Only One Dry Town Still Exists in New Hampshire: Do You Know Where?
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.
On the Seacoast, there are bars, restaurants, and liquor stores everywhere. Beer sales are no problem either, usually at the local mart. However, it's not like that everywhere, and there are some New Hampshire towns with limited or restricted alcohol sales.
Believe it or not, there is one town in the Granite State which actually bans alcohol sales. It's the only dry town left in New Hampshire, but it's standing strong.
Malt beverages seem to be the least opposed alcohol sale, which includes beer. In fact, 11 of the 12 New Hampshire towns which have voted about alcohol sales in the past 59 years have voted down having a state liquor store in their town. Only the town of Temple has said yes to a New Hampshire State Liquor and Wine Outlet Store, according to nh.gov.
While there is not a state liquor store in Temple, New Hampshire, there are 67 New Hampshire state liquor stores, so if there's not one in your town, you can bet there is one nearby.
Towns are allowed to vote by public referendum as to whether to go dry or not. You may wonder why a town would choose to stay dry. Many of the reasons are actually quite obvious.
When towns were incorporated in the 1800s, they were dry towns. Slowly, as time passed and populations prospered and multiplied, many towns in New Hampshire and New England voted to allow alcohol sales.
Puritan values had waned as time went on, but in many very small towns, where there are no retail stores, dining establishments, or bars, they opted to stay a dry town. After all, what difference did it make? You can buy alcohol in an adjoining town and bring it home and enjoy a cocktail, beer, or wine in your own home without any bother.
That's exactly what happened in the town of Ellsworth, New Hampshire, in Grafton County, with a population of 93 in the 2020 census, according to nhes.nh.gov. When Ellsworth was incorporated in 1802, the population was 47, so it's almost doubled since then. Still, it's a very quiet place, and still dry.