Vice Squad
Friday, April 09, 2004
Building Support for Alcohol Prohibition

A man who owns two adjoining restaurants in East Lansing, Michigan, has been working on acquiring a license to sell alcohol. He and his lawyer, according to this State News article, repeatedly assured the city council that the establishments would not become bars, but would continue to focus on fine dining. Less than a month ago, the liquor license was granted. Since then, Happy Hour Drink Specials have been advertised on a banner in the window in one of the restaurants: there's a picture accompanying the linked article (and the prices are quite reasonable, I might add.) An ad taken out in the local newspaper by one of the restaurants trumpeted tequila shots and the tag-line, "Guess Who Got Their Liquor License?!" Now some city council members are having second thoughts.

Vice Squad has long looked at the tension caused by advertising legal vice, and how unrestrained advertising generates support for vice prohibition. The failure of the liquor industry to render itself palatable to non-customers paved the way for national alcohol Prohibition in the US. This restaurant owner looks to be following on that same path on a smaller scale.

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