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AZ.gov Arizona's Official Website Department of Liquor Licenses and Control
Agency Name AZ.gov Arizona's Official Web Site

The History Of Liquor In Arizona

Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912. Ours was the last of the 48 contiguous states to be admitted to the Union. The regulation of liquor in Arizona preceded its statehood by almost half a century.

Prior to prohibition, Arizona's first liquor regulation was the 1864 Howell Code which assessed liquor taxes on vendors of wines and distilled spirits. It was the Volstead Act of 1919 that enacted national Prohibition and eliminated the need for liquor regulation. Prohibition began in 1920 and lasted 13 years.

On December 5, 1933 Prohibition ended. Thirty-six states (a three-fourths majority) ratified the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution which repealed the 18th Amendment which began Prohibition. The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave individual states the right to choose their own system for regulating alcoholic beverages. On September 5, 1933 Arizona voted to ratify the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In the spring of 1933, months before our state voted to end Prohibition, Arizona organized the Temperance Enforcement Division to the State Tax Commission. The Temperance Enforcement Division was led by a commissioner and secretary. In 1939 responsibility for liquor enforcement and licenses shifted once again when the Department of Liquor was created.

For the past eighty years the United States and its citizens have enjoyed state-based systems of alcohol regulation. Each state has the primary authority to enact and enforce alcohol laws consistent with the desires and needs of its citizens. Arizona is, and has always been, a "license" state in which liquor licenses are issued to qualified individuals who wish to produce, distribute or sell liquor to the public. Other states are "control" state in which the state operats liquor warehouses and retail outlets.

If you'd like to learn more about the history and origin of America's state-based alcohol regulatory system, an excellent resource is the book Toward Liquor Control, originally written in 1933 to help guide alcohol policy in the states post-Prohibition. The book can be found on the Center For Alcohol Policy website.

Three Tier System

The courts and the Legislature have stated that the objective and purpose for establishing the Department center on protecting the public health, safety and welfare. The Legislature, in Laws 1984, Chapter 322, defined the purpose of the Department: "...to regulate the liquor industry through the license control process, collect fees and taxes for the maintenance of government and enforce statutes in order to maintain the health and welfare of the community." As such, the Department licenses, investigates and regulates the production, distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages throughout the state. Separate from the Department is the Arizona State Liquor Board (Liquor Board), whose members are appointed by the Governor, subject to Senate confirmation.

History of DLLC Directors

Name Term
John Cocca February 2015 - Present
Alan Everett June 2010 - February 2015
Jerry A. Oliver, Sr. January 2007 - June 2010
Leesa Berens Morrison January 2003 - December 2006
Myron Musfeldt January 2002 - December 2003
Howard Adams January 1993 - December 2001
Mark G. Mazzie June 1991 - January 1993
Hugh P. Ennis April 1988 - April 1991
Thad C. Curtis April 1987 - April 1988
Alberto F. Rodriguez January 1987 - April 1987
Philip J. MacDonnell January 1985 - January 1987
Lloyd R. Robertson October 1977 - January 1985
Jules M. Klagge June 1976 - October 1977
Robert Ray Bean March 1975 - June 1976
Col. Harold H. Moore July 1967 - January 1975
John F. "Jack" Sheik July 1966 - June 1967
John A. Duncan May 1940 - June 1966
J.P. Metz March 1939 - April 1940

History of Temperance Enforcement Division to the State Tax Commission

Name Term
Martin A. Murphy, Tax Commissioner March 18, 1933 - January 27, 1934
Dave C. O'Neil, Temperance Enforcement Director February 19, 1934 - March 13, 1939
Frank Luke, Sr., Tax Commissioner March 18, 1933 - March 13, 1939
Thad M. More, Temperance Enforcement Director March 18, 1933 - March 13, 1939