Cheeseheads and Wine


In Pennsylvania, according to that state's Liquor Control Board, "It is against the law to sell or give alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of 21--even your own children." Many other states have similar policies, insisting that people should not touch a drop of alcohol, even under parental supervision, until they turn 21, whereupon they are expected to automatically know how to drink responsibly.

Wisconsin takes a different approach. Although the state's alcohol purchase age is 21 (a requirement for receiving federal highway money), people accompanied by parents or over-21 spouses are still allowed to drink alcoholic beverages in bars and restaurants. But as The American Spectator's Theodora Blanchfield notes, Wisconsin would take a step toward Pennsylvania-style zero tolerance under a bill sponsored by state Rep. John Ainsworth:

Under the current version of the Republican lawmaker's proposed legislation, Bill 72, the law would be changed to allow only those who have reached that magical age of 18 to have a drink with their parents outside the home. An earlier version of the bill was even more restrictive--it would have criminalized parent-supervised underaged drinking at home, raising questions of how deeply the government should entangle itself in private life.

Blanchfield reports that editorial opinion seems to be on Ainsworth's side. According to The Wausau Daily Herald, "parents who take children out drinking aren't responsible and do need common sense transfusions."