Spirit of the Law in Oklahoma City

Reason’s Jacob Sullum reports that Oklahoma City police arrested Colin Grizzle, manager of the bar “The Pump,” for the act of mixing ingredients such as bacon and jalapeños into distilled spirits.

The law Grizzle broke states that anyone with a mixed beverage license cannot refill a container that previously contained an alcoholic beverage with any substance. Doing so risks a penalty of up to six months in jail.

Sullum cites a local defense attorney who that says that the statute was meant to deter diluting the alcohol with water, not infusing the beverage with a different flavor, which is what Grizzle was doing.

Furthermore, The Pump’s owner says he has lost some of his brunch business to competitors who continue to serve drinks with infused vodka, something customers continue to seek.

Regardless of the intent behind the Oklahoma law in question, this story highlights a patently ridiculous enforcement of the law. In this instance, enforcement of the law  penalizes an activity that harms no one and further violates the spirit of justice by selectively targeting individual businesses for that behavior.

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