Names and faces
■ Singer Jimmy Buffett’s home state on Thursday backed off a short-lived ban on the sale of pitchers of the drink he made famous: margaritas. The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board announced an end to the pitcher prohibition a day after al.com published a column criticizing the moratorium. Born on the Mississippi coast, Buffett spent his childhood in Mobile, Ala. He helped popularized margaritas with his 1977 hit “Margaritaville.”
The irresistible mix of Buffett, Alabama’s perceived prudishness and tequila helped the topic quickly gain traction on social media. The agency denied changing its mind because of publicity. The reversal had already been under consideration, said spokesman Dean Argo. Margaritas — both the frozen and on-the-rocks version — are particularly popular in Mexican restaurants. But some stopped selling them in June on orders from the state agency, which determined that only beer could be served by the pitcher, a ban based on an old rule that makes it illegal to “adulterate” alcohol, Argo said. The state determined pitchers of margaritas were illegal since each glass from a pitcher could have a different amount of alcohol. Argo said beverage-control officials decided to change their view of the code section because the law mentions pitcher sales of drinks that are “customarily” sold that way, he said. “This updated interpretation should give licensees the flexibility they need to meet the needs of their customers, while maintaining the integrity of the original rule,” Argo said in an email.
■ Kid Rock, the musician from suburban Detroit, is teasing a potential 2018 candidacy for U.S. Senate even though it is news to many Michigan Republicans. Kid Rock, who was born Robert Ritchie, said Wednesday that a website hinting at his campaign — www.kidrockforsenate.com — is legitimate. “I have had a ton of emails and texts asking me if this website is real,” he said on Facebook and Twitter. “The answer is an absolute YES. Stay tuned, I will have a major announcement in the near future.” Ritchie spokesman Kirt Webster referred to the Facebook post and said “more soon.” The website shows Ritchie, 46, and asks “Are You Scared?” It has slogans such as “In Rock We Trust,” “I’ll Rock The Party” and “You’ve Never Met a Politician Quite Like Me.” Third-term Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow is up for re-election in 2018 after easily winning in 2012 and 2006. Republican candidates include former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bob Young Jr. and business executive Lena Epstein, who co-chaired President Donald Trump’s successful 2016 Michigan campaign. Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser said in a text message that he had not heard from Ritchie, who endorsed Trump in 2016 and Mitt Romney in 2012. “It could be a publicity ploy. Don’t know.”