HUZZAH! Cold Beer and Sunday Sales Coming to Oxford

THEY'RE TURNIN OXFORD INTO DAMN MARDI GRAS IS WHAT THEY'RE DOIN' - Rob Carr

The city's Board of Aldermen, stunned to learn it was 2013 upon glancing at their calendars, decided to get with the program and allow people to sell, purchase, and consume their hooch more freely.

Few places can boast irrational, draconian blue laws quite as well as the Deep South, with the hamlets that dot the rolling hills of north Mississippi being far from the exception. Laws which are intended for the benefit of public safety and a general (and highly debatable) sense of the societal good are oftentimes simply enacted by power-happy big fish swimming about their unassuming small ponds. The alcohol laws in place in Lafayette County, Mississippi are prime examples of this, as where one can drink, what one can drink, what one can drink and where, as well as how certain beverages must be sold to consumers have all been governed by laws that defy sensible explanation.

Let's review, shall we?

  • Beer is technically not legal on the Ole Miss campus, but liquor is.
  • Since the outfield of Swayze Field is technically not on the Ole Miss campus, the aforementioned rule does not apply there - but only there, as one cannot expect to drink elsewhere in or around the stadium without reproach.
  • Alcohol cannot be sold on Sundays. This law was partially amended a few years ago when Oxford's aldermen decided to allow sales on certain Sundays during which there would be more people in town who, presumably, would spend more of their hard earned dollars at local restaurants if alcohol were available. These special Sundays are mostly those after home football games and big events such as festivals and concerts. This is because Sunday is the sabbath, and therefore a day to be kept holy, except when the local city government can make a little bit of money on it.
  • Beer cannot be sold cold unless being sold by the individual drink or, get this, in a keg. One could get a cold beer at a bar, or buy a cold keg from any manner of stores in town, but a cold six pack or case of beer is a no-no. There are all sorts of rumors as to why this is the case - everything from a former ice baron taking hold of the Oxford government (of course) to drinking and driving concerns - but the long and short of it was that beer drinkers and mongers alike have come up with methods to skirt this regulation and ensure that cold suds make their way to drinkers' lips. This means that everything from elaborate beer cooling schemes, to what was essentially an outdoor beer store using good ol' mother nature* to regulate her product's temperatures, to Sunday afternoon treks to Marshall or Panola Counties to procure legal brew have become a part of the Ole Miss student culture.
  • The former is somewhat more laughable when you realize that chilled wines and spirits are not against the law, so one could buy a quart of cold Jägermeister from a liquor store, but not even the weakest, wateriest of beers.
Thankfully for sane people everywhere, two of these inexplicable regulations will soon come to an end, as the Oxford city Aldermen voted last night to allow cold beer and the sale of alcohol on Sundays beginning on September 19. It has taken literally decades, but our municipal governments are starting to wise up to two unassailable facts: people want to drink, and your rules aren't going to stop them from doing so; and allowing people to purchase and consume alcohol in a certain manner or on a certain day of the week is not a legitimate threat to public safety (or, at the very least, no one has convincingly demonstrated as much).

So it's a small win, but we'll most definitely take it.

Remember, Mississippi is one of the states that has allowed the sale of what is essentially pure grain alcohol for as long as I can remember, but just allowed the sale of high gravity beer a year-and-a-half ago. Our booze laws don't make sense because frankly they don't have to. And so long as there are those who find vapid arguments and threats of a recreation of Sodom and Gomorrah as convincing enough reasons to keep our freedom of alcohol consumption at bay, we will have to endure more of this silliness. Until then, keep fighting the good fight, and raise your glass of soon-to-be-more-convenient beer, Rebels.


*Yes, I realize that's not the actual Rebel beer barn.

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