Pubdate: Thu, 16 Dec 2004
Source: Montgomery Advertiser (AL)
Copyright: 2004 The Advertiser Co.
Note: Letters from the newspaper's circulation area receive publishing priority


The idea of Alabama designating an official state booze was ludicrous
from the start. Now those legislators who pushed the designation
through have even more reason to be ashamed.

The maker of Conecuh Ridge whiskey, named by the Legislature as the
official state whiskey earlier this year, has been charged with
selling liquor to a minor, possessing excess liquor in a dry county,
and selling liquor without a license.

We hate to say we told you so, but at the time the Legislature was
considering this bad legislation we warned the state may soon have a
"hangover from the consequences of this unwise indulgence."

It was a bad idea to grant an official designation to any commercial
product, but it was downright stupid to do it for an alcoholic
beverage. While legal, booze is a major contributing factor to a lot
of social ills. And this booze isn't even made in Alabama.

Gov. Bob Riley, to his credit, vetoed the resolution, but the House
and Senate overrode the veto. Among those voting to override was Sen.
Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne, who represents the district where the
company is located. We hope he and every other legislator who voted
against the veto are suitably chastised. That is especially true of
Rep. Alan Boothe, D-Troy, the sponsor of the resolution and a
stockholder in the company (who should not have been involved for that
reason alone.)

The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has suspended the company's
license to bring the state's official booze into Alabama. How ironic
is that? The board plans to file administrative charges to block
future sales in Alabama.

The ABC Board should follow through with tough action against the
company, and we urge legislators to not make matters worse by trying
to use political influence on behalf of politically connected company
officials. And canceling the designation should be the first order of
business for the Legislature in its February session.

Earlier this year we wondered what would follow "in the wake of this
shortsighted action" naming an official state booze. One result should
be a lot of deservedly red-faced legislators.
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