3 Strange Liquor Laws In U.S. States

Have you ever thought of opening up your own bar, club, or restaurant? If you're thinking of going into any business where you might want to sell alcohol, it pays to do some research on the liquor laws in the area that you're interested in setting up shop in. Not only do liquor laws vary widely from state to state, and even from county to county within a state, some of the laws in effect today are also unusual or obscure enough that you might not anticipate them. But the key to keeping your liquor license is compliance with your local liquor laws. Take a look at some examples of liquor laws that you may not expect.

No Happy Hour in Massachusetts

If you have dreams of setting up a restaurant or bar and enticing customers with a fun happy hour, pick a state other than Massachusetts. In the Bay State, discounting drinks temporarily for a happy hour is against the law.

The logic behind this law is simple – the lawmakers who passed it wanted to discourage heavy drinking early in the evening, when there are still many cars out on the road. And Massachusetts bar and restaurant owners are basically happy with the law as it stands – it prevents them from getting roped into price-slashing competitions with rival establishments.

No Tabs in Iowa

Were you picturing opening up a friendly, Cheers-style bar, where you know everybody's name and feel comfortable extending credit to your regulars? If so, open it somewhere other than Iowa, where running a tab or extending credit to drinking customers is against the law. You can hold off on charging your customers until they leave, but they have to settle up before they go.

In all fairness, this particular law is really for your protection. It prevents customers from skipping out on the bill and never paying up. Asking everyone to settle their bills before they leave is just smart business, so why risk your liquor license by running a tab?

Measure Carefully When You Pour in Michigan

If you want to serve alcohol in Michigan, you had better make sure that the glasses that you purchase for your establishment hold the amount of alcohol you say they can hold, and that your bartenders are good at measuring when they pour.

Under Michigan law, it's illegal to advertise a pint of beer unless your pint actually contains 16 fluid ounces of beer. Customers who get shorted have legal recourse against a venue that violates the law, and investigators will bring their own glasses in to check against yours.

These are just a few of the unusual liquor laws that are in place around the country. Before you get your liquor license, find out exactly what you have to do in your area to keep it in good standing. Contact a company like Arizona Liquor Industry Consultants for more information.