It is as American as apple pie, and a rite of passage for millions of young people: every summer, children set up lemonade stalls in front of their homes or in parks, selling their wares and learning some of the tricks of sales and marketing.

But in recent years, health and safety concerns have seen police asking for a growing array of permits. In August 2015, comedian Jerry Seinfeld's family was ordered by police in the Hamptons to shut down a lemonade stand, owing to local regulations. Now the parents are fighting back.

Jennifer Knowles' three boys were selling lemonade in Denver, Colorado, when a policeman told them they needed three separate permits - leaving William, the four-year-old "marketing manager", in floods of tears.

She has since founded advocacy group Lemonade Stand Mama, started a petition to change local laws and been interviewed on national TV.


"I'm trying to make lemonade stands legal across my community and ultimately across the country," she told CBS News.

She also hopes to publish a book, full of advice and guidelines. "I want to make it safe for our kids to have lemonade stands without breaking the law," she told The Wall Street Journal.

A libertarian charity in Missouri has mapped reports of shutdown stands to raise awareness, and argues that running a lemonade stand is a constitutional right.

Dave Roland, litigation director at the Freedom Center of Missouri, believes the stands are protected under the fifth and 14th amendments, which he says ban the government from unreasonable limits on private property and guarantee due process.

"I think the constitution covers [lemonade stands] as written," he told the paper. "But if there's any doubt about that, let's get it fixed."

"We should give children a few years to experience a free market and the joys of entrepreneurship before they feel the crushing weight of the government come upon them," said Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute, a Utah-based libertarian think tank.

The institute advocated for a Utah law, passed last year, which prohibits local authorities from requiring minors' businesses to have permits or -licences. Similarly, a Texas-based youth entrepreneurship charity, Lemonade Day, is lobbying local health departments to change regulations.

At the moment, some areas insist on having three sinks on the site of production, three walls to each stand, and forbidding children from taking money, said Steven Gordon, president of Lemonade Day.


Big business has even got in on the act, with Kraft Heinz, which produces a lemonade called Country Time, offering to reimburse young offenders for up to $60,000 (£46,000) in lemonade stand permits and fines.

Adam Butler, Kraft's head of beverages and nuts, said the scheme had reimbursed five fees and fines, averaging $200, in its first six weeks.

The Sunday Telegraph