Evasive Entrepreneurs vs. Ridiculous Liquor Rules

by on July 28, 2020 · 0 comments

Cheers to Post-Yoga BeersFew things unify people in America more than beer and liquor regulations. On one side you have the forces of repression, who either favor strong liquor taxes and regulations on moralistic grounds, or because they favor curtailing competition and choice for a variety of reasons. On the other side you have those of us looking to end the insanity of quasi-Prohibitionary rules that do nothing to boost public health but do plenty to annoy the living hell out of us (and cost us plenty). And the really interesting thing is that these two groups contain plenty of people of radically different political persecutions. Liquor regulations are the greatest destroyer of political partisanship ever!

For those of us who favor liberalization, as I write in my latest AIER column:

The good news is that evasive entrepreneurs and an increasingly technologically-empowered public will keep pushing back and hopefully whittle away at the continuing vestiges of Prohibition Era stupidity. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and when people want a drink, crafty entrepreneurs will usually find a way to deliver.

I talk a walk back through history and discuss how efforts to evade ridiculous liquor controls have been a longstanding feature of the American experience. People can be remarkably creative when seeking to circumvent silly rules–both before, during, and after Prohibition. Indeed, the insanity continues today. I document several examples of how:

In the wake of the COVID lockdowns, some state and local governments relaxed liquor carryout and delivery laws to give bars, breweries, and distilleries a chance to weather the forced closings. Unfortunately, many of those laws also required those establishments to sell food as part of every transaction if they wanted to sell or serve drinks. The results were comical in many states as evasive entrepreneurs devised creative regulatory work-arounds to deal with these “gotta-eat-to-drink” edicts.

I provide examples of this happening in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, and DC with dumb rules like that. Finally, I also come clean about my own bootlegger past! Read on.

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