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Beer website age verification

ageTime for a rant.  What is the deal with the ridiculous age verification at the entry to almost every brewery site?

Other than keeping out those who are paranoid (the government is in fact watching you) or those who can’t add – is there seriously some group of morons out there that believe this is useful?

Who are we trying to protect from the dangerous brewery information inside? I’m sure it’s the children – we are always protecting the children.   I am sure that the same children who text message 70 words per minute from their 4th grade classroom are foiled by having to enter “1988” into a computer.  Hell, use 1987 to be safe – we don’t want you to have to think too hard…

I was just taking a look at the Anderson Valley website (not to single you out for any reason other than that I was trying to find out more about your screwy language) and found perhaps the most ridiculous age verification yet – a dropdown box to select your age!  Best part is it starts at 12!  Guess the 11 year olds that happen upon the site are just dumbfounded.  I can hear them now,  “what do I do ma?”.

I would really love to know the origin of this movement.  Is there some actual law that requires this nonsense?  Or is it just some dumb CYA move.  Maybe its a conspiracy by Mormon web designers.  Who the fuck knows.  Next thing you know people will be trying to say that putting street signs on beer labels encourages drunk driving.   Stop it already – really, I mean it – stop it.

16 thoughts on “Beer website age verification”

  1. I’ll take this a step further, New Belgium asked me to verify my age via a direct message on twitter.

  2. Did you notice what happens when you choose an age under 21? You get a popup window that says, “You must be at least 21 years of age to view this website.” And then you can correct the age and move on.

    If we didn’t live in a litigation-happy country, people wouldn’t do this kind of thing. It’s all about being able to say, “As far as WE knew, this person was 21 years old. We asked them to verify their age!”

    Meh. Leave the carding to the retail outlets.

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  5. I was having a lot of trouble getting past those blasted screens on my i-phone from my commute home on the highway.

    Don’t they understand the danger these age-verification pages cause to those of us surfing while commuting, especially on motorcycles? Jeeez.

    In all seriousness, its a big-time lawyer thing. The DM age verification is over the top, I wouldn’t follow them, buy I would tweet angry tweets against them.

  6. That would be a funny lawsuit – “I got in an accident trying to get past the age verification screen on my iPhone while driving”. Will it never end…

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  9. Maybe I should make a t-shirt that just says “I am not responsible for my actions” and then whoever wore it would be absolved of any personal responsibility. They would probably sell quite well…

  10. Hey Folks,

    I work for a beer distributor and also run a Twitter account for the same distributor. I’ll testify that there are no “morons” out here who purposely want to post an age verification procedure on our websites, especially one that makes getting to our websites more complicated, but legally we have little choice but to get sued otherwise.

    Like it or not, alcohol is a state controlled substance. Putting the age verification on a website or Twitter account serves the purpose of putting the responsibility back on the user of the website and not on the distributor, brewer or retailer of the alcohol. Legally, that’s a huge distinction.

    So if you’re really 14 and you say your 21, that’s on you. And while we’re on the subject, the Internet is still a gray area in many ways as far as the legal system is concerned. I expect that 10 years from now we’ll look back at wonder why it was so free and easy to use in 2009, because I expect that there are many more legal restrictions coming down the pike in more areas than just alcohol.

    Bob Mack

  11. Hi Bob! It was Mormons, not morons. Alcohol is a controlled substance, but information shouldn’t be. It’s not illegal for a minor to read about alcohol. The “CYA” aspect of having a drop-down age selector is unlikely to ever be of value in court or otherwise. It only stands as a nuisance to beer lovers. I would love for someone to show me any actual law or even case law that would require this “protection” on beer related websites and especially twitter accounts. I appreciate your comments from the “inside” and would love to know if there is an actual basis for this, or if it’s just a “follow the leader” system. Cheers!

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  13. brian chidichimo

    this is entirely ridiculous. first off. nobody gets drunk or consumes alcohol when they enter the website. State regulates the sale of alcohol to minors. reading about beer or viewing a brewery website is no different that looking at the same ads in a magazine or grocery store display. Kids are not BANNED from such.

    secondly, how many minors watch Budweiser and sam adams commericals on TV without verifying their age?

    And the kicker, kids are bombarded with pornography all over the web, but to view a website that “shows” a bottle of booze, they must validate their age?

    Only in EFFED UP America. No wonder the Europeans have ceased immigrating here.

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