Election Day Liquor & Drinking Responsibly

Finally, I can buy liquor on Election Day and vote.

Yesterday, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed into law a Senate Bill that permits retailers to sell booze during polling hours. The Distilled Spirits Council called Kentucky’s move the latest trend of states updating “antiquated liquor laws.”

But Kentucky still has 52 dry counties. A couple months ago, I was in Grayson County for a Whisky Advocate story (you’ll need a subscription to read it) and saw these huge banners and billboards to keep nearby Breckinridge County dry.

For the past 105 years, Breckinridge County residents could not purchase alcohol. This, of course, led to bootlegging and moonshining.

Breckinridge County folks were tired of the law meant for their great grandfathers and voted to repeal their county’s Prohibition 3,142 to 2,908, according to the Grayson County News Gazette. After a recount, the vote held and the law goes into effect June 24.

So, within the first four months of 2013, we have two significant shifts in Kentucky booze laws. While Kentucky is home to many distilleries, you should never underestimate the passion and power of those against alcohol.

Within the past year, British doctors campaigned to ban alcohol advertising and ESPN’s Outside the Lines questioned whether alcohol advertisements lead to disorderly conduct in stadiums.

Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), told the Telegraph: “We know that young people are heavily affected by advertising and marketing.”

So, as states like Kentucky repeal old laws, there are new efforts to reintroduce Prohibition-like mandates. While these attempts have yet to gain significant traction and DISCUS maintains a strict code of responsible practices, it’s worth pointing out that the phrase “drinking responsibly” means more than ever.

As soon as a good neighbor in Breckinridge County gets a DUI, the small towns will gossip and a new Prohibition mandate will be up for a vote. And as soon as a hillbilly in suspenders with a fifth in his overalls shows up for voting saying unsavory things, polling workers will demand a change to the Election Day liquor law.

Here’s how we prevent all this: Just drink responsibly. That means know your limit and don’t drive when intoxicated.

For me, drinking means sipping. I don’t drink to get drunk. I drink to taste, to feel a spirit bouncing around my tongue and wonder about its origins. Sipping and analyzing a beverage is a practice of mindfulness, a diligence of notating every burn, every flavor, every enjoyment.

Life is not meant to be enjoyed drunk. It’s meant for moments of clarity with a little amplification from time to time. So, fellow Kentuckians, for the love of God, please don’t vote barely standing drunk. You’ll ruin it for all of us responsible types.

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