Is Indiana Ready for Cold Beer at Convenience Stores? Is America Ready to End Prohibition?

Stupid, ridiculous booze laws still haunt the Land of the Free.

Note: As several commenters have pointed out, there are some errors in the laws listed below. Cold beer is available at wholesalers in Pennsylvania. In New Hampshire, distilled spirits are sold exclusively through state stores, but beer and wine is sold at private stores, including supermarkets and convenience stores. We regret the inaccuracies.

Did you know that Indiana – my birthplace and ancestral homeland – didn't only give rise to Johnny Cougar and “a little ditty about Jack and Diane?”

It’s also a mecca for warm beer!

In the Hoosier State, it’s against the law for convenience stores to sell cold beer. No wonder my father was always so grumpy at family picnics. Room temperature suds is a surefire way to make any gathering of kin more likely to end in gunplay.

Of course it’s not just Indiana that has incredibly stupid and punishing booze laws.

As Colorado, Washington state, and other places around the Land of the Free start legalizing pot, it’s the perfect time to repeal the vestiges of alcohol prohibition that went into effect even before Woodrow Wilson had his stroke.

In Pennsylvania, with some exceptions, you can only buy beer – body temperature, naturally – at wholesalers and you have to buy it by the case. 

In New Hampshire – the live Free or Die state -- you'll have to die before you can freely buy beer booze – you can only buy alkyhol at state-run stores. Even the Soviet Union was more liberal than that.

Bloody Kansas kept alcohol prohibition in place until 1948 and to this day you can only 3.2 percent beer at convenience stores. Oh thank heavens for 7-11? Not in Topeka!

All throughout our purple mountains majesty, there are more laws regulating the buying of booze than of sex toys.

But the Hoosier State may bet a shot of sanity, with a beer chaser. The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association is suing to finally sell cold beer. Beer drinkers want choice and change. But most of all they just want a cold brew in hand to drown Johnny Cougar’s “Jack and Diane.”

Written by Kennedy and Nick Gillespie. Produced by Joshua Swain.

About 2 minutes.

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  • HiGreg||

    Your point is fine overall, but you're flat out wrong. You CAN buy cold beer in Pennsylvania (by the case) at most beer distributors. Delis can sell cold six packs.

    Otherwise, yes, alcohol laws in Pennsylvania are fairly stupid. We want to discourage you from over-consuming by only selling beer by the case (cold, no less).

  • albo||

    And update: The closest we came to eliminating 80 years of state liquor stores in PA failed last night because the GOP Senate is wretched hive of scum and villainy.

    The GOP House passed it, but the Senate watered it down from Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot ale (11.1%) to Coors Light (0.0%), then refused to vote it on final passage (plus they didn't have the votes) because the House failed to approve a tax-hiking transportation bill first.

  • Nazdrakke||

    because the GOP Senate is wretched hive of scum and villainy.

    PA quietly over-achieves in all areas of political corruption and it just never seems to get the attention it deserves. Media provincialism, I suppose.

  • albo||

    Like, c'mon, we have two former House Speakers, a majority budget chairman, a majority whip and more lawmakers sitting in jail RIGHT NOW. What's a state gotta do to get, you know, Illinois-level respect?

  • cmurf1960||

    Your info on New Hampshire is inaccurate. I live in the Granite State. You can buy beer and wine, cold or warm, here almost everywhere - Walmart, 7-11, gas stations, even CVS and Rite-Aid drugstores. There are also independently owned specialty beer and wine shops. Local breweries and wineries are allowed to sell their wares at their own brewery/winery shops. Also, last year, it became legal for NH craft brewers to sell their beers at NH farmer's markets.

    The state run stores are mostly for hard liquor, that's the only way to get it here. They also sell wine, but as I said, you can also buy wine at grocery stores and other shops. The state stores do not sell beer at all.

    Just wanted to clear this up.

  • ||

    Inaccurate? You're being polite.

    IT'S COMPLETELY FUCKING WRONG

    Those are the type of inaccuracies that can completely undermine one's credibility.

    Look, NH is still rather restrictive regarding the beers one can bring into the state. They all need to be approved by the state liquor commission (although they might approve by producer, not by individual brew).

    But still...FFS...it's ONLY Hard Alcohol that's exclusively sold in NH state liquor stores.

  • SIV||

    Check the byline:

    Written by Kennedy and Nick Gillespie

  • BakedPenguin||

    I have several relatives in NH, and I've heard that their state stores, for the most part, are surprisingly non-crappy (SLD).

    I have an uncle who worked as a salesman all his life who - after retirement - worked part time at one. He was both friendly as hell, and very knowledgeable about booze. That they were willing to hire someone as qualified as he obviously was said a lot about their management.

  • ||

    The state liquor stores are on the Interstates for a reason...to undercut ME and MA prices and to capitalize strongly on the tourist industry. The State Liquor Commission is self-funded and kicks back into the General Fund. If they weren't highly customer oriented I think NH would go to regular retail distribution in a heartbeat. As is, there's simply very little incentive to change at this point.

    There is a very strong local wine and beer movement in NH. A few places have even tried distilling. So yes, you can't buy JD at every local shop, but otherwise there are few complaints about alcohol accessibility in NH.

  • sarcasmic||

    NH is a weird place. One Fourth of July a decade or so ago I went to see the fireworks display in Portsmouth, and got pulled over for speeding on the way back. The cop apologized when he didn't smell alcohol, and gave me a verbal warning, even though I had a black guy and an underage girl in the car. Very odd.

  • albo||

    Maybe he thought you were Morgan Freeman and Chloe Moretz.

  • Zeb||

    One more clarification: there are actually a few non-state owned stores in NH that can sell distilled spirits, but it is just an experimental pilot sort of thing at this point.
    As others have pointed out, NH liquor stores are good enough that there aren't a lot of complaints from locals or visitors (though SLD applies, of course).

  • ||

    In fact (because it really just bugs me how flat out wrong that statement was) IN FACT you can't even buy beer at NH state liquor stores. They recently had a fight over it in the legislature. Somebody was hoping to give a broader outlet for local brewers, but the retail establishment pushed back because they didn't want the competition.

  • Guy Laguy||

    Lips that touch liquor will never touch mine.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Then please pass the bottle

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yeah, because you'd really want to make out with these broads.

  • Loki||

    I think the only a man would be willing to kiss those bitches is if he was drunk. It would take a lot of alcohol to make any of them even remotely attractive. Woof.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You still have it better than those of us in the People's Commonpoor of Pennsylinvania.

  • Nazdrakke||

    Ugh, is there a more F'ed up state in regards to all things alcohol than PA?

  • DaveAnthony||

    Commonpoor. I love that.

    Really represents the PA state capital doesn't it? B A N K R U P T

  • Doctor Whom||

    No one needs cold beer from a convenience store. Besides, [insert your favored reductio ad Somaliam here].

  • Hyperion||

    The beer should be warm(lest you are tempted to drink one on the way home).

    And there should be no more 6 packs. No one needs a 6 pack of beer. 3 packs should be the norm, and only 7 oz. bottles.

    And you should have to show your drivers license every time you purchase beer and it should be recorded in a massive government database, so that you can only have one 3 pack per week.

    For the children.

  • Guy Laguy||

    3 beer a week? get some help you alcoholic

  • Silly ol' Bear||

    YES! The Nanny State...not!

  • Johnimo||

    And only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday ... not on Saturday and Sunday which would lead to too much debauchery.

  • Tonio||

    Reductio ad Somaliam

    Good one, Doc.

  • Hyperion||

    In Indiana, most liquor stores also charge you more for cold beer. There's 2 prices, the cold price, and the warm price.

    But at least you can buy beer there in stores other than liquor stores, unlike the super liberal state of Maryland. Just not on Sunday.

    Last time I was in Brazil, they were selling cold beer at the Walmart. So that proves that Brazil is more free than Indiana and Maryland.

  • wwhorton||

    And don't forget, if you live in Prince Geroge's (or Pizza and Guns) County, Maryland, you can't buy liquor on Sunday. 'Cause Jesus and stuff.

    But those heathens in Anne Arundel County can do what they like.

  • Nazdrakke||

    Name of my favorite bar in AA county escapes me at present, but it looked kinda like someone converted a barn into a bar on top with a liquor store on the bottom level. Gruesome good times.

  • Hyperion||

    You can't buy beer in most of Baltimore City and Baltimore County on Sunday either. But I don't think that has to do with Jesus. It's just fucked up. But you can always drive to Howard county if you are out.

  • Tonio||

    Is that like the gold price and the iron price?

  • Hyperion||

    It's not quite that extreme...

  • Free Society||

    I only pay the iron price at state-run stores.

  • ||

    Buahaha, CA is by your definition also freer! Dragging college friends from the Pacific Northwest into a grocery store in CA was always a satisfying experience:

    "LA sucks, it's so hot and dr...wait, I can buy handles of liquor in a grocery store?"

  • Hyperion||

    Buahaha, is spelled with Ws, Jessie, fucking Ws!

  • Hyperion||

    Oh, and sorry about the I in Jesse...

  • ||

    Next you're going to tell me that the sound of laughter isn't represented as jaja or jeje.

    Apology accepted, most people default to that even though my name isn't short for Jessica.

  • Hyperion||

    That's why I did it, I know a Jessica, and for short, it has the I. Habits...

  • PapayaSF||

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    Hope CNN has paid up its E&O insurance.

  • wwhorton||

    I think it's the power of the Internet to bring people together and break down racial barriers that I appreciate the most...

  • Loki||

    "In a related story, CNN will soon be renamed 'George Zimmerman's Bitch' after an undisclosed out of court settlement."

    At least, in a just world. In the world we live in though, I think the next headline will be "In a Related Story, George Zimmerman Found Guilty of Slaying That Sweet, Innocent Little Black Boy, Recieves Life in Prison From Jury of Shrill Harpies."

  • Lord Humungus||

    In Michigan, wintry hellhole that it is, you can buy beer & wine at Meijer, Walmart, convenience stores, gas stations, liquor stores, or even bars. The same mostly holds true for liquor, though gas stations may be the excluded, but I rarely venture inside 'em due to pay at the pump.

    Sunday sales used to be outlawed, but a recent law changed that to 365, 24/7.

    I guess this is such a depressing place to live that the proles gotta be kept happy.

  • Loki||

    People are much less prone to insurrection if they're drunk all the time.

  • Hyperion||

    See, that's where the government is fucking up. Just imagine how compliant the sheep would be if they were both drunk and stoned all of the time!

  • Hyperion||

    The first time I ever bought beer in MI, the sticker shock took several hours to wear off.

  • Rasilio||

    Gee and right next door in Louisville it is legal to sell alcohol from the Drive Through.

    There was a little liquor store in downtown Jeffersontown (a suburb of Louisville) that had a drive through window just like at McDonalds and you could not only buy the stuff in bottles through it but they also sold alcoholic slushies, just like the ones you can get at a gas station but with more alcohol (lots more actually as they were quite strong).

    My wife was a very big fan :-)

  • Hyperion||

    I still remember the drive throughs in Ohio.

    There was this one, it was basically just a pole barn turned into a liquor store. You just drove your car in there, loaded up with beer, and drove out the other door.

    They also had the ones with the drive up window.

  • sarcasmic||

    I remember stepping into a convenience store in Maine after moving from Colorado, and I felt like I had died and gone to heaven! In CO you can't get anything stronger than 3.2 unless you go to a state run store. Round here you can get bourbon at a gas station. It's glorious!

  • B.P.||

    Colorado does not have state-run stores. 3.2 beer is a grocery and convenience store thing.

  • sarcasmic||

    Maybe they're not state-run. That's not the point.

  • ||

    CO doesn't have state run stores now. Did that change? You have to go to a liquor store to buy over 3.2 but they aren't state run.

  • Hyperion||

    Yeah, but in Maine, you can't buy any weed to go with your liquor. So there's one for CO.

  • Zeb||

    You haven't spent much time in Maine, have you?

  • Hyperion||

    No, it's one of only 3 states, besides Alaska and Hawaii, that I've never been to, and the other 2 are right next to it. I'm planning a drive up there soon so that I can say I've been in all of the lower 48.

    That being said. I meant 'legally' buy.

  • Zeb||

    The northern part of New England is pretty nice. Don't let the rest ruin it for you.

    My weed comment is based on the fact that almost everyone I know from Maine grows weed. The fact that growing less than 100 plants is a misdemeanor probably helps. I wouldn't be too surprised if they were the next to legalize.

  • Hyperion||

    The fact that growing less than 100 plants is a misdemeanor probably helps

    Damn! I think that in WA state, you can only grow 6 plants legally. I bet you would get more than a misdemeanor there if you had 100 plants.

  • Kroneborge||

    "All throughout our purple mountains majesty, there are more laws regulating the buying of booze than of sex toys."

    You calling for more sex toys regulating?

  • Loki||

    We really should stop giving the modern Puritans ideas.

  • Hyperion||

    I remember a video link someone sent me a few years back, about the Chinese raiding a sex shop. It was fucking hilarious. One of them made a statement something to the effect of 'Just look at the size of this huge dildo. Someone could be seriously injured with this'.

  • B.P.||

    I have fond memories of having drinks at Indianapolis bars and then legally purchasing a six pack to go. You can buy liquor at drug stores, too.

  • Loki||

    Even the Soviet Union was more liberal than that.

    They knew better than to try to fuck with a Russian's vodka. Kill a few million dissenting kulaks? Who cares? Try to take away their vodka? REVOLUTION!!!!!

  • Marshall Gill||

    Here in OK, the alcohol regime is even stranger. You used to be able to by "beer" 24/7 cold, as long as it did not exceed 3.4% alcohol. A decade ago they stopped selling it for a few hours in the evenings, 2am to 8am, IIRC.

    Real beer, with actual alcohol in it, can only be purchased warm at a liquor store Monday through Saturday from 10am to 9pm.

    The big American producers Coors/Bud/Miller do not even sell beer here that has over 3.4% alcohol. If you think that shit is boring at 4 to 5%, just imagine how bad it is at 1%.

    Government sucks so badly, and ruins everything that it touches so much that it can even ruin BEER! That is seriously fucked up.

  • Silly ol' Bear||

    Everyone needs to move to MS then! Convenience/gas stores can serve beer and wine w/o a max %, restaurants/bars can sell whatever. You can get it cold or warm. The only real restrictions are time ones, you can't buy ETOH at a store before 8 AM or after 1 AM and no hard liquor on Sundays.

    That being said, it depends on the county! *lol*, but this is pretty much average across the state.

    P.S. We also have gambling, so c'mon down y'all and we will show ya how to REALLY live!

  • Scotticus Finch||

    My favorite liquor store was handing out flyers a few months back trying to stop passage of a new ordinance that would allow liquor to be sold in gas stations. The owner actually trotted out the line "Do you like the idea of people being able to buy a fifth of whiskey the same place they fill up their tank?"

    It's my favorite liquor store n'more.

  • Zeb||

    Got to protect that racket.

    My favorite was in some state (maybe CT) where they wanted to extend the hours when liquor could be sold and established liquor store owners protested, presumably so that they wouldn't have to stay open later to maintain their sales.

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  • Acosmist||

    You guys are really ignorant about the PA laws, huh? Still not accurate up there. Woo, multiple corrections!

  • geo1113||

    It is cheaper to buy booze in the NH state-run liquor store than it is to buy it in the non-state-run stores in Massachusetts.

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