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Cameron Smith: Alabama’s Ban on Margarita Pitchers

August 14, 2017

R Street Institute general counsel Cameron Smith joins Heartland research fellow Jesse Hathaway to talk about R Street’s campaign against cronyism and nanny-statism in Alabama’s liquor laws.

Relying on a statute intended to protect consumers from getting swindled by restaurant owners, the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) effectively banned bars and restaurants from selling pitchers of margarita to consumers, Smith says, citing concerns that the drink’s concentration may vary as it was consumed.

Instead of the government telling adults how they may or may not consume a frosty margarita with friends after work, Smith says the free market should be allowed to refresh consumers, just as it does in most states. Alabama’s ABC exists for the benefit of itself, he says, not for consumers’ benefit or protection.

Smith explains how he became aware of the obscure, arbitrary regulation, and what R Street did to win one for consumers in Alabama. Instead of protecting consumers from danger, Smith says Big Government often colludes with Big Business to squeeze consumers, citing the state’s ABC as a primary example of just another unnecessary layer of bureaucracy getting between consumers and producers.

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Jesse Hathaway is the managing editor of Budget & Tax News, a publication of The Heartland Institute. @JesseinOH