A Few Crazy Beer Laws

Few Crazy Beer LawsForget about quota states and liquor control states: There are a few states with crazy beer laws. Depending on where you are, enjoying a cold one can be a challenge.

Residents of states with unusual beer laws have come to accept the eccentricities, but visitors and tourists can be driven… well, crazy by them. Two states with unusual beer laws also boast their share of tourists: Pennsylvania and Florida.

Pennsylvania Beer Laws

If you want to buy beer at a retail location in Pennsylvania, the first thing you need to determine is how much you want to buy. If you want to buy a case or a keg, you can stop by any beer distributor. These are privately owned and operated, and beer is the only alcohol not controlled by the state monopoly.

If you’re shopping for a party and want to get wine or spirits for attendees who may prefer those, plan to make two stops: one to the beer distributor and a second stop to one of the state-run Wine and Spirits Shoppes. If you party happens to be on a Sunday or holiday, don’t wait until that day to do your shopping. Only select Wine and Spirits Shoppes are open on Sundays, and until recently, beer distributors were not allowed to be open on Sundays. Not all beer distributors choose to sell on Sundays or holidays.

Want to buy smaller quantities of beer? Forget about the beer distributor. By law, those retails establishments cannot sell less than a case or a keg. To purchase a six pack or two, you’ll need to stop by some place that holds an Eating Place Retail license, like a deli or bar. These establishments typically have more extended hours of operation than beer distributors; however, they’re limited to the amount they can sell. That limit is 192 ounces per purchase.

Beer Sale Limitations in Florida

Florida is another state with a huge influx of visitors and is also a state with some unusual laws regarding the amount of beer you can purchase. Jim Saksa notes in “Rum Deal: Counting up all the ways America’s booze laws are terrible” that the 64-ounce growler is illegal in Florida, along with Idaho and Mississippi.

When investigating the reason for this restriction: According to liquor law expert and attorney, Trevor Brewer, “Miller Brewing upset the Florida legislators by opening its new beer-flavored carbonated drink factory in Georgia instead of the Sunshine State. At the time, Miller was heavily promoting its 7-ounce pony bottles, so Florida banned the sale of bottles and cans in sizes other than 12, 24, and 32 ounces. In 2001, that law was amended to allow any container 32 ounces or smaller, or 128 ounces or bigger.”

Those size restrictions leave craft brew lovers with their growlers left holding the proverbial bag, make that bottle… and it’s empty.

If you’re considering operating a retail establishment for alcohol sales, there are plenty of laws with which you need to be familiar, and yes, a few states have some crazy beer laws and other regulations regarding alcohol sales.