Caleb Cook
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Legal in 30 States: Drive-Thru Alcohol Sales

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drive-thru liquor store
Photo: Patrick Mueller / CC BY 2.0

For most of my life, I lived in Indiana — where you can’t even buy alcohol on Sunday, let alone do it without leaving your car. When I moved to Ohio in 2014, a whole new world of convenience opened up for me. Drive-thru liquor stores are everywhere in the Buckeye State.  

Ohio is one of 30 states across the U.S. (as of 2018) where you can purchase alcoholic beverages from drive-thru purveyors. Whether you’re making a quick stop on your way home from work or you want to buy beer without the hassle of putting on pants, these spots are perfect for quenching your thirst while indulging your laziest impulses.

drive-thru liquor store
Photo: El Tuercas / CC BY-ND 2.0

Names for drive-thru alcohol sellers vary throughout the country. Terms you’ll find from state to state include “beverage barn,” “party barn,” “beer barn,” “bootlegger,” and “brew thru.”

Drive-thru traditions vary from state to state as well. For example, in Louisiana, thanks to a loophole in the state’s open-container law, you can actually order a to-go drink from a drive-thru daiquiri stand — as long as you wait until arriving at your destination to insert the straw.

Look past the convenience, and you’ll find that drive-thru alcohol sales draw plenty of controversy, too. They’re not allowed in 20 states. Some activists say they make driving under the influence far easier than it should be. And even in states where these stores are legal, they’re barred in many counties and municipalities.

States with drive-thru alcohol sales

If you’re feeling thirsty, here are the 30 states where you buy alcohol at a drive-thru. Some of these states allow drive-thru liquor sales, and others draw the line at beer and wine:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

News Sources: Supercall, The Kitchn