17 Weirdest Drinking Laws Around The World

Getting your drink on is crucial, but the government needs to make sure you do it responsibly. Alcohol isn't always safe, and laws are put in place to keep amateur night from turning into The Purge. Most of the time, they make some sort of sense.

Other times, they seem more complicated and arbitrary than the college admissions process. Take a look at these bizarre drinking laws from around the world and try to figure out if you're accidentally an international criminal.

1. Drunk drivers face a firing squad

El Salvador
No one in their right mind will argue that drunk driving isn't dangerous and idiotic. But you might wonder if punishment in El Salvador is a little severe. There, it's possible to be sentenced to death by firing squad for a first offense. If we instituted the policy here, Hollywood wouldn't exist.

2. It's illegal to be drunk in a club or pub

United Kingdom
In general, if you're headed to a club or bar without the intention of getting a little turnt up, you're either the designated driver, or you're lost. These places exist so we can drink somewhere less depressing than our apartments without being judged.

In the United Kingdom, though, it's still technically illegal for a pub or club owner to let you overindulge. We're no historians, but we think this dates back to the Prohibition of Fun Act of 1872.  

3. No riding a cow while drunk

As per older regulations that are still on the books, it's illegal in Scotland to "propel" a cow while boozed up. We're going to just imagine that until these laws were enacted, drunken cow races were a constant criminal scourge.

4. Only the government can sell beer higher than 3.5 percent ABV

Want to pick up a six-pack in Sweden? You'll need to head to Systembolaget. No, it's not an IKEA end table, it's a chain of government-run liquor stores and, outside of pubs, it's the only place in Sweden where you can buy beer with an ABV of more than 3.5 percent. 

5. Bartenders can't infuse their liquor

Flavor-infused liquor is popular, as evidenced by every embarrassing drink your girlfriend ever asked you to order her. In Alberta, Canada though, if you want to serve up a "Raspberry Magic Martini" or a "Pomegranate Fusion Mojito" or a "You're Just Getting This Because It Tastes Like Candy," you'll need to rely on existing brands. There, it's illegal for a bartender to infuse, flavor, or otherwise add to a liquor unless a customer specifically asks them to. This really stifles bartenders' creativity, and they're upset they can't age their drinks.

6. You need a license to drink in Maharashtra

India's alcohol laws are determined on a state-by-state basis. Usually, this simply means they decide whether to outlaw it entirely, or to set a drinking age.

In Maharashtra, though, anyone who wants to drink needs an officially-issued license to do so. Which sounds fine, until you realize that means you have to head to the Government Civil Hospital and request one. We can only imagine that's like getting your license at the DMV, except you're annoyed and ashamed.

7. If you're driving, you need your own breathalyzer

In most places, owning a breathalyzer is a sign that you're either a police officer, or someone who has previously been arrested by a police officer.

In France, though, it's required if you plan on driving at all. See, these are the kinds of details John Travolta completely glossed over in Pulp Fiction

8. It's against the law to import beer 

Beer is a pretty big industry in Nigeria—the only African country with a larger beer market is South Africa.
Surprisingly, though, you can't import beer in Nigeria. The law exists to protect local breweries from competition. On the one hand, we can see why that might make sense. On the other hand, some emails we got from a Nigerian prince lead us to believe the economy isn't exactly booming.

9. Serving alcohol in Sydney is extremely complicated

The movies Mad Max and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior taught us all that Australia is a hellhole of violence, chaos, and drunks (Mel Gibson, just sayin'). We'd like to think this was an exaggeration, but if the laws in Sydney are any indication, alcohol-induced rage is an epidemic. In an attempt to curb the madness, officials have made it illegal to serve shots after midnight, serve alcohol in a glass after midnight, serve four drinks at one time after midnight, or serve more than two drinks per person after 3:00 a.m.

Violate any one of these and we can only assume that the customer turns into a gremlin.

10. Riding a bicycle while drunk can get you sent to psychological review

Drunk bicycling is not a good idea. There's a reason your spin class doesn't have a bar. In Germany, though, they take it pretty seriously. Not only will you lose your license, you can be ordered to undergo an MPA, or medical-psychological assessment.

11. Transporting wine between provinces is more confusing than solving a Rubik's Cube

Our neighbors to the north may be polite, but that's only because they're too busy trying to make sense of their own liquor laws to get angry. Transporting wine between provinces is so difficult that the people who wrote the regulations were probably drunk when they did. In Quebec, you can bring up to nine liters of wine from another province back with you, but you can't have any booze shipped to you. In Alberta, you can import liquor for personal use if it stays with you. In Newfoundland, you can only bring back 1.14 liters of booze for personal use.

Meanwhile they send Justin Bieber our way and refuse to take him back.

12. Married women can only drink one glass of wine in public

A lot of the time, bizarre drinking laws are put in place for "moral" reasons. Such is the case in La Paz, Bolivia, where married women can only drink one glass of wine when out at a bar or restaurant. The law exists to make sure women don't drunkenly flirt with men outside of their marriage.

It only applies to women, because drunk dudes have never, ever behaved like that when drinking at a bar. It's just science.

13. You can't buy alcohol between midnight to 11 A.M. and 2 P.M. to 5 P.M.

Buying booze is legal in Thailand, but only at very specific hours of the day. Between midnight to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., you're not allowed to purchase alcohol of any kind. And yes, the law applies to bars and restaurants. 

Going out must be stressful in Thailand. You've got a very small window of time in which to get drunk. Which could actually be kind of fun. 

14. Ships need to bring rum to the Constable

United Kingdom
Since the United Kingdom's golden age of seafaring, it's been traditional for any large Royal Navy ship visiting the port of London to provide the Constable of the Tower with a barrel of rum, which is called the Constable's Dues, and also The Greatest Job Perk In The History Of Employment.

And yes, this still goes on today. Time to update the resume and move to the U.K.

15. You can't buy alcohol on Election Day

For most of us, Election Day involves only two major obligations. Vote, and use social media to chastise anyone who didn't vote. In Turkey, they take things a step further by prohibiting the sale of alcohol. Will someone demand a recount on the "everyone was drunk" argument?

16. Underwear beneath that kilt? You're fined two beers.

Scots Law is like Scout's Honor: a strange mix of legitimate principles, outdated traditions, and matching outfits. Technically, it's a blend of civil law and common law, which means there are still some regulations on the books that are probably not enforced. At least, we hope not.

Case in point: There's a law that says a Scotsman wearing underwear beneath his kilt will be fined two beers. Wonder if they had police checkpoints to make sure everyone was complying?

17. It is against the law to crush a can of beer between your breasts

Ever since there have been beer cans, there have been drunk people finding innovative ways to crush them. One Australian woman made this practice cool for the first time in human history when she crushed a can with her breasts.

And was promptly fined for doing so. Because that kind of power is too much for one person, apparently.

Joe Oliveto is a staff writer for Supercompressor and now kind of thinks a global crime spree would be fun and easy. Follow him on Twitter.

Want more of the stuff you shouldn’t tell Mom about delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up for our daily email.