Missouri State Senator Bill Alter (R-High Ridge) wanted to attack the problem of drunk driving in a novel way. Rather than hire enough police officers to throw up sobriety checkpoints every block or outlaw the sale of alcoholic beverages altogether, Alter decided to write a law that would make beer taste like shit — Senate Bill 763 is up for consideration this week.
This act prohibits any grocery store or convenience store from selling individually packaged beer or beer that is refrigerated below 60 degrees on the premises. The Supervisor of the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control may suspend or revoke a license for any violation of this provision.
No beer sold from a convenience store below 60 degrees Fahrenheit? That's blasphemy, according to most beer experts, who suggest a range between 40 and 60 degrees, dependent upon type of beer, to ensure good taste. And that's why Alter thinks his bill makes good sense -- as he puts it, "The only reason why beer would need to be cold is so that it can be consumed right away."
Some point out that other states have laws similar to what Alter proposes. They note the law seems incongruous in light of the fact that bars "can over-serve as much ice cold beer as they want," and express doubt that a driver was going to get blotto from one cold beer consumed right after leaving a store. They also noted that in states with similar laws, drivers there either got used to drinking warm beer or put ice chests in their cars.
Alter, a police officer for twenty years, gives credit for his bill to a fifth-grade student who participated in a program to come up with some new state laws. Alter says: "I thought it had the best chance at getting legislative attention. Plus, I think it's a good idea whether or not other people do." Alter pointed to last year's success in having elementary students propose laws.