Fate of Mini Bottles in Hands of South Carolina Voters

This November, South Carolina voters will decide whether to end a 30-year-old constitutional requirement that forces bars and restaurants in the state to serve alcohol from mini bottles, the Columbia State reported June 2.

Supporters of the referendum said eliminating mini bottles would reduce drunk-driving rates because the 1.7 ounce bottles have about 50 percent more alcohol than the average free-pour drink.

But opponents said eliminating mini bottles would cut into funding for alcohol treatment and prevention programs, since a portion of the mini-bottle tax pays for these programs. “Now that they’ve got the referendum, what’s the incentive to make sure the revenue is there for the programs?” asked South Carolina House of Representatives Minority Leader James Smith (D-Richland).

If the referendum is approved by voters, establishments would be able to sell liquor from full-sized bottles.