Why is This Cocktail Tradition Illegal in Massachusetts?
Massachusets has rules and regulations about, well, pretty much everything. When it comes to the bar scene, the business of booze is certainly no exception as the Commonwealth has some of the strictest rules in the country when it comes to serving and consuming alcohol.
In fact, at one point, Time Magazine named Massachusetts the second-worst state to drink in only behind Utah, which high Mormon population has led to more "dry" cities and towns than any other state in the U.S.
If you're a cocktail enthusiast and traveler like myself, you've probably noticed that Massachusetts watering holes are missing something that is extremely popular and lucrative in other states, that's right, we're talking about HAPPY HOUR and why Massachusetts doesn't have it.
Why Doesn't Massachusetts Have Happy Hour?
This answer is pretty simple, Massachusetts doesn't have happy hour because it's illegal. According to NBC News, the discounted sale of alcohol has been prohibited in the Bay State since 1984.
Why is Happy Hour Illegal in Massachusetts?
In the early 1980s, there was an uptick in drunk driving accidents and fatalities across the U.S. and then Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis banned the sale of special or low-priced alcohol in order to curb these incidences. Now, 37 years later, the law still specifically prohibits offering free drinks, discounted drinks, or special ''jumbo'' drinks that cost as much as regular drinks. Offering an unlimited number of drinks for a set price (an all-you-can-drink type of promotion) is still illegal and bars are prohibited from sponsoring contests that award alcoholic drinks as prizes.
Will Happy Hour Ever Be Legalized in Massachusetts?
In recent years there has been a push to remove the regulations that are almost four decades old. NBC News reports that in August of last year, Massachusetts State Rep. Mike Connolly, who represents Cambridge and Somerville, is introducing legislation that would create a task force to look into bringing back happy hour, as part of a statewide effort to support bars and restaurants during and after the pandemic.
Unfortunately for supporters of bringing back happy hour In December, voters lost the chance to weigh in on the overturn when petitioners behind a proposed ballot question "did not submit to advance to the next step in the process" according to MassLive. Which means, it's back to the drawing board.
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