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

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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