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December 5, 2013

Should Vermont Lift the Ban on Happy Hours? Thinks So

A website called has published an article suggesting that the Vermont ban on happy hours — selling drinks at lower prices during certain times — is economically illogical.

Writer Jon Street quoted the owner of Burlington's Ake's Place, Ronnie Ryan, who suggested that the state should allow bars to lure in customers with occasional happy hours.

“Burlington is so rich in young professionals and college students, I’m confident it would help business, and if it helps our business it also helps the state as it will generate more money in taxes,” he said.

Bill Goggins, director of education, licensing and enforcement for the Vermont Department of Liquor Control, broadly explained the role of the state government in keeping people safe, while a fellow at the Cato Institute lamented, “Why should Vermont insert itself between deals that please restaurants and customers alike?”

The article — which includes three voices in favor of permitting happy hours, as well as stats that show an ongoing decrease in alcohol-related deaths — paints the Vermont ban as archaic and illogical. Though bills itself as "a collection of independent journalists covering state-specific and local government activity," some media outlets and foundations have called into question its funding and bias. Watchdog was launched in 2009 as a project of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which itself was funded with a grant from the conservative Sam Adams Alliance, which has close ties to the Tea Party.

Ah, the tangled world of media outlets — both left- and right-wing — wearing centrist masks.

Still, the article raises an interesting question: Are Vermont bar owners really chomping at the bit to have happy hours? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, you can read the entire story here.

"Beer Street" courtesy of the late, great William Hogarth

This article has been corrected to fix Bill Goggins's title.

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