If 1920s America taught us anything, it was that laws condemning alcohol are almost completely useless. Prohibition placed a ban on the consumption and sale of alcohol anywhere in the US, and was even added as an amendment to the Constitution!
It was later repealed, to no great surprise at all, but many drinks laws still exist, all around the world. Take a look at the Great Drams Top 10 International drinks laws.
1. Utah’s Zion Curtain
So our first weird law brings us back to the United States with Utah’s Zion Curtain Law. In Utah, a majority Mormon state, drinks are not allowed to be mixed in view of customers, should any of them fall into temptation. But how does one protect the precious eyes of the susceptible customer? By erecting Zion Curtains, of course! This is a partition that separates the bar from public view, meaning no one can tell what magic is going into the mixing of their drinks. This is a law that seems set to stay put, despite attempts the challenge it, but maybe someday the Zion Curtain will fall, and cocktails lovers all over Utah will be able to enjoy their Cosmos in full view.
2. Scotland’s Cattle Capers
The legendary home of some of the best whiskies in the world, it is almost expected that the Scots would have some strange drinking laws. The best perhaps, is that it is illegal to be drunk and in charge of a cow. This might seem like an odd situation to find yourself in, but may have been fairly common in the 1800s, when this law is thought to have been created. So if you ever find yourself a bit worse for wear in Scotland, make sure you don’t pick up a cow or two along the way!
3. Oktoberfest Outrage
Germany, famous for its Oktoberfest celebrations, during which all things beer and beer related are indulged in, has some very specific laws regarding this particular festival. It is illegal to bring any beer that has not been brewed according to the German Purity Law within the walls of the city of Munich, where the festival takes place. Clearly Munich are very proud of their beer, so it might be best to stay on their good side on this one, or you might have a crowd of Germans decked out in lederhosen to deal with!
4. Breathalyse That!
In France, like everyone else, they enjoy a good tipple or two, but it is illegal to drive a car without an approved breathalyser. This is a fairly recent law, having only been introduced in 2012, and there is yet to be any legislation regarding penalties for not carrying one. So stay safe from the temptation of France’s quality wines by being prepared and knowing your limit!
5. Something’s Fishy
Have you ever thought to yourself how nice it would be sit in an ice hut and fish all day? Well if you ever have, don’t expect to be allowed to bring some liquor along to warm you up, as in Ontario, Canada, it is illegal to drink in an ice hut. Be prepared to bring some crosswords along to help with the boredom as drinking games will definitely be off the cards for any ice fishing enthusiasts!
6. No-way Norway
If you’re ever looking for a boozy weekend away in Norway, make sure you stock up, or at least prepare to be there before 3pm on a Saturday. In Norway, alcohol, except some beers, cannot be bought from shops or supermarkets after 3pm or at all on Sundays. This does not include restaurants or bars of course. Just make sure you plan ahead and any wild weekend amongst the fjords can be made all the better with a bit of the good stuff.
7. Staying Dry in Kentucky
Despite being the spiritual home of many US whiskies, and the namesake of Kentucky Bourbon, many of the counties in the state of Kentucky are dry. This means that the sale and manufacturing of alcohol is either forbidden or tightly restricted. While people flock to see the historic distilleries that are found in Kentucky, any opportunity of trying a dram or two is not always available.
8. UEAs Liquor Licenses
While it may seem not even be an issue in the UK, in the United Arab Emirates you must apply for a licence to buy and consume liquor in your own home. You must also be able to produce said licence, should you be caught with alcohol in your car. The UAE is a Muslim country and therefore places bans on Muslims consuming alcohol. A licence is therefore required for any non-Muslim hoping to enjoy a few drinks.
9. Hold on Hong Kong!
In Hong Kong it is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 in restaurants and bars. That sounds pretty normal, right? This law however, does not extend to retailers. That’s right, in Hong Kong it is legal to sell alcohol to people under the age of 18, just so long as you’re doing it from a grocery store and not a licenced restaurant or anything.
If you are over 18 and not scouring for corner shops in the city however, check out our Hong Kong bar recommendation here.
10. One Day More
Drinking seems to be a pretty constant thing in most countries, but in the capital of Mongolia, the first and twentieth days of every month are deemed alcohol free. There is no purchasing of alcohol from either bars and restaurants or shops. So if you want a little something to wind down after a hard day, you’ll have to turn to your own private stash!