New Missouri Beer Law Written by 5th-Graders

beer happy sadClearly out of ideas on how to piss off responsible drinkers, Missouri is considering a law to curb drunk driving… suggested by the informed legislators at Jefferson Country elementary. Sploid has the best overview:

At the suggestion of a fifth-grader, Sen. Bill Alter has entered a bill that would ban the sale of beer at temperatures lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The idea is to lower the likelihood of folks cracking a “road brew” on the way home from the store.

“The only reason why beer would need to be cold is so that it can be consumed right away,” argues Alter, who has been a police offer for more than 20 years, said Thursday.

The bill reads (PDF) “(I)t shall be unlawful for any grocery store or convenience store … to sell or expose for sale … beer that is refrigerated below sixty degrees Fahrenheit on the premises.” Anybody not in compliance would be subject to loss of their liquor license.

More rational minded businesses aren’t enthused:

Ron Leone, of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association is not thrilled about the movement. “It would be an inconvenience for law-abiding citizens who want to purchase cold beer for picnics, parties and social gatherings,” he said. “People who want to drive drunk will drive drunk anyway.”

They’re scraping the bottom of the barrel to make life annoying when they’re asking kids to propose laws. Hell, a drunk driver who really wants to sate their alcoholic thirst while on the road isn’t going to be deterred by this anyways when they can simply buy a fifth of jack, mix it with an ice-cold coke and call it good.

Update: I had this queued up to post a little later, but since Free Talk Live is currently discussing it on air (8pm til 10pm ET), I thought everyone might like to call in to them. I’ll put up a link to the podcast later.

Update the Second: Link to FTL podcast hour 1 (mp3).

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. Apparently they don’t know anything about beer either. Most types of beer are actually much better at room temperature.

    Only pilsner and lager taste best cold.

  2. ochreous – good point :)

    Not that it should be illegal to crack open a cold one or a warm one in the car… there is a legal limit for drunkenness. Who cares if you approach it whilst driving?

  3. Good point, Matt. I grew up in New Orleans, home of the drive through daquiri shops and “go” cups. I moved to Texas in ’95 would have a beer in the car if I felt like it and almost got arrested leaving a Deep Ellum bar with a beer. I had to show my LA license to avoid jail. Thankfully, I had not yet changed my address. I met my husband in ’98- I thought he was going to have a heart attack when I took my glass of red in the car to finish. (He really did have one when it spilled on the beige floorboard.) But is is now 2006 and I would sooner have my right arm cut off before I get into a car with a drink. I do not think anyone should drive impaired, but sitting here smiling at old times, I am amazed at how quickly we accept it all.

  4. Another fine example of social engineering. The state can’t trust the average citizen to not drink and drive, so they punish every citizen by making it illegal for grocers to sell you a cold beer. Talk about a violation of you personal liberties! Can you say, “Parens Patriae”? (See: for more information.)

  5. Since when is cold beer a civil liberty? How about my civil liberty to drive on the roads without the danger of drunks? I agree with some of the points made of above. It is an inconvenience to responsible drinkers. But if the law could save even one life, would it not be worth it? I don’t necessarily support this proposed law, just throwing out some arguments that are sure to come up.

  6. I’m sure we could make a lot of laws that retricted everyone’s lives in a grossly overzealous manner in order to “save even one life.”

    But ask yourself, at what point is that life really worth living, if all your choices are made for you?

  7. Since we all are for state’s rights, every state has the right to be idiots if they so choose. Taking a grade-schooler’s idea for creating a law is pretty much the same as having Brown for FEMA. Being governed by nitwits is nothing new.

  8. Should we prohibit people from driving with a cup of coffee? It is my experience that spilling hot coffee in my lap makes me drive like an idiot. I jump around in my seat freaking out over my burning skin and my stained shirt/skirt. Because I have a somewhat normal schedule, this usually happens near a school zone where there are many children. I would hate it if the government did not protect these children from my clumsiness. We have to also protect the poor driver who might be next to me on the freeway as I try to clean the stain while driving 70 mph. The government should protect him as I weave into his lane. I think right after the coffee ban, we should move right on to lipstick and mascara. And then they can police my spending. After all, if they really want to protect marriage, they could end marital spats by signing an amendment dictating the amount a spouse should spend on a dress. Limits, limits- The government should protect us from every irresponsible act.

  9. If it would save one life, not driving at all would save some 50,000 plus a year, would it be worth it. Whiskey, cognac, red wine are all to be consumed warm-HMMM. If the drunk can’t make it home with a cold sixer, warm is not going to stop him either, what nexxt stop selling ice, deliver liquor and instead of a signature, require car keys, come on this is stupid. They tried prohibition and it stopped no one, this would not change anything except maybe lower the convenience stores electric bill!

  10. While selling warm beer may help curb DUI in some cases (very few, I assume) it has another side effect that should be considered by Missouri lawmakers: Beer deteriorates quickly when kept at warmer temperatures – the more flavour a beer has the more bad effects are to be expected. Many microbrewers require wholesalers and stores to keep their beer refrigerated – to order warm storage by law would mean that Microbrews would be pushed out of the market.

  11. It seems like a good idea, but i dont think the results would be anything to rave over. I may be wrong, and dont have facts to back it up but i would assume a very small percentage of DUI cases are from people actually buying beer and drinking it on the way home. I would say for the most part its people leaving bars that are the big DUI problem.

  12. Just goes to show, not everything that can be done, should be done. Yes, this law could save the proverbial “just one life,” but that’s not good enough to justify the expense of enacting and enforcing it, unless you pretend that expense is zero.

    The world is a lot more interconnected than we realize, so it might be better to engage the fifth-graders in a little Socratic dialogue about what other effects their proposed law would have.

    Yours truly,

    …late to the party…