Tennessee ID’s Beer Buyers Regardless of Age
Tennessee now requires everyone to show an ID card to buy beer.
Comer Wilson hasn’t had to show his ID to buy beer in a while. Maybe it’s the 66-year-old man’s long white beard. Starting Sunday, gray hair won’t be good enough. Wilson and everyone else will be required to show identification before buying beer in Tennessee stores — no matter how old the buyer appears. “It’s the stupidest law I ever heard of,” Wilson said. “You can see I’m over 21.”
Tennessee is the first state to make universal carding mandatory, says the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association. However, the law does not apply to beer sales in bars and restaurants, and it does not cover wine and liquor.
Supporters say it keeps grocery store and convenience store clerks from having to guess a customer’s age. Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen said it’s a good way to address the problems of underage drinking.
The blanket requirement makes it easier for stores to comply, said Steve Schmidt, spokesman for the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association. “There’s no need to judge whether someone looks 21, 25 or 30,” he said. “It’s a set, consistent standard across the entire state.”
This one’s a head scratcher. Not only is it ridiculous nanny statism but it doesn’t strike me as particularly effective, either. Why exclude wine and beer or bars and restaurants if it’s so important to keep alcohol away from kids? And what about fake IDs? Or teenagers who know 21-year-olds?
It’s silly enough that a 20-year-old can legally drink a beer. Let’s not compound that error with the ridiculous charade of carding 66-year-olds just to make sure that clerks with poor cognitive skills don’t accidentally sell beer to a somewhat-old-looking teenager.