From Modern Bar Cart:

What’s shakin, cocktail fans?

Welcome to Episode 166 of The Modern Bar Cart Podcast!

Thanks for joining us for another interview episode, where we seek out the best and brightest minds in the spirits and cocktail world so that we can share their secrets with you. This time around, we have the distinct pleasure of chatting with alcohol policy expert and recently published author Jarrett Dieterle, whose book – Give Me Liberty and Give me a Drink – is a groundbreaking summary of the crazy alcohol laws that govern every nook and cranny of the American landscape. Whether we’re talking about the surprising cities that allow drinking in public (shout out to Erie, PA and Butte, MT), or the states where you have to mix your cocktails behind a screen (lookin’ at you, Utah…), this book is a super accessible resource text for contemporary legislation, as well as a treasure trove of cocktail wisdom.

In this wide-ranging and incredibly revelatory interview with Jarrett Dieterle, booze policy wonk and author of Give Me Liberty and Give me a Drink, some of the topics we discuss include:

  • How Jarrett fused his career in alcohol policy with his passion for great drinks to generate a text that questions the inconsistencies of our fragmented nation’s alcohol purchasing and consumption policies.

  • Why we think it’s important to frame most of these legislative questions in terms of a “freedom vs. security” stance, otherwise figured as a “conservation vs. risk” query. Jarrett does a great job of re-framing this nuanced stance of mine by demonstrating how most of our nation’s alcohol regulations do a poor job of optimizing for both freedom AND security.

  • Now, don’t get us wrong – both Jarrett and the Modern Bar Cart team are very outspoken advocates for responsible and healthy consumption by way of reasonable regulations…but as we’ll demonstrate there are a ton of regulations in our nation that don’t even come close to being reasonable…and we show you some of the craziest ones that you might not even believe if you don’t live in the jurisdictions where they’re in place.

  • We also talk about Blue Laws, alcohol control states, and the bizarre battles that poor lawmaking can create between industries that would otherwise coexist peacefully – such as bars and restaurants and the alcohol producers who support them.

  • But, we’re not just here to complain. Jarrett and The Modern Bar Cart really dig into some of these laws, identify some of the faulty reasoning behind them, and really lay bare some of the iniquities behind them that we, as US citizens, have the capacity to change.

  • Finally, we conclude this episode by considering the contemporary legislative changes that have been rapidly changing in the wake of the COVID-19 Coronavirus and what these might mean for the future of Alcohol legislation in the United States.

This was a tough set of bullet points to craft, mostly because Jarrett leads us through a mushy maze of really partisan and super nuanced issues that you really can’t take a firm stand on without crushing some of that crucial nuance.

Let me make this clear: We like booze, on its own and in cocktail form. We ultimately skew more toward freedom in the spirits space than we do security, so please know that when you listen to this episode. That being said, we want to emphasize our podcast catch-phrase here so that we’re not at risk of sounding like anti-regulation booze-mongers – and that catch-phrase is: “Drink Responsibly, Experiment Boldy.”

But, before we get too deep into the seriously backward rules that prohibit gas stations in Indiana from refrigerating their beer, let’s take a little breather so that you can make yourself a drink.

Listen here.