Category: Alcohol

Late Morning Links

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Federal Judge Strikes Down Prohibition-Era Restrictions on Alcohol Sales in Kentucky

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Jack Brammer writes:

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a Kentucky law prohibiting grocery and convenience stores from selling wine and distilled spirits is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II of Louisville ruled that the state law “violates the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause in that it prohibits certain grocery stores, gas stations and others … from obtaining a license to sell package liquor and wine.”

In Kentucky locations where alcohol sales are allowed, beer — but not wine or spirits — may be sold in grocery stores. Grocery stores, however, may get a license to sell wine and liquor if they provide a separate entrance to that part of the store, where minors are not allowed to work. A store employee of legal age also is required to conduct beer sales.

Such requirements do not apply to drug stores.

“You can walk into a large CVS or Walgreen’s and they can have as many groceries to sell as many grocery stores do. Yet they can sell alcoholic beverages in the store while a grocery cannot,” said Steve Pitt, a Louisville attorney who represents Maxwell’s Pic-Pac, Inc. and the Food and Wine Coalition in their civil lawsuit against the state Alcoholic Beverage Control.

If it stands, the ruling could swamp the state with license applications from grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations that want to sell liquor and wine.

The judge wrote in his 29-page order that there is little difference today between grocery stores and drug stores.

Pitt said the ruling will allow more convenience for consumers, especially those who shop in grocery stores. He noted that the ruling does not affect businesses in a dry county that prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Eric Gregory, president of the Frankfort-based Kentucky Distillers’ Association, said his group’s members have not had a chance to discuss Heyburn’s ruling.

The group has opposed proposals in the state legislature to allow sales of distilled spirits in grocery stores, saying it would hurt small liquor retail businesses.

Daniel Meyer, executive secretary and general counsel of Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of Kentucky, based in Louisville, said he was “surprised” by the ruling but noted that it was not a final order.

“We were not a part of the lawsuit,” Meyer said. “I guess now we’ll have to see what the parties have to say about it and what this conference the judge wants might produce.”

The law dealing with the sale of wine and liquor in pharmacies and grocery stores dates to Prohibition, when prescriptions could be obtained to buy alcohol at drug stores, Meyer said.

The sales were restricted in grocery stores, he said, because the thought was that minors are often in grocery stores and should not be exposed to booze.

Kentucky has a hodgepodge of laws dealing with the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Gov. Steve Beshear has set up a special task force headed by Public Protection Secretary Robert Vance to try to modernize and streamline Kentucky’s laws.

It is to hold the first of three public forums Thursday in Frankfort and report its recommendations to Beshear in January for possible consideration during the 2013 General Assembly.

-Eapen Thampy

2002 Jarvis Cabernet Sauvignon; 2004 Jarvis “Lake William”

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012


By Eapen Thampy, Americans for Forfeiture Reform.

I recently had the very good fortune to taste two excellent bottlings from northeastern Napa winery Jarvis over the last week that I thought were worth sharing.  If you’re ever in Napa, Jarvis is a winery worth visiting; the facilities are contained entirely in a cave system that make for quite the tour. Dimitri Tchelistcheff, the son of legendary Napa wine legend André Tchelistcheff, has been the winemaker since 1994. Robert Parker does taste these wines but I was unable to find a report for these bottles.

We first opened the 2002 Jarvis Cabernet Cabernet Sauvignon (375ml). On opening, the wine exhibited the pleasant and distinct aroma of pencil lead (graphite), cherry preserves, dark currant, and pepper; the wine itself was silky in texture, with vanilla and round berry flavors and a sweetness that wasn’t overwhelming. After ten years in the bottle, this wine is in its prime and could last another 5-8 years if you have any and are willing to hold on. (Estimated Retail, $30-$35)

The second bottle we opened was the 2004 Jarvis “Lake William” blend made from 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. In comparison to the 2002 Jarvis Cabernet Sauvigon the “Lake William” is a bigger, “fleshier” wine, with more structure and a integrated palate of toasty vanilla, berry compote, and dark cocoa. I would imagine this bottle has another 5-10 years of life left, and patience will be rewarded as this wine continues to evolve in bottle. (Estimated retail $90-$105)







Island King Pineapple Wheat Beer

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

I was asked for a homebrew recipe, so here’s one that brews quickly and is perfect for this time of year. Island King Pineapple Wheat is light, easy to make, and easy to drink. It’s also not too common to see a pineapple beer at all, so it tends to be a hit at parties.


English-Only Beer Sales? ¡No, Gracias!

Friday, July 6th, 2012

I just love things like the beer ad at right. Dutch beer. Spanish language copy. American bus stop (specifically, Los Angeles). One person who might not like it so much? Knox County, Tenn. Commissioner Mike Brown.

As far as he’s concerned, if you want to get a beer permit in this county, you’d better be able to speak English.

Or he’ll vote against you.

“Yes, it’s not right. If you can’t understand English, then you can’t understand the law,” said Brown, who represents the 9th District, which encompasses the southern part of the county.

Brown, because he is a commissioner, sits on the county beer board, which regulates beer permits in the county. It meets once a month, and applicants must get the board’s permission to sell beer.

More here.

The editorial board of the Knoxville News Sentinel rightly referred to the proposal–which is apparently D.O.A.–“clearly unconstitutional,” and also explained why it’s nonsense at the practical level.

Business owners don’t have to speak English fluently in order to sell products. Many legal immigrants who came here to build a better life from countries all over the globe have used the successful operation of small businesses such as convenience stores and family-owned grocery markets to achieve the American Dream. Brown’s proposal would have turned some legal immigrants into second-class citizens.

You can let Commissioner Brown know how you feel about his proposal (no threats or expletives in any language!) by emailing him at

Baylen Linnekin

Food, Drink, and the Declaration of Independence

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

The fabulous Randy Barnett has a great post up at the Volokh Conspiracy today in which he annotates the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence. While Barnett credits the Declaration as being “powerful stuff”–which it is–his post on the topic itself inspired a few goosebumps when I read it this morning.

The one part of Barnett’s post I find lacking (or maybe stunted) is where he writes of the Declaration’s

famous reference to ‘a long train of abuses and usurpations’ and the list that follows. In some cases, these specific complaints account for provisions eventually included in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

He’s right, but by only alluding to the list that follows (and stopping his annotation short of that) he leaves readers hanging a bit. OK, maybe not all readers. But I’m the most captive of audiences when it comes to looking at the meaning and origins of the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. In fact, my own ongoing research in this area looks at the many ways in which British violations of American colonists rights in food led Thomas Jefferson and his fellow signers to list the “long train of abuses and usurpations” by the British, and James Madison later to enshrine in the Bill of Rights protections of individual rights meant to stem future abuses and usurpations by the new American government.

What’s that mean, exactly? Well, in the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson’s “long train” includes the fact the King has caused British troops to be quartered in colonial taverns and homes “to harass our people, and eat out their substance”—a direct reference to two quartering acts enacted by the British in the 1760s and 1770s. (And so yes–if you were paying attention you noted that the word “eat” appears in the Declaration of Independence.) These abominable quartering laws required colonists not just to house British troops but to provide them with certain enumerated food and drink. When James Madison later authored the Bill of Rights, he needed look back no further than the aforementioned “long train of abuses and usurpations” to be reminded that the quartering of British troops (very much including the compelled provisioning of food and drink) was one of the American colonists’ greatest grievances against the British in the period leading up to the American Revolution. Hence, the Third Amendment.

Another good example of the vital relationship between food and drink and the rights we enjoy today as Americans–also part of my research–also ties in nicely with today’s holiday. That link is the essential one between the Revolutionary- and pre-Revolutionary-era gatherings that took place in colonial American taverns and the language and spirit of the Assembly Clause. If you’d like to read my recent Hastings Constitutional Law Journal article on that topic–Tavern Talk & the Origins of the Assembly Clause–check it out here. If you’d rather crack a beer and skip to the good parts, then crack said beer and hit play to check out this new video clip in which I raise a glass to the Assembly Clause, colonial American taverns and their modern iterations, our Founding Fathers, and Independence.

Happy Independence Day, America!

Baylen Linnekin

Morning Links

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Ending State Liquor Monopolies

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Jonathan Turley, in USA Today.

Seventeen states continue to exercise control over liquor as absurd relics from the 1930s. Ironically, there is no better example of the failures of central planning than the “ABC stores” around the country from Alabama to Pennsylvania. Indeed, if Karl Marx were alive and trying to buy Schnapps today, he might reconsider aspects of Das Kapital after dealing with our central alcohol planners.

These and other laws seem based on the belief that “for the bureaucrat, the world is a mere object to be manipulated by him.” The man who said that was Marx, a great believer in central control. These states have allowed a fixed bureaucracy to take hold of a market — a self-perpetuating and inefficient middleman in the market.

Unlike Marx’s vision, free enterprise is the touchstone of our society. With such free enterprise comes free choice — not simply the freedom to choose between the options approved by the government. Smith in The Wealth of Nations stressed that “it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

Smith could just as well have added that it should also not be from the benevolence of the bureaucrat any more than the brewer — at least in deciding our drink of choice.

Turley starts the piece with a salvo at conservatives for giving a pass to state-run liquor stores, while seeing socialism just about everywhere else. That might be true in Utah, but in states considering reform right now, it’s generally Republicans who are trying to privatize state-controlled booze, and Democrats who are opposing them.

Morning Links

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Morning Links

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Links

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Sunday Links

Sunday, May 20th, 2012


Saturday Links

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Late Morning Links

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Late Morning Links

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012