Archive for March 14th, 2011

Liquor Law

One or more of you could break into the publishing biz by writing a book on liquor law.

They are a human comedy.

Because the twenty first amendment repealing Prohibition specifically put the control of alcoholic beverages into state hands, every state was thrown into a major battle.

In South Carolina, each liquor store has a red dot somewhere on its front.

In 1940, South Carolina legalized liquor stores, over enormous opposition. Since each state has absolutely no restrictions on its liquor law, every aspect of the law must be passed by compromise with hard shell Baptists and screaming Methodists who, at the time, made up over ninety percent of the state’s population.

So one compromise was that, though liquor stores could exist, they could not advertise.

One Prohibitionist took that to court before the law took effect and obtained a court ruling that that provision prohibited the liquor store having a sign that said “Liquor Store.”

As a result of that one person’s initiative, none of the new liquor stores could say they sold liquor.

So one new store owner had an idea. He proposed to all the other new store owners that they paint their stores a bright, eye-hurting orange with large red dots on it. Twenty years later it looked like someone on LSD had made it up.

When South Carolina liquor stores opened in 1940 there was no way anyone could fail to know what they were. Eye-hurting orange with three-foot-across red spots became the signal of every such business in the state.

“Sign? We don’t need no steenking SIGN!”

And even today every single liquor store in the state has at least a couple of red dots.

In fact, thinking about it, I don’t remember what the sign at the local liquor store actually says.