Just about every state has a set of laws on the books that regulate how businesses sell and serve alcohol. These are often referred to as dram shop laws. The term dram shop dates back to the 18th century in England when makers of gin sold the alcohol by the dram. This created an illegal black market so that the alcohol could be sold without having to pay taxes. The modern legal system uses the term dram shop to refer to an establishment that is selling alcohol illegally. Generally, this term is applied when alcohol is being sold to minors or to individuals that are already intoxicated.

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