I received a package while I was preparing to fly to Phoenix for a friend’s wedding. Overcup Press had sent me a copy of their newest book, The Field Guide to Drinking in the United States by author Niki Ganong. Apparently Niki had run into the same issues many of beer travelers have experienced with the wide ranging and sometimes wacky liquor laws found in the United States. This book aims to be a practical guide to navigating these laws and ensuring you are prepared to imbibe where ever your US travels take you.
With my upcoming travels looming I decided it would be the perfect time to give it gander and packed it in m carry on bag. So after a weekend full of drinking, celebrating, and hang-overs I was able to get thru a good 69% of it.
As a designer I appreciated the fact that it is made to travel. At 5.5″ x 1″ x 8.5″ it fit into my backpack without much fuss and was easy to retrieve as an easy distraction while I carelessly ignored the safety demonstration. The cover is made of a durable vinyl material that held up to the to potential scratches and tears that a normal paperback would struggle with.
The structure is set up nicely as for reference purposes and is organized by region rather than alphabetically. It takes you on a boozy journey across the US from the Northeast to the Southwest, without requiring a front to back reading.
Each state is formatted similarly with a page that outlines the state’s alcoholic history and while mentioning some of the more colorful and entertaining tidbits of drinking lore. The next page illustrates some of the more interesting and obscure laws before getting into the nitty gritty of what you can and can’t do alcohol wise in the that state. The latter is laid out in a consistent manner to quickly check bar closing times, drinking in public, and growler fills to name a few.
While the Field Guide is entertaining enough and I ended up learning quite a bit about America’s drinking history it is not necessarily a page turner that will leave insatiably wondering what the next state has up their sleeve.
It excels as a reference for your drinking travels and can be picked up and put down without much investment. Perfect for perusing before you catch a flight to a new state or brush up on an old one. Bring it with you if you have road trip plans to help you adjust accordingly as you cross state lines.