9, 2003


Minnesota has 3.2 beer and 3.2 bars, little cheapie places that typically have old wood paneling and flimsy furnishings, where the poor owner has to try and make a living by selling insane quantities of 3.2 beer--the only alcohol they're licensed to sell--to blubbery guys who've fattened up by habitually getting drunk on, yes, massive amounts of 3.2 beer. The restrooms tend to be busy.

Yes, any beer over 3.2 (most beers made in the world, actually) has to be sold in a liquor store here. And like I say, we do have a selection of liquor store owners that take pride in their profession and offer a good range of interesting products, so it's not quite that bad. It would be nice to be able to buy wine with groceries, though.

Liquor Licensing in Minnesota

Minnesota
Dept. of Public Safety Liquor License Database
--find a bar or liquor store near you--courtesy state law enforcement!
posted by gimonca at 8:25 PM on February 9, 2003


Probably worth pointing out that it isn't just the US with stoopid liquor laws. In Ontario you can only get liquor at state-run LCBO stores and beer at LCBO's or the cleverly named The Beer Store.

so the frik what...? how is that a restriction to the consumer...? they're on nearly every corner, open late plus sundays. hardly falls into the same category as these demented "blue laws".
posted by t r a c y at 8:30 PM on February 9, 2003


so the frik what...? how is that a restriction to the consumer...?

I should think that's transparently obvious. There's only one store, and if it doesn't stock what you want, you're screwed. You can't just drive across town to some other store to find some weird Swiss eisbier or the particular kind of aguardiente that you're looking for.

they're on nearly every corner, open late plus sundays.

I'm only actually familiar with the LCBO near Yonge and Davisville, which was the only walkable-with-beer one to my schnookie's place in Toronto. It closed at some stupidly early time like 10... yah, googling reveals that it closes at ten, as do the The Beer Stores I brought up easily.

Ten isn't late in my book, nor is midnight. "Open late" meant that if we ran out of beer at 1:30 or 2 we could send someone sober to Kroger or Giant for a few cases of Schlitz.

Which isn't the same as the really weird laws you'll find, but is still pretty restrictive. If it closes before people are done getting drunk, it's restrictive.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:22 PM on February 9, 2003


Forget alcohol, the one that's always annoyed me are places where you can't buy a car on the weekends. You realize what a pain in the neck it is to try to buy a car in a place where you have to do it on a weekday? Although I suppose one plus is that you don't get hassled by salespeople if you choose to look around the lots on a weekend (not quite as usefull now that many places list their inventories on the web).

I could have sworn Michigan didn't allow alcohol sales at least part of sunday when I first moved here 12 years ago, but they seem to now. Don't know when that changed.
posted by piper28 at 10:58 PM on February 9, 2003


Now I understand why my dad left his hometown (Philly) and raised his family in Southern California. Thanks Dad, and thank you, too, Jim Beam. I did sometimes feel sorry for him, living in Orange County but not being able to say "orange" like us.
posted by planetkyoto at 11:48 PM on February 9, 2003


If it closes before people are done getting drunk, it's restrictive.

i guess i unfairly made a distinction between ordinary shopper who's able to plan ahead and the drunken partier roaming the streets at 3am looking for another shot 8-) and what sort of exotic hooch are you consuming that can't be found at the lcbo/beer store...? i've never been unable to find what i need... but my conservative tastes (jameson whiskey, labatt classic, grolsch) are probably cheating me out of some kind of fun. my boyfriend is mr. beers-of-the-world mind you and hasn't had any probs finding even the most obscure brew.
posted by t r a c y at 11:53 PM on February 9, 2003


ROU_Xenophobe: "Send someone sober to Kroger or Giant"?

Dial-a-beer, (403)249-1136. They deliver late. Dunno how late, but at least 2:00 am. (Which is when the last liquor stores here--Calgary, Alberta, that is--close, and when yr frndly nbrhd tarbender says those (un)magic words, "Last call.")

Which words always provoke an entirely uncalled-for George Thorogood impression in me. "The clock on the wall says three o'clock/ Last call... for ALCOHOL! A one bourbon, one scotch, and one bee-ah!" 'tain't a pretty hour, that 2:00 am.
posted by arto at 11:56 PM on February 9, 2003


what sort of exotic hooch are you consuming that can't be found at the lcbo/beer store...?

Any number of American micro/small brews -- Yuengling, Rogue, blah blah blah. Again, the only place we could get to and from was the LCBO at Yonge and Davisville; mayhap there are others what are bigger and more selection-having, but if LCBO doesn't want to import it, you're screwed.

arto: Kroger and Giant are grocery stores. Alberta != Ontario last I looked, but beer delivery is cool.

Liquor laws get really weird out west where it depends on state or maybe even locality, and *then* on whether or not you're on a reservation (which are often dry).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:03 AM on February 10, 2003


Liquor laws in Indiana, when I was a tyke, prevented liquor stores from using the actual name of alcohol products in signage. So you had those plastic letter signs outside reading: "King of Beers -- 9.99/case" (Bud) or "Hd 4 Mountains - $9.99/case" (Busch). Asinine.

My buds and I had a crude but effective method of getting around the ban on Sunday beer sales: We'd buy "hypothetical beer." You go in the 7-11 on Sunday, and grab a case out of the Forbidden Cooler. Bring it to the counter, and say, "if we could legally buy beer today, although we know we can't, HYPOTHETICALLY, how much would this case be?"

"$9.99."

You throw a 10 on the counter and walk out while the cashier tries to figure out what branch of law enforcement handles blue law violations. The God Squad?
posted by luser at 3:06 AM on February 10, 2003


State run liquor stores? No beer on Sundays? What fresh lunacy is this?

Crumbs, you sound like you're in need of a trip down under. 24 hour bottle shops, all boozin, all the time.
(although not in my state, dagnabbit!). Still, even in 'backward' Queensland, where you can't buy hooch at the 7-11 or supermarket, it's easy to find bottlo's open till 11pm, seven days a week.

On the other hand - $9.99 for a 'case' of beer. Do you mean 24 bottles for $10.00? Oh my...
posted by backOfYourMind at 4:40 AM on February 10, 2003


PUBLIC NOTICE: The State of Pennsylvania will be closed today, Monday February 10th, due to killer hangover. If you have any business to conduct, please do it in Delaware. Quietly.
posted by jfuller at 6:26 AM on February 10, 2003 [1 favorite]


I'm not a religious person. Not one bit. Why should these arbitrary laws based on millennia-old fairy tales apply to me at all? Shouldn't there be an atheist exemption or something?

I live next to a town that has banned the sale of any alcohol. The interesting thing is this is not some old law that has been on the books since puritan times. The citizens of this town vote (every election time I believe) to continue to keep the town dry.

You may or may not agree with the idea, but if the majority of citizens vote to keep alcohol out of their community, shouldn't they be allowed to do so? The only time a majority vote is unlawful is if it violates the constitutional rights of somebody.

Many voices on this website think it's ok to ban or restrict smoking in a city. If that is 'acceptable' why isn't banning or restricting the sale of alcohol also 'acceptable'?
posted by jsonic at 7:27 AM on February 10, 2003


By 'keep alcohol out of their community' i meant 'keep the sale of alcohol our of their community'.
posted by jsonic at 7:31 AM on February 10, 2003


I read this as "Citizens of Transylvania...blah blah..." and was disappointed to find the story was actually about PA. Get with it, folks: The blood-alcohol-content of vampires on any given Sunday would be much more interesting.
posted by Shane at 7:31 AM on February 10, 2003


You may or may not agree with the idea, but if the majority of citizens vote to keep x out of their community, shouldn't they be allowed to do so? The only time a majority vote is unlawful is if it violates the constitutional rights of somebody.

I hear driving is a privilege, not a right. How 'bout we ban driving on a Sunday?

(admitted snark, esp. since I know that implicates a constitutionally protected right, but still... ever hear of "tyranny of the majority?")

I add my voice to those bitter about Minnesota drinking laws.
posted by norm at 7:43 AM on February 10, 2003


(admitted snark, esp. since I know that implicates a constitutionally protected right, but still... ever hear of "tyranny of the majority?")

Welcome to our governmental system. Anything not expressly covered in the Constitution is left up to the people to decide.

I hear driving is a privilege, not a right. How 'bout we ban driving on a Sunday?

I could definitely see citizens of a crowded city voting to ban automobiles for pollution and noise reasons. But once again, this decision is made by voting.
posted by jsonic at 7:51 AM on February 10, 2003


You may or may not agree with the idea, but if the majority of citizens vote to keep alcohol out of their community, shouldn't they be allowed to do so? The only time a majority vote is unlawful is if it violates the constitutional rights of somebody.

This logic only works if the converse is also true. What if the majority of citizens vote to allow something that is currently illegal. Cannabis is an obvious candidate here. To what extent should laws be local?
posted by salmacis at 8:51 AM on February 10, 2003


This logic only works if the converse is also true. What if the majority of citizens vote to allow something that is currently illegal

I agree. As long as the item being voted on would not violate the constitutional rights of someone, then it's up to the people to decide.

Of course, making something currently illegal into something legal would probably require state, and maybe national legislation. IANAL.
posted by jsonic at 9:18 AM on February 10, 2003


My parents live outside of Philly. They buy beer by the case at beer distro stores, same as where bars/restaurants buy them. These stores are only open 9-5. Bars are also permitted to sell 12-packs. That was hard to get used to. I've never seen beer or wine sold from a grocery stores. Only LCB stores.
posted by rschram at 11:30 AM on February 10, 2003


rschram: go to New Mexico or Arizona, where you'll find vodka in the grocery store and miniatures in convenience stores, yeehaw.

And BTW: Ned Flanders drinks beer. We've seen him drink beer with Homer, and it's established that he has a kegerator in his basement rec room.... at least he did until his house was blown down and his wife killed. I dunno that he still does. D'oh!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:07 PM on February 10, 2003


what sort of exotic hooch are you consuming that can't be found at the lcbo/beer store...?

Any number of American micro/small brews -- Yuengling, Rogue, blah blah blah.


Seeing the name "Yuengling" as an answer to a question about "exotic hooch" is a hoot for me. As far as brewery sizes go, Yuengling is HUGE now compared to just a few years ago - I'm not sure what the status is of the new plant they are building here in PA but they purchased a large brewery in Florida also. They certainly aren't a megabrew yet but compared to some years back when they had to cease shipping outside of the state due to their inability to keep up with the demand (there was a point when we had trouble getting it, and I only live 35 miles from the brewery!)

Of course, the supply of Upper Canadian Rebellion is a bit thin around these parts...
posted by RevGreg at 1:45 PM on February 10, 2003


rschram: go to New Mexico or Arizona,

Or, California. As I do now. Can't get "Yuengling" though. Mmm.
posted by rschram at 7:38 PM on February 10, 2003


Yeah, it's pretty funny to see Yeungling held up as an example of a microbrew. When I was in college in Pennsylvania, they were about a half-step above Genesee Cream Ale as good cheap college student beer.

Scary to me that to this day, lo! these many years since graduating college, I can practically recite the insane Pennsylvania liquor laws chapter-and-verse.
posted by geneablogy at 8:16 PM on February 10, 2003


even in New York no booze is sold before 12 noon on Sunday.

even in new york, liquor stores are closed on sunday. After 12 restaurants can serve alcohol (very few brunches bother to start before noon, consequently) but wine and liquor are not available. Beer & wine coolers you can get in grocery stores - I think up to 6% or thereabouts. Liquor stores are also closed on christmas (as opposed to thanksgiving, when they are always open until 3ish for last minute let's-bring-a-bottle-of-wine people, of whom there are always plenty.)
posted by mdn at 9:47 PM on February 10, 2003


Try going to college in Indiana...and turning 21 on a Sunday. I had to go to Michigan to buy my first legal beer.
posted by MeetMegan at 1:05 PM on February 11, 2003


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