Dry Counties: Prohibition Counties in the US Today

Dry counties are those that forbid the sale of alcoholic beverages in some form. Hundreds of dry counties exist across the United States. And about 18,000,000 people live in the roughly 10% of the area of the US that is dry.

See Also

The U.S. repealed National Prohibition in 1933. However, a large proportion of the population continued to support prohibition. So some states chose to maintained their own state-wide prohibition. Others permitted local jurisdictions to decide the matter within their own borders. The latter is local option.

Local Option

Local option areas are usually counties. But many are townships, towns, cities, or even justice of the peace districts.  There are 129 dry towns and villages in Alaska. In thirty-two of these communities the mere possession of alcohol is a crime. Hundreds of other dry townships exist in the United States. Some exist within wet counties. To discover more, visit Local Option.

Dry Counties in the U.S.

This is a partial list.

Alabama state flag
Prohibition in Alabama: Supported, then Rejected.

ALABAMA

  1. Bibb
  2. Blount
  3. Cherokee
  4. Chilton
  5. Clarke
  6. Clay
  7. Coffee
  8. Cullman
  9. DeKalb
  10. Fayette
  11. Franklin
  12. Geneva
  13. Jackson
  14. Lamar
  15. Lauderdale
  16. Lawrence
  17. Marion
  18. Marshall
  19. Monroe
  20. Morgan
  21. Pickens
  22. Randolph
  23. Washington
  24. Winston
Arkansas state flag
Prohibition in Arkansas Began Well, Ended Badly.

ARKANSAS

  1. Ashley
  2. Benton
  3. Boone
  4. Bradley
  5. Clark
  6. Clay
  7. Cleburne
  8. Columbia
  9. Craighead
  10. Crawford
  11. Faulkner
  12. Fulton
  13. Grant
  14. Hempstead
  15. Hot Spring
  16. Howard
  17. Independence
  18. Izard
  19. Johnson
  20. Lafayette
  21. Lawrence
  22. Lincoln
  23. Little River
  24. Lonoke
  25. Madison
  26. Marion
  27. Montgomery
  28. Nevada
  29. Newton
  30. Perry
  31. Pike
  32. Polk
  33. Pope
  34. Randolph
  35. Saline
  36. Scott
  37. Searcy
  38. Sevier
  39. Sharp
  40. Stone
  41. Van Buren
  42. WhiteYell
Flag of Florida
Prohibition in Florida Caused Major Problems.

FLORIDA

  1. Lafayette
  2. Liberty
  3. Madison
  4. Suwannee
  5. Washington
State flag of Kansas
Kansas was where Carrie Nation used her hatchet to destroy bars and terrify patrons.

KANSAS

  1. Barber
  2. Chautauqua
  3. Cherokee
  4. Clark
  5. Clay
  6. Comanche
  7. Doniphan
  8. Elk
  9. Gove
  10. Grant
  11. Greeley
  12. Hamilton
  13. Harper
  14. Haskell
  15. Jewell
  16. Kiowa
  17. Lane
  18. Logan
  19. Meade
  20. Morton
  21. Osborne
  22. Ottawa
  23. Rice
  24. Scott
  25. Sheridan
  26. Stafford
  27. Stanton
  28. Stevens
  29. Wallace
  30. Wichita
  31. Woodson
State flag of Kentucky
Prohibition in Kentucky Caused Serious Problems

KENTUCKY

  1. Adair
  2. Allen
  3. Ballard
  4. Barren
  5. Bath
  6. Bell
  7. Breathitt
  8. Breckenridge
  9. Butler
  10. Caldwell
  11. Carlisle
  12. Carter
  13. Casey
  14. Clay
  15. Clinton
  16. Crittenden
  17. Cumberland
  18. Edmonson
  19. Elliott
  20. Estill
  21. Fleming
  22. Garrard
  23. Grant
  24. Graves
  25. Grayson
  26. Greenup
  27. Hancock
  28. Hickman
  29. Jackson
  30. Johnson
  31. Knox
  32. Knott
  33. LaRue
  34. Laurel
  35. Lawrence
  36. Lee
  37. Leslie
  38. Letcher
  39. Lincoln
  40. Livingston
  41. Marshall
  42. Martin
  43. McCreary
  44. McCreary
  45. McLean
  46. Menifee
  47. Mercer
  48. Metcalfe
  49. Monroe
  50. Morgan
  51. Ohio
  52. Oldham
  53. Owen
  54. Owsley
  55. Powell
  56. Pulaski
  57. Robertson
  58. Rockcastle
  59. Russell
  60. Shelby
  61. Simpson
  62. Spencer
  63. Taylor
  64. Trimble
  65. Trigg
  66. Wayne
  67. Webster
  68. Whitley
  69. Woodford

Kentucky has 120 counties. Fifty-five are completely dry. Thirty are wet. In addition, the remaining 35 counties are “moist.”  That is, they fall somewhere between.

  • Certain counties allow the sale of alcoholic beverages by the drink on golf courses located in dry counties.
  • Some wineries legally operate within dry counties.
  • 16 cities within dry counties allow restaurants above a specified size to serve drinks.
  • 16 other wet cities exist in dry counties.

State flag of MississippiMISSISSIPPI

  1. Alcorn
  2. Attala
  3. Benton
  4. Calhoun
  5. Clarke
  6. Franklin
  7. George
  8. Greene
  9. Leake
  10. Lincoln
  11. Newton
  12. Pearl River
  13. Pontotoc
  14. Prentiss
  15. Scott
  16. Simpson
  17. Smith
  18. Tate
  19. Wayne
  20. Webster

Today, almost one-half of the counties in Mississippi are dry. They have their own prohibition against the production, advertising, sale, distribution, or transportation of alcoholic beverages within their boundaries. It is even illegal to bring alcohol through a dry county in Mississippi while traveling.

The reason for such a high proportion of dry counties is clear. Mississippi is uniquely temperance-oriented. Mississippi imposed state-wide alcohol prohibition in 1907. That was over a dozen years before the rest of the country. It was the very first state to ratify the 18th Amendment to create National Prohibition. Following national rejection of Prohibition through Repeal, the state maintained its own state-wide prohibition for another one-third of a century. After that, it specifically ‘reaffirmed prohibition’ when it decided to permit local option regarding alcohol.

State flag of TexasTEXAS

  1. Andrews
  2. Angelina
  3. Armstrong
  4. Bailey
  5. Borden
  6. Bowie
  7. Floyd
  8. Cochran
  9. Collingsworth
  10. Cottle
  11. Crosby
  12. Dawson
  13. Delta
  14. Erath
  15. Fisher
  16. Franklin
  17. Gaines
  18. Hale
  19. Hansford
  20. Hemphill
  21. Houston
  22. Johnson
  23. Jones
  24. Kent
  25. Knox
  26. Lamb
  27. Lubbock
  28. Lynn
  29. Morris
  30. Motley
  31. Ochiltree
  32. Panola
  33. Parmer
  34. Roberts
  35. Rusk
  36. Sherman
  37. Smith
  38. Sterling
  39. Swisher
  40. Terry
  41. Throckmorton
  42. Tyler
  43. Van Zandt
  44. Wood
  45. Yoakum

Of Texas’ 254 counties, 74 are completely dry and many of the rest are moist. The patchwork of laws can be confusing, even to residents. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram marveled at the complexity. For example, in some counties, only 4 percent beer is legal. In others, beverages that are 14 percent or less alcohol are legal. Yet in some “dry” areas, you can get a mixed drink by paying to join a “private club.” And in some “wet” areas you still need a club membership to get liquor-by-the-drink.

The newspaper demonstrates how variable the alcohol laws can be, even within small geographic areas.

“Move from Fort Worth to Arlington and you’ll be surprised that you can buy beer but not wine at the grocery store. Move to Grand Prairie and you can’t even find beer there, but you can buy alcoholic drinks at restaurants in both towns. Then move to Burleson, which has alcohol sales in the Tarrant County portion of the city but not in the Johnson County side of town.”

Virginia state flag
Yes, Virginia, National Prohibition was a Disaster

VIRGINIA

  1. Appomattox
  2. Bland
  3. Botetour
  4. Buchanan
  5. Campbell
  6. Carroll
  7. Charlotte
  8. Craig
  9. Dickenson
  10. Floyd
  11. Franklin
  12. Giles
  13. Grayson
  14. Greene
  15. Halifax
  16. Henry
  17. Highland
  18. King William
  19. Lee
  20. Louisa
  21. Lunenburg
  22. Mecklenburg
  23. Montgomery
  24. Patrick
  25. Pittsylvania
  26. Pulaski
  27. Russell
  28. Scott
  29. Smythe
  30. Surry
  31. Tazewell
  32. Warren
  33. Washington
  34. Wise
  35. Wythe

Blue Laws

In addition, many counties and municipalities in the US are dry on Sunday or part of Sunday. That day is the Sabbath for most Christians. This is a result of Colonial-era Blue Laws. They were designed to promote Christianity.