Top 10 Strangest Liquor Laws in The World
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Top 10 Strangest Liquor Laws in The World

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
It's important to know your rights - especially when on foreign soil and the booze is flowing. For this list, we'll be looking at some of the oddest, most outdated and over-the-top laws pertaining to the consumption, distribution and production of alcohol around the world. They don't need to be regularly enforced to be considered, they just need to be in the law books. Which of these do YOU find the strangest? Let us know in the comments!
Transcript
Written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Strangest Liquor Laws in The World


It’s important to know your rights - especially when on foreign soil and the booze is flowing. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Strangest Liquor Laws in The World.

For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the oddest, most outdated and over-the-top laws pertaining to the consumption, distribution and production of alcohol around the world. They don’t need to be regularly enforced to be considered, they just need to be in the law books.

#10: It's Illegal to Be Inebriated in a Pub
England


Walk into a local watering hole anywhere in the United Kingdom, regardless of time of day, and you’re likely to find plenty of people who are drinking responsibly; you’re also likely to find at least one or two individuals who have over-imbibed. The later it gets, the more that balance shifts in favor of the latter category. As it turns out however, pretty much anyone knocking back pints or shots at last call is likely breaking English law. Now, drunk and disorderly we can understand, but according to Section 12 of the U.K.’s 1872 Licensing Act, you don’t need even need to check the disorderly box - simply being drunk is enough to earn you a fine!

#9: Historic Loopholes for Alcohol Sales
Kentucky, USA


When people think of quality bourbon, the first word that comes to mind is Kentucky. Now, the irony of Kentucky’s bourbon-soaked history is the fact that the state has famously strict and confusing laws relating to the production and sale of alcohol. Though there are wet counties where alcohol sales are in keeping with the rest of the country, much of the state is “moist” or dry, meaning that there are strict laws either restricting or outright prohibiting the sale of alcohol. The real kicker? Some counties, which are otherwise dry, have exceptions for “Qualified Historic Sites” where booze can be bought and consumed, one drink at a time, on the premises because of an institution’s historic relationship to alcohol. Confused? Us too!

#8: Drinking So Long as Your Spouse Okays It
Alaska, USA


Like in the rest of the country, the legal drinking age in Alaska is 21. But in America’s northernmost state, there’s an exception to the rule, and one particular clause is sure to raise a few eyebrows. According to the Alaska Bar Association, so long as it’s not at a licensed establishment, an underaged individual can consume alcohol given to them by their parent, legal guardian or (wait for it...) spouse! Now, the parent angle we can understand; it’s not unheard of for a teen to have a beer or a glass of wine with their family on a special occasion. But there’s something uncomfortable (at least in certain cases) about a spouse being given the same responsibility to make parent-like decisions on behalf of their partner.

#7: Alcohol Sales are Limited to Very Specific Times
Thailand


A boozy brunch might be a popular concept in much of the Western world, but in Thailand, one needs to plan ahead if they intend to imbibe in the AM. In an apparent attempt to curb excessive drinking and keep late night parties from raging into the morning, Thailand prohibits the sale of alcohol after midnight until 11am the next day. An overnight ban on sales isn’t uncommon around the world, but 11am is definitely later in the day than in most countries. As if that’s not limiting enough, the sale of alcohol is also prohibited between 2pm and 5pm. Essentially, it seems like Thailand is open to people having a drink or two at lunch, but that both day-drinking and late night drinking is heavily discouraged.

#6: Various Legal Hoops
Australia


Quite frankly, drinking in the Land Down Under — or worse, selling alcohol there — seems a bit like navigating a legal minefield. First, a server cannot provide alcohol to a customer if they appear to be drunk or admit to being drunk, even in a bar. To further curb people’s ability to overindulge, there are various laws limiting alcohol consumption after midnight in certain parts of the country. In central Sydney, when the clock strikes 12, shots are off the menu, and a bartender can’t deliver more than 4 drinks at once. After 2am, it goes down to two shots. In some districts, there’s also a lockout policy prohibiting re-entry after a certain time.

#5: No Alcohol Sales in Movie Theaters During Explicit Films
Idaho, USA


Well… that certainly is specific! We understand that alcohol can lower one’s inhibitions and that, by extension, this means that alcohol can act as something of an aphrodisiac. That being said, we doubt that the average moviegoer is knocking back drinks in the theater. And even if they are, adults old enough to purchase alcohol likely have enough worldly experience and self-control to not cause trouble. Are lawmakers really concerned that alcohol plus a steamy sex scene onscreen will be enough to result in audience getting frisky with themselves or their fellow cinemagoers? Apparently the state of Idaho doesn’t have much faith in their citizens! That’s one seriously paternalistic approach to alcohol and sexually-explicit content, even if it’s rarely enforced.

#4: Election Day Is Dry
Turkey


When the political party you favor seems poised for victory, you and your family or friends might want to celebrate by popping a bottle of bubbly or sharing a few pints. Sadly, this is NOT an option in Turkey, where the sale of alcohol is strictly prohibited on election day. The logic behind this is reasonably sound - people shouldn’t be operating with impaired judgement when deciding the fate of the nation. That being said, it’s hard to imagine that drunk voting is that major of a problem - certainly not widespread enough to affect the outcome of the elections. Regardless, tourists should know that they won’t be able to get a drink if they happen to be there on election day. This equally applies to local elections.

#3: Wine and Beer Is Allowed at Work
France


In most countries around the world, outside of office parties or a business lunch, alcohol and the workplace don’t mix. For decades, however, France has been a notable exception, with beer, wine and cider being considered legally welcome at work so long as it isn’t consumed to the point of inebriation and it doesn’t affect one’s performance. Now, this long-standing tradition has recently been changed. In 2014, employers finally gained the right to forbid wine in the workplace, but unless such a restriction is made explicit to employees, the old law holds true. Apparently, having a “cool boss” means a lot more in France than most places.

#2: Needing a License to Drink
Various States, India


Though perhaps not quite as famous as that of France, India’s drinking culture is very much a part of the nation’s identity; they have national drinks with thousands of years worth of history. That being said, there are states where alcohol consumption is prohibited, including Bihar and Gujarat, among others. In the latter of the two states, international travelers and visitors from elsewhere in India can secure permits to carry and consume alcohol during their stay. While illegal trade of alcohol is common, manufacturing and sale of contraband alcohol can result in a death sentence. In Maharashtra, people wishing to drink need to apply for a license. Permits of varying durations can be acquired, ranging from single day permits to lifetime ones.

#1: You Can’t Take Care of a Cow While Drunk
Scotland


Under the Licensing Act of 1872, there are a number of things which a person cannot take control of while under the influence of alcohol. This list includes firearms, a carriage, steam engine or horse. Think of it as a precursor to contemporary drunk driving laws, just, you know… before modern motor vehicles were commonplace. Also included in this list (most curiously) are cows. This particular stipulation might seem outdated, but in Scotland, it remains on the law books. Now, to be clear, we don’t disagree with this particular law; drunk people probably shouldn’t be taking charge of livestock! But considering how infrequently this is likely to come up in the modern day, it definitely feels a little silly.
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