Alcohol laws are different between countries all over the world, bordering from the strict to the bizarre to the weird. Did you know that in El Salvador, the punishment for first offense drunk driving is death by firing squad? This and many more strange alcohol related laws exist in many countries today.
Prohibition has been in vogue in many countries at some time or the other. This caused mass scale bootlegging and illicit trade in liquor, so much so that the laws had to be repealed and changed. Canada, India, Nordic Countries and the United States all have had prohibition which had been subsequently withdrawn. Muslim countries Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Sudan and Libya prohibit production, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in any form since drinking alcohol goes against the tenets of Islam.
A country wise look at some alcohol related laws will be in order.
Nigeria – Nigerians consume more beer than any other African country and is one of the biggest markets for beer in the world. Guinness manufactures more than a third of its output in the country. Hence in a bid to protect its domestic beer industry, Nigeria has banned import of beer and has made it illegal to brew beer at home.
Sweden – Beer is available at restaurants, bars and grocery stores but alcohol content has to be 3.5%v/v or less. For stronger beer, Swedes have to go to Government run liquor stores. Further, it is illegal for grocery stores to sell beer after 7.00pm.
England – Alcohol laws are fairly relaxed in England. Pubs are a part of English heritage and have been there for centuries. Millions of Brits go pub hopping every day for their favourite tippler. There is a rider here though. It is illegal to get caught drunk in a pub, surprising since that is the very purpose of visiting a pub.
Thailand – Thailand being a tourist hotspot, there are no alcohol restrictions per se. However, selling of alcohol between 2.00pm to 5.00pm and from midnight till 11.00am is not permitted at liquor stores, bars and restaurants.
India – The onus of determining liquor laws is on individual States of the Union and there are 29 of them. States like Bihar, Gujarat, Manipur and Nagaland have total prohibition. The rules in Maharashtra are rather complex. There is no age restriction for wine, but 21 is the legal age for drinking beer and 25 for hard liquor. However, in all cases, a licence is required to have a drink, available after applying for the same at a Government Civil Hospital.
Australia – All States in Australia have fixed their legal drinking age at 18. In Victoria and New South Wales, alcohol will not be sold to anyone less than 18 years of age unless accompanied by a guardian or spouse. Further, minors are not allowed in premises where alcohol is sold or consumed unless with an adult. In Western Australia, it is illegal for anyone under 18 years to purchase, supply or drink alcohol in licensed premises such as bars or restaurants even if they are with their parents or guardian. A residential property lawyer in Melbourne or in any State will be able to guide people on the intricacies of laws prevailing there.
Finally, here are some alcohol laws that will surely raise eyebrows.
France- While breathalysers are usually related to law enforcing authorities or a sign that one has been convicted for a Driving under Influence offense as in Canada, it is mandatory to have one if you are driving in France.
Sydney, Australia – Remember, movies Mad Max and Mad Max 2 about road rage in Australia. That might be in the movies but authorities have not taking any chances. It is illegal to sell shots or serve alcohol in a glass after midnight or serve more than two drinks per person after 3.00am.
Germany – Drunk bicycling is a pretty serious offense in Germany. An offender can lose his/her licence and be asked to undergo a medical-psychological assessment.
While alcohol gets people drunk in all countries, the laws related to its control varies greatly.