Is Bottomless Brunch Illegal In Your State? These States Have Banned Happy Hours And Two For One Drink Deals, Too

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We know it as "bottomless brunch," but the government knows it as a "low-price, high-volume drink special" — and believe it or not, it's prohibited in a whole bunch of states. The deals we fondly know as happy hour, free birthday drinks, and two-for-one drinks all fall under the "low-price, high-volume alcohol" category, and states like Alaska, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, and Massachusetts have banned the majority of those drink offers. So, is bottomless brunch legal in your state?

Firstly — why all the bans? Well, alcohol-related deaths are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and can happen in a number of ways. Drunk-driving, intoxicated violence, and accidental deaths are strongly correlated with consuming a lot of alcohol (we'll put this in layman's terms: getting drunk.) Put simply, the cheaper the alcohol, the greater the risk you'll drink more, and thus your risk of those potentially-dangerous activities leaps. 

So, it makes sense that states would try to limit your ability to drink a lot, really fast, for really cheap. Nearly every state has a law that prohibits serving visibly drunk people, and just over half of states don't allow some form of "low-price, high-volume drink special." So what about your state?

According to a research report by the Department of Transportation:

  • The 27 states that prohibit some variation of happy hour or drink offers are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
  • The 10 states that prohibit free beverages: Alaska, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia.
  • The 16 states that prohibit additional servings until the buyer has finished their drink: Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia.
  • The 18 states that prohibit reduced-price drinks at a specific date or time: Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
  • The 23 states that prohibit "bottomless brunches" and any other unlimited drink deal for a fixed price and time: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

In fact, here's a graph.

And another, this one happy-hour-specific:

These bans may be on the books, but that doesn't mean they're necessarily enforced throughout the state: Just look at New York, which found out just Monday that bottomless brunch, a city staple, was actually completely prohibited. Many states have laws on the books that are rarely, if ever, enforced by lawmakers and cops.

Images: StopAlcoholAbuse.gov

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