We've been heading to the southern Maine shore for about 23 years now. Sometimes we skip a year. Sometimes we go twice. I grew up east of Maine. Nova Scotia. We used to go to Maine to see how the well off lived. We heard about Maine on cable TV when it showed up in our rec rooms in the late 70s. Bangor: the promised land. So we go back. I suppose that speaks to a dull mind. Same old same old. Beach. Seafood. Malty diacetyl laced beers.
Yet, in the southern bit of the great state we hit, Portland, it's a bit of a leftist libertarian paradise. Zillionaires' beach side summer resorts down the road from working fishing wharfs. High end restaurants on the same block as diners. Sixteen sorts of public radio and everyone in beat up Red Sox hats. And good beer pretty much everywhere. I repeat what I wrote on Facebook. The normality that Maine liquor law expresses is both refreshing and depressing. All the talk in Ontario and other "control" jurisdictions about obstacles to reform and dangers posed by change are puff. A society expresses itself through its liquor law. Mariners trust each other and their freedom. So, you can buy good beer in gas stations, gin in the grocery store and good pubs are everywhere.
Fine. But is it transferable? On the one hand as Maine goes, so goes the nation. On the other... Allen's Coffee Brandy. I know what you are saying. Yes, I could have been a high fashion hand model. (Oh, you weren't going to say that? What did you say?) No, you are right. A lot of places can't handle the freedom and don't have the sense of local pride that allows for this approach. Each community, each jurisdiction makes its own way, each with some odd twists. Which means that each regulatory regime really ought to invite you to look in the mirror and ask "why?" It's no use looking at the horizon and wistfully dreaming of the sea. Well, except on that one week in January when you book the cottage.