To which we do not yet aspire

Tam’s commentary on Hoosier hootch laws:

Indiana’s liquor laws are pretty good. You can go to the grocery store or the Walgreen’s and grab a bottle of Jack Daniels off the shelf with less drama than it takes to buy Sudafed, for which you must carry a token to the pharmacist and sign a log and stuff because meth.

About the only notable laws are the prohibition on the sale of alcohol for off-premises consumption on Sundays (with the exception of beer purchased at the craft brewery) and the somewhat unusual prohibition of the sale of cold beer at grocery stores, convenience stores, and drug stores. You can sell chilled white wine in these places, but cold malt beverages are right out. Like any time there’s a weird law in Indiana, I blame John Dillinger.

There’s a good run-up to repealing this law pretty much every legislative session these days, but the state liquor store association, who has the monopoly on cold beer sales, defends their iron rice bowl tenaciously with lobbying and campaign contributions.

Which reminded me of my commentary on State Question 792 last November:

I side with the Tulsa World: “Oklahoma has struggled with alcohol laws throughout its history. Advancements have been made, such as liquor-by-the-drink, but the state’s laws concerning who could and couldn’t sell wine and cold, strong beer have remained archaic. We don’t believe that is what most Oklahomans want.” Not that you can get liquor by the drink everywhere in this state; we have something called county option, though no county is permitted to be completely dry. Almost every alcohol law in this state is the result of resplitting previously split hairs, and this is no exception.

And should some enterprising firm in this state find a legal workaround, as one did in Indiana — but no, you’ll have to read Tam’s tale for that one.


  1. fillyjonk »

    4 April 2017 · 1:57 pm

    I always get startled up at my parents when I walk into the Walgreen’s up there and there’s an entire aisle of hard liquor.

    Sometimes I wonder if the barrier to us getting better grocery stores here is the fact that low-point cold beer and Boone’s Farm crap is mostly the alcohol allowed to be sold. (I have no idea if the profit margin on grocery-store hooch is comparable to what it is in restaurants, but I understand that a lot of restaurants stay afloat on the basis of bar sales.)

    I don’t drink it but I do cook with it and I hate having to walk into one of our creepy liquor stores (why they have to be creepy, I don’t know) to get a bottle of sherry to add to a chowder.

  2. McG »

    4 April 2017 · 3:24 pm

    I was startled when my first grocery store visit in Fairbanks showed me a completely separate little store-within-a-store for (IIRC) wine and liquor. In California you could buy Everclear from the main sales floor at Safeway, if they carried it.

    And as I’ve complained before, “package stores” that sell hard liquor can only be found in my county in one town, on the far side of the county. So I do my hooch shopping across the line in Fulton County.

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