National Essay Contest

The window for submitting entries in our 13th Annual Essay Contest has closed, and we are no longer accepting submissions. The winners for the 2020 Essay Contest will be announced in February, 2021.

The essay prompt for 2020 was as follows:

Prohibition of alcohol was tried in 1920 but ultimately rejected by the United States.  Similarly, pure laissez-faire treatment of alcohol and the industry that profits from it has not been the policy of the federal or state governments. As the nation seeks the proper public health balance in response to Covid-19, can this nation’s alcohol history help shape and inform government health policies related to dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic?

This national academic event is intended to foster debate, analysis, and examination of state alcohol regulation in the 21st Century. Each year, students and professionals are encouraged to participate in this significant effort to bring attention to state alcohol regulation, its complexities and many successes.

WHO CAN ENTER: The contest is open to all persons over the age of 18 as of December 2020. Students, academics, practicing attorneys, policymakers, regulators, public health representatives, and any person with an interest in alcohol law and policy are encouraged to submit essays. 

No relatives of individuals working for the Center for Alcohol Policy, its leadership or contest judges are eligible to submit entries for this contest. Any interested person working for a government entity must certify their ability to enter and win this contest prior to submitting an essay and comply with appropriate ethics laws.

HOW TO ENTER: We are no longer accepting entries.


  • A wide range of essay formats are eligible and encouraged, such as formal law review articles or graduate school essays.
  • Any form of citations is acceptable, as long as the format is consistent throughout the essay.
  • The essay should be submitted double spaced with at least 12-point font in Times New Roman format and should not exceed 25 pages in length, exclusive of endnotes.
  • Submissions that have been published previously or accepted for publication may be considered only if the author has secured consent from the other journal for the Center for Alcohol Policy to post the winning publication on its website with an appropriate note about the other publication.

JUDGING PROCESS: All submissions will go through an initial screening process. Finalists from this process then will be given to a panel of judges who review the following for each essay:

  • Analysis of the question and the depth of this analysis;
  • Readiness of the essay for publication;
  • Quality of the writing, the originality of the topic and the analysis used;
  • Thoroughness of the research and its overall ability to creatively and effectively discuss regulation of the alcohol industry.

DEADLINE: The deadline for entries was 5:30pm EST on January 8, 2021. Winners will be announced by the end of February, 2021.

AWARDS: Cash prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • 1st place – $5,000
  • 2nd place – $2,500
  • 3rd place – $1,000

All entries become the property of the Center for Alcohol Policy. The winning essays will be posted to our website and highlighted across additional platforms.

If you have any questions about this year’s writing competition, please email us.

In 2019 we celebrated 10 years of this successful and educational activity by comprising a collection of these essays written by the our previous 1st place recipients from 2008 – 2018.

We hope that this collection of work, including future work that the Center receives through this event is a valuable resource for all who are interested and an opportunity to learn more about the intricacies of alcohol regulation. Several topics available to explore here include:

  • History and importance of the 21st Amendment
  • Recommendations on state-level regulation & policy proposals
  • Alcohol on college campuses
  • The three-tier system
  • Orderly alcohol markets
  • Redefining temperance
  • And more!

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Center for Alcohol Policy
1101 King Street Ste 600-A Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 519-3090