Michigan Lawmakers Prefer College Students Drink Hard Liquor Instead of Keg Beer


Do Michigan lawmakers think college kids should drink more Vodka Red Bull? Probably not, but that's one potential consequence of a law that takes effect next month designed to discourage underage drinking.

Starting November 1, the state will require beer retailers to attach a tag to each keg with the purchaser's name, address, phone number, and driver's license number. Buyers will also have to put down a $30 deposit per keg, which won't be reimbursed if a shell is returned without its tag. Removing a keg tag will be a misdemeanor and carry a fine of up to $500 and a sentence of up to 93 days in jail.

But if college students and other underage kids really want to get crunk, they'll find a way. Michigan's law will probably just increase sales of cases of beer, like similar laws in other states have, or underage drinkers may decide that chugging can beer is too much of an inconvenience and turn to liquor instead.

A similar New York law expired last January after nine years on the books, and its main effect seems to have been increasing sales of 30-packs of beer. Four years after Georgia passed a keg registration law in 2001, prosecutors across the state couldn't recall a case in which the law affected underage drinking. It did succeed in creating a hassle of paperwork and clogged cash register lines at package stores selling kegs.

Michigan college kids, say hello to 30-packs, hunch punch, and stomach pumps.

Here's Reason on underage drinking and Jacob Sullum on politicians going Loco over Four Loko. Also watch below on why the feds banned Four Loko:

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  1. Towards the end of college, I gave up beer for Jim Beam. At the beach, simply dump a liter of Coke out and replace with a fifth of Jim Beam. Drink.

    1. We would do that in high school. Dump half the bottle of soda out, refill with liquor of choice that matched soda in color. You look slightly innocent, instead of the drunken reprobate you really are.

    2. Ah, stealth beach drinking. One of my favorite kinds of drinking.

      1. For the females, I would do the same with cheap sangria and Sprite. They loved it.

        1. That probably tasted a whole lot better than the aforementioned Red Bull and vodka that I drank in college.

          Such a gentleman must surely have a newsletter to which one could subscribe.

          1. It’s not awful. My wife actually had some when we had an alcohol emergency when visiting Ft. Lauderdale.

        2. Fancy. We just usually poured a pint of pure grain into a Welch’s Grape Soda 2-liter. Ow, my liver.

          1. They banned pure grain when I first started college here.

            1. “I’ll show them! I’ll drink twice as much vodka from now on!”

              1. I may have said exactly those words.

          2. Take a gallon jug of cheap wine, get in the canoe, and float out in the reservoir. Can’t beat it.

            1. I can’t see a canoe being very conducive to spontaneous drunk sex. Maybe a hummer, but no full-on humpty hump.

              1. Canoes are known as “water insertion assistance devices” (pronounced ‘ wades’)

                1. An old addage: American beer is like having sex in a canoe; very close to water.

    3. Two (32oz) cans of Hawaiian Punch and a 750 of Everclear into a cooler with a tap. I’m pretty sure there’s some permanent damage associated with that.

  2. But if college students and other underage kids really want to get crunk, they’ll find a way.

    From Merriam-Webster

    Definition of CRUNK
    : a style of Southern rap music featuring repetitive chants and rapid dance rhythms
    Origin of CRUNK
    crunk, word of fluctuating meaning used during the 1990s in lyrics of the rap groups OutKast and Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz
    First Known Use: 2000

    I’m not sure how this law will stop college kids from getting crunk, unless you need to be drunk on keg beer to enjoy it.

    1. I was going to say “they could just listen to Outkast.”

    2. crunk started out as crazy drunk

  3. They did the same thing here in Maryland when I was in college. We just bought cases of cheap beer not liquor. It is stupid. Kegs are actually probably more environmentally friendly.

  4. Alt-text, where art thou? I thought we’d covered this. Don’t make us get Suderman involved….

  5. You know who else used to like to tag things?


    2. Your mom?

    3. New characters in Fallout games?

    4. What are you getting at?

  6. I suspect they know it won’t work – just pandering to the electorate.

    1. Ah, the eternal conundrum. Are state legislatures stupid enough to think that banning everything in sight will actually make the world better, or are they just duplicitously pandering to some special interest?

      1. They are in a permanent state of superposition between stupidity and venality.

        1. Schr?dinger’s Lawmaker?

          1. You left off an “s.” Otherwise, you’ve had a remarkable insight into my plan to put Congress in the ISS and to set up a random poisoning system.

  7. We have that stupid shit. We also have a city ordinance banning “inside furniture” being used as “outdoor furniture.”

    Vague and arbitrary laws FTW!

    1. That is as annoying as when elementary school teachers would tell you to use your “inside voices.” As a kid, that pissed me off. If you want to say ‘be quiet’ just say it, lady. I’ll be keeping up my ‘inside ignoring dumb rules’ which coincidentally is just like my ‘outside ignoring dumb rules.’

    2. As someone looking to buy a house, the reverse needs to be banned.

      I’ve been in a dozen houses where obvious patio furniture is setup in the living room. WTF.

      The common thread is that the perpetrators are all old. I call the style “Palm Springs Chic.”

      1. easier to hose down.

    3. Maybe if you didn’t have a propensity for putting a mildewed couch on your porch, that ordinance wouldn’t be necessary.

    4. Guilty. My senior year in college, we kept an abandoned couch from the previous tenants as “patio furniture” for our townhouse. It had blue paisley patterns on it.

      It was very popular, surprisingly. I suppose the standards are low among the perpetually drunk. It was very comfortable to pass out in, I suppose.

      1. A friend of mine in college had one of those. I sat down on it once while waiting for him to answer the door. He popped his head out a minute later and said “Oh, Jesus. Don’t sit on that thing, that’s where the possum lives!”

        1. I was convinced that it would become pungent and animal invested–this was, after all, Central Florida–but it never did, even after two semesters. I credit the liberal introduction of alcohol and maybe contraceptives (we faced the pool and there’s no telling what the couch was used for at night).

          1. Even alligators are afraid of STDs.

            1. That’s a good point. Good thing I wore clothes when sitting on the thing.

    5. No piany on the porch? No kitchenette chairs around the fire pit? I find such to be charming and rustic.

  8. America’s most hickish-sounding regionalisms:

    1) afear’t’a
    2) package store
    3) noun [for ‘none’]

    1. …fuck that, it’s packie (packy) package store is too…complex

    2. creemee (yes, I spelled it correctly): Vermont for “soft serve” or “frozen custard”

      1. creem-ee, or…creem-me???

    3. Kentuckians call almost all sodas “Coke.”

      “I’ll have a Coke.”

      “We have Pepsi and 7-up”

      “Pepsi’s fine.”

      1. That’s dumb. Everything’s Pop.
        My girlfriend’s mom, who’s German, uses the generic “Fanta”.

      2. That’s dumb. Everything’s Pop.
        My girlfriend’s mom, who’s German, uses the generic “Fanta”.

        1. doubleposts suck

      3. You Southerners are so cute with your linguistic quirks and your couch-possums.

        1. Couch-possums sounds positively filthy. Thank you for that, Dagny.

        2. We are also fond of the same street having multiple names depending on where you are on it. Fontaine becomes Euclid, then Ave of Champions, then Bolivar. All within two miles. Take that, GPS map!

          1. Yep. Tallahassee is great at that, too. And I think the Quincy Coke millionaires made everyone say ‘Coke’ for all types of soda also. No really, there’s a tiny little town in North Florida who had a bunch of people buy Coke stock at IPO and become multi-millionaires. Its now going to host a solar power plant. Ignorant hicks my ass.

            1. IIRC, a traveling salesman went through the area in the late 1800’s selling stock for $.25 a share. Turned out to be a pretty good investment.

  9. Ahem, college students have something called fake IDs — it’s how they are able to buy alcohol in the first place.

    So, why wouldn’t they just put the information from the fake ID on the tag?

    1. Also friends older than them. This was how we did it at my college, when you are a senior you buy kegs for the younger kids. Of course we also had two different student run bars on campus where the drinking age was barely enforced.

      1. I presume that the intention is to charge the purchasers of the keg with “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” or whatever.

        So of course, these helpful elder will do exactly what Mr Watkins suggests: buy the young’uns grain alcohol instead.

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