In the United States, each of the 50 states controls sales of alcoholic beverages. Hence, you have a collection of conflicting laws for the sales and even consumption of alcohol.
One of the (sometimes) pleasures of travel is seeing some of those different laws in action.
My resident state of New York, for example, does not allow sales of either wine or liquor (hard spirits) in supermarkets. Beer is sold in supermarkets and groceries. Wine and liquor are sold in liquor stores (wineries can also sell their own wine). A person can only own one liquor store, so there are no chain liquor stores in New York State (although people are trying to get around that in imaginative ways beyond the scope of this blog.)
In the neighboring state of Pennsylvania, wine and spirits are sold through state run liquor stores.
And then there is South Carolina, where I am vacationing.
By now, you may be wondering why all liquor stores in South Carolina have broken out in measles. Well, it dates back to 1945 when South Carolina changed a law concerning signage permitted for liquor stores to prohibit advertising. They decided not to permit liquor stores to have signs with letters more than six inches high and four inches wide. Bigger than that and you would have an advertisement for liquor. So, what to do (other than own super magnifying glasses?)
An enterprising sign man in Charleston was hired to do a sign for a Charleston liquor store owner. He painted large red dots around the letters to highlight them.
It caught on at a time when liquor stores were called "ABC" stores (three red dots needed) for Alcohol Beverage Commission stores. South Carolina may have had state run liquor stores at one time (I didn't research that).
But now, the three red dots are just plain custom. And those dots are so easy to see when you are driving in a strange place. (Thank you, South Carolina!)
There's another theory, too, involving an older law prohibiting liquor sales between sundown and sunup but I like the "large red dot around the letters" theory.
Oh, and one other thing. That Total Wine & More above, in Charleston? The wine/beer part, and the liquor part, have to have two separate entrances and they do (once you enter the main entrance). But they are a chain, and they operate quite nicely. The beer and wine part even sells food, including mixers, crackers and cheese. And, oh yes, T-Shirts from local breweries.
Something they could never, ever, do in New York State because all liquor stores can sell is - well, liquor and wine. No food. No T-Shirts.
Does your area have special liquor laws (including prohibiting sales)?