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Hedmans Brorsa

Dry counties

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Hedmans Brorsa

In the "Conecuh Ridge controversy" thread the phenomenon dry county was mentioned. I somehow took it for granted that this was a left-over compromise from Prohibition but from a (rather primitive) Google search I draw the conclusion that some of these counties predate prohibition by almost a hundred years.

Can someone here possibly provide me with a historical background or, alternatively, pass forward a link to a good web site? Thanks!

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TNbourbon

To this day there remain many dry counties in states around the country, but especially in the South. Even in Kentucky and Tennessee -- the whiskey/bourbon axis, if you will -- dry counties today outnumber so-called 'wet' ones.

In fact, even before national Prohibition was enacted in 1920, 33 states (including Tennessee) encompassing 63 percent of the population had voted themselves dry.

I'd hate to try to point you to a "best" site about Prohibition, but just run a Google search for "history of Prohibition" and/or "history of the temperance movement" and you'll find plenty of references.

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Hedmans Brorsa

Thanks! I will dig deeper into it. I cannot claim to be particularly steeped in this era of American history. Of course I realize that the enactment of prohibition didn´t come out of the blue but I was surprised to learn that some counties in Texas appear to have gone dry already in 1850. Apparently it was a long day´s journey into night.

We actually had a similar movement in Sweden at roughly the same time but they never got closer than ration books. In 1922 their efforts came to an end when they were defeated in a national referendum (it was a close shave, though!).

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cowdery

Most states have something called "local option" that lets counties and even smaller jurisdictions, like precints, vote themselves dry. The current legal mechanisms for this were put in place after prohibition. Exactly what the mechanisms were before prohibition I don't exactly know, but the states certainly had the right to enact statewide prohibition and many did prior to national prohibition. Presumably, many or possibly all states had local option in place then too, at least permitting counties to vote themselves dry.

The original concept of federalism was that the states were sovereign and the United States was supposed to be a kind of federation of sovereign states. The states still have the primary "police powers," which means most ordinary crimes are matters of state law and handled by state courts. Long way of answering the question and I'm not sure I really did, but now that I've typed all this, I guess I'll post it.

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Hedmans Brorsa

Long way of answering the question and I'm not sure I really did, but now that I've typed all this, I guess I'll post it.

It´s a good answer - thanks a lot! This "local option" is a bit of a curio to me because I don´t think that this has ever been a reality in Scandinavia. This is, of course, due to the fact that here alcohol is the responsibility of the central government.

The only powers that the Swedish equivalents to counties (Kommuner in Swedish) can wield as far as I know is to grant licenses to restaurants and their ilk.

Returning to US conditions, are the states with dry/wet counties the same as the ones where liquor sales are "free", that is, not being sold via state-controlled ABC stores? Is there a connection here?

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musher

Returning to US conditions, are the states with dry/wet counties the same as the ones where liquor sales are "free", that is, not being sold via state-controlled ABC stores? Is there a connection here?

In many cases, it isn't even a matter of state control. Here in Minnesota, we have the control of off-sale beer, wine and liquor (sold in the package, vs. on-sale, where it is served by the glass, open can, open bottle, etc) at the city level.

It seems as though about 1/4 of the cities own and operate the liquor stores. The rest merely license them as private, commercial businesses.

I don't know anything about the existence of any dry counties or cities here, but I have heard of some cities where there are no liquor stores.

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ratcheer

No. Here in Alabama, all liquor sales are by or through the state ABC board. But, many or most of the counties are dry.

Tim

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bluesbassdad

If one has the misfortune to live in a dry county, is it legal to buy alcohol in a nearby wet county and transport it to one's home to drink? Does the answer vary by state?

My only experience in this regard came while on vacation about ten years ago. The town of Mountain View, Arkansas (home of the Ozark Folk Center, among a few other attractions) is in a dry county, and, IIRC, only one adjoining county is wet. We drove there, stopped at the liquor store conveniently located just over the county line, and happily picked up a couple of six-packs of mass-produced beer at an inflated price.

While driving back to our motel my wife asked, "Are we bootleggers now?" I did not and do not know the answer.

While trying to get an answer to my question by searching via Google a few moments ago, I came upon some truly astounding sites, such as this one and this one. And here's one that may interest the attorneys here. I'd say the battle still rages, at least in some of the so-called "red" states. (The answer to my question may be implicit in this article.)

Yours truly,

Dave Morefield

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cowdery

are the states with dry/wet counties the same as the ones where liquor sales are "free", that is, not being sold via state-controlled ABC stores? Is there a connection here?

No correlation. I associate (though perhaps inaccurately) dry counties with Kentucky, Tennessee and the states of the Confederacy. That doesn't correlate to the control states. Some of those states are (Virginia), some aren't (Kentucky) and many control states (e.g., Ohio, Pennsylvania) are not in that group.

The dichotomy is control states (the state owns all liquor stores) and license states (the stores are privately owned but licensed by the state). In some control states, the stores are privately owned but the state is the sole distributor and sets prices.

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Hedmans Brorsa

Interesting articles, Dave! The temperance movement seems to be alive and kicking at least in some parts of the US.Judging by the first link, 'No' seems to be their favourite word in the English language. Is this just a small but loud fraction of "fire & brimstone" types or do they (horror of horrors!) exercise a considerable amount of influence?

The president of Citizens Against Alcohol in Craighead County mentioned in the second article had a suspiciously Swedish-sounding surname (Jacobson). How embarrasing! grin.gif

Veering sligthly off topic, I wonder if there is a common theme between the states that Chuck call Control states? Are there possibly any political, religious, cultural or historical connections?

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musher

Is this just a small but loud fraction of "fire & brimstone" types or do they (horror of horrors!) exercise a considerable amount of influence?

I would suspect that it is the former rather than the latter. The only question is whether or not they are able to make enough noise to get any serious attention.

We have an expression in the US (and maybe in other countries and languages, as well); "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." In this case, though, the "squeaky wheel" seems to be against being "lubricated". smirk.gif

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tdelling

> Most states have something called "local option" that lets counties and even

> smaller jurisdictions, like precints, vote themselves dry.

Another intersting "local option" is the Open Container law.

Some states (Montana, Wyoming and Mississippi) don't have a state-level

ban on drinking while you are driving, so it's up to to local lawmakers to

enact these (or not).

http://www.dpeg.org/drugs_and_society/montana_open_container.htm

So yes, it's legal in certain places to drink a beer while you're driving

your car!

Tim Dellinger

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tdelling

> The temperance movement seems to be alive and kicking at least in some parts

> of the US.

>...

> Is this just a small but loud fraction of "fire & brimstone" types or do they

> (horror of horrors!) exercise a considerable amount of influence?

Well, there are a lot of movements in the U.S. that are still alive and

kicking! You name it, they've got a website. Secession of the Southern

states? They're still kicking! How about Communist overthrow of the U.S.

Government? You bet!

I'd venture a guess that the largest and most powerful Prohibition

organization/movement you'll find is MADD (Mothers Against

Drunk Driving). Many members are rational people who really want

to decrease drunk driving, but many members are raving lunatics who

want to enact all kinds of absurd laws to prohibit alcohol any way

that they can.

Tim Dellinger

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bobbyc

MADD (Mothers Against

Drunk Driving).

I didn't realise their scope was beyond what the name implies. Their cause is a serious one, I doubt anyone here really feels their rights are compromised because of not being able to legally operate a motor vehicle while impaired.

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wadewood

Define impaired. Is it the .08 level that the federal government blackmailed (by threatening to suspend federal highway funds) all the states to enacting?

Is it a first sip of a the first drink that week while driving?

I'm jokingly a member of DAMM; Drinks against Mad Mothers. I think the pendulum has swung a little too far.

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tdelling

> I didn't realise their scope was beyond what the name implies.

Well, the founder quit, calling the organization "overzealous".

Like most political fights, there's huge variation in agendas and

attitudes, so the standard political stuff happens: extremisits

on both sides get the headlines, the issue becomes polarized, both

sides exaggerate and lie with statistics, each side points out

how crazy the extremists on the other side are, each side questions

the motives/partriotism/honesty/values of the other side, strategies

evolve to incrementalism, positions are modearated and extremism

and pseudo-science are outsourced, etc. etc. etc., wash rinse repeat.

People from MADD have, in the past, advocated

- increasing alcohol taxes

- banning all alcohol advertizing

- banning beer at professional baseball and football games

- reducing the drunk driving thresholds to levels where using mouthwash

would get you convicted (an absolute "no tolerance" policy)

A random googled quote:

The founder of MADD, Candy Lightner, believes it is moving in the wrong

direction. "It has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I ever wanted

or envisioned," said MADD's founder. "I didn't start MADD to deal with

alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving."

Tim Dellinger

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jbutler

Disclaimer:

Ken Weber was having some trouble with this image, and so I sized and posted it for him. Whatever you read into it is his fault. grin.gif

post-3-14489811782572_thumb.jpg

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wrbriggs

I understand "wet" and "dry" counties, but what exactly is a "moist" county? This whole map comes across in a very dirty way...

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BSS

Moist counties are ones that have a wet city within a dry county. Kentucky has several different types of wet-dry counties. Here is a much better map, but my 7 year old computer couldn't handle the pdf. So here's the link: Map

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Ken Weber

If you find Butler County on the map, you will notice that it is in the midst of a number of dry counties. My relatives, being the enterprising types, made a living in the liquor distribution business. It is very interesting to note that some liquor stores on the county line do an unusually large volume in 200ml bottles of Ancient Age.

Ken

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cowdery

I came across the following information about control and license states on the U.S. Department of Transportation web site.

Control States control the sale of distilled spirits and in some cases, wine, through government agencies at the wholesale level. There are 18 Control States (Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming) and one county (Montgomery County, Maryland). The remaining 32 States are License States, where the wholesale and retail sales of distilled spirits and wine are wholly in the hands of private sellers.

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Hedmans Brorsa

Thanks!

The common denominator, if there is one, is that the north-east seems to be overrepresented and the west wholly absent.

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ratcheer

The west is not wholly absent: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming is 6 of the 18 control states. And some might call Iowa a western state.

Tim

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Hedmans Brorsa

Ooops! Guilty as charged. blush.gif

Henceforth I´ll keep my reading glasses close at hand while checking posts. smile.gif

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