Liquor is quicker

A spate of liquor links:

Steve Gordon wonders why the State of Alabama is in the liquor business at all. Why indeed, especially since private liquor stores (called “package stores”) are also allowed to do business in the state? So, we have a system of public (ABC) stores competing against private stores (public stores have lower (subsidized) prices and shorter hours than private stores) and the alleged raison d’etre for the public stores is protection of the public. If private stores are allowed to operate (which they are), then presumably they also protect the public, which makes one wonder why public stores are necessary. Unless, of course, the “protection” refers to protection from high (market) prices. It’s all very confusing to me.

Slate’s Explainer asks: Why is Moonshine illegal? Oh yeah, now I remember:

Because the liquor is worth more to the government than beer or wine. Uncle Sam takes an excise tax of $2.14 for each 750-milliliter bottle of 80-proof spirits, compared with 21 cents for a bottle of wine (of 14 percent alcohol or less) and 5 cents for a can of beer.

(link via Kevin)

Speaking of Moonshine, the History Channel has a pretty good documentary called “Hillbilly: the real story,” that details the history of moonshining in America. Bonus: it’s hosted and narrated by Billy Ray Cyrus. I’ve had real moonshine right out of a mason jar before. It’s actually not bad, or at least not as bad as you’d expect.

Nearly forgot to link to this excellent song.

Addendum: Here’s an interesting blog for all the whisky connoisseurs out there. The author is actually working on a book about whisky. (Link via Shaun)

5 Responses to “Liquor is quicker”  

  1. 1 shaun

    One more bit of information: you mention that the prices are lower at the ABC stores. How does that work? Well, the package stores pay the same price for their booze that you do at the ABC store. So on Sundays (when all ABC stores are closed) when you pay that extra couple of bucks for that fifth of jack… that’s the profits for your local package store. Nice way for the state to make sure they get the lion’s share of sales, don’t you think?

    About the moonshine. It is actually very easy to make, if you are interested let me know. Some people get really into it and probably end up with as good a product, if not better, than what you buy at your local liquor store.

  2. 2 Dan

    Yeah, all those package stores actually have to buy their liquor from the ABC stores (more or less). They are absolutely required to buy it from the state. Store owners have to buy beer and most wine from distributors that are licensed by the state.

    It might not make sense to you, but the intro to the alcohol section of the Alabama Code makes it clear:

    This chapter shall be deemed an exercise of the police power of the State of Alabama for the protection of the public welfare, health, peace and morals of the people of the state and to prohibit forever the open saloon, and all of the provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of this purpose. [Section 28-3-2(a), Code of Alabama)].

  3. 3 tom

    Thanks for the reminder about the state monopoly on alcohol distribution, Dan. I had forgotten about that. Still, under the public protection rationale, allowing private stores to operate without direct state supervision doesn’t make sense. And, if it is enough to protect us that the state distributes to private stores, why are the public stores necessary?

  1. 1 GordonUnleashed » Blog Archive » Neoprohibition Updates
  2. 2 Raise a Pint on Repeal Day, December 5th! at Punditry by the Pint

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