EDITORIAL: New keg rules could have unforeseen consequences
Cracking down on underage drinking is nothing new, with the most recent attempt in the form of a law requiring beer kegs to include identification tags.
The law will go into effect Nov. 1, and in addition to the buyer’s name, the tag will include personal information — an address, phone number and driver’s license number.
Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski said this will allow police to determine who is responsible for supplying the keg at busted parties. If minors are attending the party, the buyer will be ticketed with a misdemeanor.
This, no doubt, will have some students thinking twice before going out to purchase a keg for their next weekend party, influencing some to favor buying cases of beer instead.
The law also states the keg cannot be returned without the tag and a $30 deposit fee will not be returned if that happens.
In addition to attempting to limit underage drinking, it’s important to point out the other positive aspects of this law. When students host parties, police often ask to speak with the people who live there, rather than the one who supplied the alcohol.
This could help determine who is actually responsible for supplying alcohol to minors.
While this is a solid attempt by officials to limit the amount of underage drinking around college campuses, the truth of the matter is, if there are no kegs, students will find other ways to drink.
If anything, it could encourage students to downsize the alcohol they choose to take out with them. Carrying a case of beer across campus, especially for an underage student, is a fool's errand.
So by selecting a smaller container of liquor that packs more of a punch, rather than beer which is typically consumed in larger volumes at a slower pace, someone can get drunk and not have to watch their case of beer all night in fear of it being stolen.
This law may lead to students choosing liquor over beer, which seems to be a conflicting outcome. Drinking beer allows students to slowly become intoxicated, often times making them realize when they are close to having enough. Liquor can hit someone all at once.
Officials are limiting the means of students getting inebriated slowly by putting laws on keg beers, which may result in more accidents of alcohol poisoning.
The cost of packaged beer may end up being greater, along with the inconvenience of having to haul a case of beer around on a weekend night, but this new law most definitely won’t make students stay home sober.
The law could lead to more problems than solutions because students are looking elsewhere to get their buzz.