Wow, this is an image you don’t often see! No, not the beer can…read on… I’m not going to repost the man’s photo without his permission, so I am just going to link to it here. Now, in complete fairness, there is a lot we don’t know about the context of this photo. And this may well be a drive-thru that sells soda pop also, so who’s to say this buggy wasn’t zipping through for a case of Coke? And, bottom line: who cares if they were going to buy beer? No law, no religious directive says that they can’t. Outsiders make a lot of erroneous assumptions about the Amish when it comes to certain lifestyle choices and it’s really unfair to the Amish. Such unfounded assumptions raise the Amish to a behaviorial standard that they themselves have never claimed to set. A lot outsiders just assume that the Amish don’t drink alcohol. It’s an assumption probably drawn from the Amish appearance of piety and plainness But the Amish also have a deep Germanic heritage and part of that culinary heritage is alcohol (I’m a quarter German, so I can say that), especially beer. I don’t often see the Amish popping open a bottle of Merlot, but many will make their own homemade wines. I’ve tried some Amish-made dandelion wine on several occasions and it is good stuff. Speaking from my personal observations only, excessive alcohol seems to be “hit and miss” among the Amish. In some communities it seems to be a bigger problem than others. Two communities that have made the news in recent years for cops arresting drunken buggy drives are Berne, Indiana and Middlefield, Ohio. A drunken horseman on a crowded road is no laughing matter. In the Geneva and Berne, Indiana communities, “package stores” (a fancy term for liquor store) do a booming business among the Amish. In Geneva, Indiana the “Case n Quart” is a beer joint right on the edge of the Amish settlement and I’ve seen plenty of buggies parked there over the years. Now this also raises an interesting issue and maybe what I am doing is a stretch? But the Lakota Sioux in South Dakota are now suing alcohol establishments in White Clay, Nebraska just across the state line from the officially dry Pine Ridge Reservation. The tribe claims the alcohol businesses in White Clay target the Sioux. So is the demand there and then the stores come? Or do the stores come and create demand? Alcohol can ravage any group of people.
Alcohol use by teenage/underage Amish appears to be a bigger problem than in the adult Amish population (although by no means limited to this group). I’ve seen large groups of Amish young people congregating at liquor stores. That said, plenty of Amish young people don’t drink. Bottom line in all of this? The Amish in this regard are not much different from the rest of the population…You have a mix of teetotalers, occasional drinkers, and alcoholics.That said, I’d say that alcoholism is under-reported among the Amish and some awareness campaigns might go a long way.