Laws governing the where-fors and how-tos of alcohol consumption have been around pretty much since mankind started brewing, distilling and smuggling booze into stadiums. And while many of these statutes are sensible, others run the gamut from pointless to positively peculiar. In honor of the last two weeks of summer—and its accompanying sloshed-ness—here’s our list of the 21 weirdest beer and liquor laws on the books ranked, roughly, from kinda weird to unfathomably weird. Make sure to keep it on hand to stay out of trouble next time you travel. Cheers!
21. In Colorado, it’s illegal to ride a horse while drunk. RUIs are now at an all-time low in the Rockies.
20. Happy Hour is illegal in Massachusetts. In the birthplace of Ted Kennedy? Surely you jest.
18. In Alabama, it’s illegal to buy any alcoholic beverages by telephone, fax or e-mail. Thankfully, ordering booze via AOL Instant Messenger has yet to be outlawed.
17. The Encyclopedia Britannica is illegal in Texas because it contains home-brew recipes. This pretty much explains the Bush administration.
16. In Nyala, Nevada, you can’t order drinks for more than three people other than yourself at any one period of the day. In other words, if you offer to buy a round for the bar, there’s a 100 percent chance someone will glare and say, “You’re not from around here, are you?”
14. Anyone under the age of 21 who takes out household trash containing even a single empty alcohol beverage container can be charged with illegal possession of alcohol in Missouri. Glad we don’t live there. Our kids would be lifers.
13. In LeFors, Texas, it is illegal to take more than three swallows of beer while standing. Which just means more sitting and standing than a Catholic mass.
12. In the time of the ancient Babylonian king Hammurabi, tavern keepers convicted of selling watered-down beer were sentenced to drowning in a barrel of their own product. You know, he might have been on to something there. (Sorry, Coors Light.)
11. A second DUI conviction in Bulgaria results in execution. Sadly, not by drowning in vodka.
9. Men are forbidden to drink while in bed with their wives in Iowa. Depending on the length of the marriage in question, this is either a blessing or a curse.
8. In Malaysia, if a driver is caught driving under the influence, the driver is jailed and if married, his wife is jailed too. Apparently, the women there really are driving their husbands to drink.
7. In Scotland, it is illegal to be drunk and in possession of a cow. So that’s why you never see them together. I was thinking altogether dirtier thoughts.
6. In Fairbanks, Alaska, it’s illegal to give whiskey to a moose. Wouldn’t you love to have been present at the event that made this law seem necessary?
5. In Pennsylvania, men can’t purchase alcohol without written consent of their wives. Try that in Moscow. Go ahead. I double-dog dare ya.
4. It’s illegal to sit on any street curb in St. Louis, Missouri, and drink beer from a bucket. Crap! There goes my weekend!
3. In Ohio it’s illegal to get a fish drunk. Hamsters? Totally OK.
And, finally, from Nebraska, two laws that completely boggle the mind:
2. State law prohibits bars from selling beer unless they are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup. Which makes total sense because…anyone?
1. And…it’s illegal to sell alcohol to someone driving a motor vehicle…unless he is disabled. Hmm, maybe political correctness isn’t all bad.
Writer’s note: China, meanwhile, is like a photo negative of the U.S. when it comes to booze and the Internet. You can’t use Facebook there, but alcohol can be purchased in any convenience store, supermarket, nightclub, bar or eatery, seven days a week, and if the retailer is open 24 hours, then you can buy booze 24-7. You are also free to drink anywhere, too—at home, at the movies, on the sidewalk. Just pick a spot and dive in. There is one caveat, though. As of May 1, Chinese law now mandates a penal detention of up to six months for any person convicted of drunken driving. But don’t worry, it’s more like house arrest than jail time, so as long as the fridge is stocked, you’ll be juuust fine.