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Liquor Laws


The United States does not have the monopoly on liquor laws – many countries have their own laws and statutes on alcohol. What liquor laws have in common across the globe is that they are designed to prohibit or control the sale, manufacture and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Liquor LawThe purpose of liquor laws is twofold: they are designed to minimize the unsafe use of alcohol while also generating revenue through taxation. While drinking alcohol in moderation is acceptable, overconsumption of alcohol may lead to drinking and driving accidents, among other things.

While there are several factors that may be employed to regulate the sale of liquor, taxation and license requirements are the oldest and most commonly employed tactics. By using the license system, states wield more control by revoking licenses when the law has been violated and restricting who may receive the licenses. Great Britain’s licensing is the most severe and extensive. In fact, due to their licensing of “public houses” (aka, pubs), there has been a marked decrease in liquor consumption.

Licenses in the United States primarily control the hours of sale as well as who may consume alcoholic beverages. However, from 1919 to 1933, manufacturing and selling liquor was illegal throughout the entire nation. This time period is referred to as Prohibition. These days, there are still some counties and municipalities that are “dry” – meaning that alcohol may not be sold.

There are many states that have a monopoly on retail liquor distribution; this is also true of most of Canada. Much of Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway and Finland), places limits on the profits that liquor manufacturers may collect. Their licensing systems also restrict the consumption and production of alcoholic beverages.

Before the 1900s, Russia instituted a government monopoly on vodka manufacturing until they prohibited alcohol during World War I. This was reinstituted after their prohibition was appealed.

In France, and other wine-making countries, the government has few regulations on liquor. The one thing the government does regulate is their stringent bottle-labeling requirements. The laws are similar in Germany and a few other European countries, where beer is consumed and produced more than spirits.

States/Abbreviations
AK Alaska LA Louisiana OH Ohio
AL Alabama MA Massachusetts OK Oklahoma
AR Arkansas MD Maryland OR Oregon
AZ Arizona ME Maine PA Pennsylvania
CA California MI Michigan RI Rhode Island
CO Colorado MN Minnesota SC South Carolina
CT Connecticut MO Missouri SD South Dakota
DE Delaware MS Mississippi TN Tennessee
FL Florida MT Montana TX Texas
GA Georgia NC North Carolina UT Utah
HI Hawaii ND North Dakota VT Vermont
IA Iowa NE Nebraska VA Virginia
ID Idaho NH New Hampshire WA Washington State
IL Illinois NJ New Jersey WI Wisconsin
IN Indiana NM New Mexico WV West Virginia
KS Kansas NV Nevada WY Wyoming
KY Kentucky NY New York DC Washington DC

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