Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Why We Aren’t Razorbacks

June 15th, 2009 · 10 Comments

arkansasdrycountiesLook, we’ve occasionally been as tempted as the next Mongolian monarch to pull up stakes and move to Arkansas. But every time the urge hits, we remember that Al Green’s birthplace boasts the toughest liquor laws in the nation—even tougher than those in Utah, where we once had a devil of a time finding an ice-cold beer. And while we’re all for the principle of local control over certain matters, we’d be none-too-enthused to live in a state where an entity called the Dry Counties Coalition can attract hundreds of enthusiastic demonstrators to the steps of the capitol building.

Click on the image above for the full map of Arkansas’s counties by relative wetness; 42 of the state’s 75 counties are dry, though there are usually exceptions made for “private clubs.” For the record, our objection to dryness is not entirely due to personal preference; we are also strong believers in the “beer theory of civilization”, and thus shudder to think of the consequences of ubiquitous sobriety.

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • Jordan

    And the immigrant Californians here in Oregon get pissy when they realize that they can’t buy liquor in groceries stores. Some people need a little perspective.

    Personally, I’m grateful for Oregon’s somewhat lax laws concerning distilleries. Artisan distillers are popping up with greater and greater frequency and from what I can gather from the results so far, this is a very good thing. I will be a sad, sad person when I move somewhere that won’t sell me Aviation gin.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @Jordan: I went to school in Connecticut, and have terrible memories of the no-beer-after-8 blue law. In the grocery stores, they’d padlock canvas tarps over the beer aisles promptly at the appointed hour. An abomination, I tell ye.

  • Johnny

    I forwarded this link to a friend in Little Rock. Her response:

    “What can I say? People are pretty religious around here. I think it just leads to more car accidents, because drunk-ass people have to drive over to the next county to buy more booze.”

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @Johnny: Gotta love that Law of Unintended Consequences…

  • minderbender

    And yet it’s easier to find an inexpensive beer in Little Rock than in Manhattan…

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @minderbender: That sad fact is pretty much the bane of my existence.

  • Brian Moore

    Having lived in Little Rock for 4 years, there is no problem finding a drink.

    Also, if you ever do want to move to Arkansas and still want to drink, I recommend Benton county, in the northwest corner. A short drive across the border into Missouri you can find “Interstate Liquor,” which is a literal Disneyworld of alcoholic options.

    My only hesitation in frequenting this fine establishment is that each year, around votin’ time, they (and other out-of-county liquor businesses) get together with those same Dry Counties Coalition types to keep the place dry — because it’s great business for them. It’s kind of a strange match — hardcore religious types and out of town liquor stores — teaming up to elect stupid politicians.

    Finally, the “private clubs” policy is actually pretty hilarious in action. In reality, nearly every single place is a “private club” including such exclusive locations as “Applebees.” They even make you sign a “private club membership” book when you arrive, which doubles as your reservation. I am currently a member in good standing of dozens of “private clubs” around the nice-but-sometimes-silly state of Arkansas.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @Brian Moore: Many thanks for the Razorback’s-eye view. Not surprised about the team-up between the DCC and the Missouri liquor emporiums. Reminds me of the unholy alliance between Texas tattoo parlors and Oklahoma Baptists, who annually agree to keep tattooing illegal in the Sooner State.

    The private clubs thing is in effect in Utah, too. Think it’s a little more stringent there, though not by much. I never had a problem finding a drink in Salt Lake City; the more LDS-ish towns to the south were a different story, though.

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