In two weeks, retailers will have to begin affixing identification tags to all kegs they sell, according to a Michigan law set to take effect November 1. Buyers will have to supply personal information, such as their names, addresses, and drivers’ license numbers, in order to obtain a keg of beer. The stated purpose of the law is to make it easier for law enforcement to hold purchasers of common-source alcohol accountable when parties get out of hand, and particularly when underage drinking is involved.
Keg parties have been a source of controversy in Mid-Michigan for years, but a fatal single-vehicle car crash in January of this year has led to widespread disapprobation of the practice, at least among adults and other authority figures. In spite of this fact, many store owners are questioning whether the so-called “keg law” will really discourage excessive drinking. After all, there are ways to avoid having to provide your personal information if you are holding a party (but you won’t get any hints from this writer).
The real issue is irresponsible partying. While the keg law might make it easier for the police to track down offenders, in turn giving potential purchasers pause before putting their names on the line, it’s hard to believe that determined minors will be thwarted by the measure. It seems that stringent enforcement on multiple fronts is necessary to truly put a dent in binge drinking.
Growing up in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nolan Erickson began working at Church Wyble PC in 2007 as a law clerk. Now as an attorney, Mr. Erickson has developed extensive experience with all phases of trial and pre-trial resolution of personal injury matters, including major auto accident, medical malpractice, and other serious injury cases.