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Legislators Seek to Overturn Nebraska’s Ban on Serving Beer Mixed with Liquor

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A Prohibition-era law still on the books makes Nebraska the only U.S. state to ban bars from serving drinks that mix beer and liquor, and some lawmakers are trying to make the restriction history, ABC News reported Feb. 17.

The law prohibits bars from serving drinks like boilermakers and Irish Car Bombs — the latter a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream and whiskey dropped into a glass of stout. Nebraska Liquor Control Commissioner Hobert Rupe is among those seeking repeal of the law.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said Lincoln, Neb., bartender Kim Ringo-Bright. “I mean, a Long Island Tea [which is legal] has five liquors in it. You know, five different kinds of liquor. So you can’t do a shot and a beer?”

Rupe said the law originated during Prohibition, when non-alcoholic beer was legal. Some people added alcohol to the near-beer, so lawmakers passed measures to explicitly ban the practice.

Enforcement of the law is spotty or nonexistent, but repeal isn’t a given: such legislation died in the statehouse in 2006 and 2007 due in part to opposition from Project Extra Mile, a Nebraska underage-drinking prevention group. The group is suing the commission to get alcopops classified as liquor, not beer, and suspects that the repeal campaign may be an attempt to undo that effort.

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