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 Reason.tv below on why the feds banned Four Loko: