Monday, March 17, 2014

Beer Ye! Beer Ye! All hail the ale! (or stout as the case may be)

jpg of beer on green background with text "hoppy st. patrick's day"
March 17, 2014

Traditionally verdant celebrations are nigh, and you might already be thinking about tipping back some black, even if it's green with dye. But have you stopped to think, before you drink, about whence your ale arrives?

Every day over ten-million pints of Guinness are consumed around the world - many of those pints here in the U.S. What does it take to get the beer from there to here? I'll give you a hint: it doesn't fly across the Atlantic on the beak of a toucan, old tv ads notwithstanding.

jpg of classic guiness ad showing a toucan and pints
Classic Guinness Ad

Beer (alcohol) is regulated at the federal and state levels. Whether you want to import beer, brew your own, or pop down to the pub for some home-state hops, the government is getting involved. If you want to brush up on the laws and regulations look to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau or the Washington State Liquor Control Board. Of course, if you're online you can cruise beer-centric blawgs like BreweryLaw, Bevlog, Alcohol Law Review, or the Alcoholic Beverages Law Blog by Stoel Rives. And if you're studying in the library you can hit up the books and the databases. HeinOnline is a great place to pick up articles; ready to read about Idaho's past and present regulations, or consider urban policy on malt liquors? LexisNexis Academic offers up some state statutes and regulations, as well as cases chock-full of trivia.

As you get caught up in the glorious (legal) world of beer, here's your frank reminder to avoid alcoholism. One in five members of the legal community tend to drink too much, too often. If you need a hand, reach out to the local lawyer assistance program (look here for a state-by-state directory), or call a hotline for help.

Now, with sources by your side, venture forth and have a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day!

By the by - if you happen to be interested in further fact-finding missions, you might want to consult the original pub-style tie-breaker - the Guinness Book of World Records; yes, the beer and the book are related

Graphics from and - hover over image for link. 

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