Minimum Age to Sell Alcohol at Off-Premises Stores

You’ll find here a summary of each state’s laws about the minimum age to sell alcohol in off-premises venues. That is, in places where customers must take the alcohol elsewhere to consume it.

States vary widely in their alcohol laws. What is true in one state may not be true in the next. Therefore, it’s important to know the law in your own state.

Based on a Myth

Some states have higher minimum ages for selling spirits. (Spirits are vodka, gin, brandy, tequila, whiskey, rum, etc.) The laws in these states reflect a common myth. 

The myth has a long history and most people, even today, believe it.

alcohol equivalence
Standard Drinks

That myth is that beer, wine, and spirits have different alcohol content. In reality, standard drinks of beer, wine, and spirits have the same amount of alcohol. Each has 0.6 ounce of pure alcohol. They’re all the same to a breathalyzer test.

Localities may have higher restrictions that that of their state. It’s always wise to check locally. In fact, there are many dry counties and communities.

Minimum Age to Sell Alcohol by State

Alabama

age to sell alcoholGeorge Washington was his country’s first large distiller. In 1798, his distillery at Mount Vernon produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey.

In Alabama there is no minimum state age to sell wine or beer in a store for consumption off-site. But a person must be at lease 21 to sell spirits in such a venue. Also, a manager or supervisor of unspecified age must be present.

Discover more at Alabama Alcohol Laws.

Alaska

Alaskan alcohol sales age laws are simple. Only those age 21 or older may sell beer, wine, or spirits. 

However, adults age 18 through 20 may work in a licensed eating place. But they may not sell or serve any alcoholic beverages.

Visit Alaska Alcohol Laws: Any Laws Surprise You? 

Arizona

Persons of age 16 or older may sell alcohol in an off-premises store. That is, they may sell beer, wine, or spirits.

A supervisor at least 19 years old must be on the premises. In addition, the store must primarily sell products other than alcohol.

There are many more Arizona Alcohol Laws.

Arkansas

Vintners make most white wine from red grapes.

The state of Arkansas requires people to be adults to sell beer or wine at off-premises locations. That is, people must be at least 18 years of age. However, adults age 18 through 20 need parental approval to work with alcohol.

On the other hand, people must be at least 21 years old to sell spirits for off-premises consumption.

See Arkansas Alcohol Laws.

California

Distilled spirits have no carbs, sodium, sugar, cholesterol or fats of any kind.

There is no minimum age for selling alcohol in stores for consumption off-site. But a manager must be present. There is no minimum age of the manager.

More about Golden State laws at California Alcohol Laws.

Colorado

As it ages white wine gets darker. On the other hand, red wine gets lighter as it ages.

The law in Colorado requires sellers of alcohol to be at least age 21. However, adults 18 or older may sell 3.2% alcohol beer in stores for drinking off-premises.

Explore Colorado Alcohol Laws.

Connecticut

Adults 18 or older may sell alcohol for off-site consumption. There are no artificial differences between beer, wine, or spirits.

There’s much more at Connecticut Alcohol Laws: Small State, Big Surprise.

Delaware

State alcohol laws permit adults 19 years or older to sell alcohol for drinking off-site. They may also serve alcohol for on-premises drinking. However, they must be at lest 21 to tend bar.

Check out Delaware Alcohol Laws: Do You Know Them?

District of Columbia (Washington, DC)

Adults of any age may sell any alcohol for off-premises or for on-premises consumption. They may also tend bar or serve alcohol in on-site venues. Thus, the minimum age in all cases is 18.

It’s a capital idea to visit Washington, DC Alcohol Laws.

Florida

In Florida, state law has no minimum age for selling beer and wine for off-site consumption. But to sell spirits in such a store, employees must be adults age 18 or older.

Adults aged 18 or older may be bartenders. They may also be servers in venues that sell alcohol for consumption on-premises.

Visit Florida Alcohol Laws: Know Before You Go.

Georgia

The melody of  the “Star-Spangled Banner” is from a drinking song.

No Georgia state alcohol law specifies any minimum age for selling alcohol for off-site consumption. That includes beer, wine, and spirits.

Learn much more about Georgia Alcohol Laws. 

Hawai’i

Hawai’ian alcohol law requires those selling alcohol at off-premises be adults 18 or older. The law makes no distinction between beer, wine, or spirits. In all cases a manager must be present. However, there is no minimum age for the manager.

Discover Hawai’ian Alcohol Laws.

Idaho

There’s no worm in tequila. The so-called worm is in mezcal. Distillers make it from a different plant. The “worm” is actually a butterfly caterpillar (Hipopta Agavis).

Adults age 19 or older may sell beer, wine, and spirits at off-premises stores in Idaho.

They may also legally serve alcohol in venues for on-site consumption. That includes tending bar.

Explore much more at Idaho Alcohol Laws.

Illinois

State law in Illinois permits adults of any age to sell alcohol for consumption off-site. It makes no false alcohol content assumptions about beer, wine, and spirits.

Learn more about Illinois Alcohol Laws.

Indiana

State alcohol law lets adults age 18 or older be servers or cashiers in venues that sell alcohol. It can be for drinking either on or off-site. 

A supervisor must be present. However, the law does not state any minimum age for the supervisor.

Investigate more at Indiana Alcohol Laws.

Iowa

Your teacher was wrong! Alcohol does not destroy brain cells. To the contrary, moderate drinkers better thinking ability. And such drinking reduces Alzheimer’s and dementia later in life.

Persons 16 years or older may legally sell beer and wine for drinking elsewhere. But only adults age 18 or older may sell spirits for off-site consumption.

Visit Iowa Alcohol Laws: They Might Surprise You – Discover More.

Kansas

Adults 18 or older may sell any alcoholic beverage of 3.2% alcohol or lower by weight (ABW) for off-premises use. In reality, that means they may only sell “near-beer” and non-alcoholic beer.

On the other hand, only liquor stores may sell alcoholic beverages with over 3.2% ABW. Employees at these stores must be at least 21 years old. 

Heard of Carry Nation? Even if not, visit Kansas Alcohol Laws: Would Carry Nation Approve? 

Kentucky

A Baptist minister first made Bourbon in 1789 in Bourbon County, Kentucky. The beverage took the name of the county.

Adults age 18 or older may sell beer in locations for off-premises consumption. Another adult at least 20 years old must supervise them. 

But sellers must be at least 20 years old to sell wine or spirits for drinking off-premises.

Knowledge is power. Visit Kentucky Alcohol Laws: Not Just about Moonshine.

Louisiana

There are no state age laws for working in stores that sell alcohol to drink off-site. But a supervisor must be present. The alcohol law does not indicate any minimum age for supervisors.

Learn about Louisiana Alcohol Laws: Big Easy to Bayou.

Maine

In Maine, state alcohol law is very consistent. People must be 17 or older to sell alcohol in off-premises stores. 

In addition, those of that age may also serve alcohol for consumption on-site. Finally, they may also tend bar.

In all cases, a supervisor must be present. However, the state does not mandate an age minimum for the supervisor.   

Maine makes no artificial distinctions between beer, wine and spirits in its age laws.

Why are Maine Alcohol Laws more important than Maine lobster laws?

Maryland

Alcohol state laws permit adults age 18 or older to sell beer and wine for off-premises consumption. However, Maryland law reflects the myth that drinks of beer, wine, and spirits have different amounts of alcohol. Therefore, Maryland law requires sellers of spirits to be at least 21 years old.

There are many more Maryland Alcohol Laws. Protect yourself by knowing them. 

Massachusetts

The Puritans brought more beer than water onboard the Mayflower.

State law in Massachusetts permits adults age 18 or older to sell alcohol in stores for drinking elsewhere. It does not distinguish between forms of alcoholic beverage.

You can learn more about Massachusetts Alcohol Laws.

Michigan

There’s a cloud of alcohol with enough alcohol to make four trillion-trillion drinks. But it’s about 10,000 light years from Earth.

State alcohol laws in Michigan are uniform. Adults aged 18 or older may sell alcohol to drink off-premises.

In addition, such adults may also sell alcohol for drinking on site. And they may be bartenders.

There are many more Michigan Alcohol Laws.

Minnesota

Abstaining from alcoholic beverages is a health risk factor. That is, it increases the chances of poor health and shorter life.

Adults age 18 or older may sell alcohol for drinking elsewhere. They may sell it for consumption on-site. And they may tend bar.

Additionally, those age 16 or older may serve in establishments where 3.2% beer is incidental to food service.

Visit Minesota Alcohol Laws.

Mississippi

Heavy taxes more than double the price of a typical bottle of spirits. That encourages the production of dangerous bootleg alcohol

The state of Mississippi requires people to be at least 21 years old to sell or serve any alcohol. Period. It’s very consistent.

Check out Mississippi Alcohol Laws.

Missouri

Adults age 18 and older may also sell any form of alcohol in stores for off-site consumption. A supervisor must be on the premises. However, the law does not specify a supervisor’s age requirement.

“Show Me” more Missouri Alcohol Laws.

Montana

Adults age 18 or older may sell any alcohol for consumption off-premises.

Find out what’s legal and not at Montana Alcohol Laws.

Nebraska

age to sell alcohol
Required age to sell alcohol varies.

The law of Nebraska is very consistent. It permits adults 19 or older to sell alcohol in off-premises stores. They also can tend bar and serve alcohol for on-premises consumption.

You may want to know more about Nebraska Alcohol Laws.

Nevada

In Nevada the lowest age is 16 to sell alcohol for consumption off-site. This includes beer, wine or spirits liquors. A manager or supervisor must be present. However, the law doesn’t state a minimum age for the manager.

Nevada makes it easy for young people to get work experience.

Don’t gamble on knowing Nevada Alcohol Laws.

New Hampshire

The state of New Hampshire permits persons 16 or older to sell alcohol in a store for off-premises consumption. A manager at least 18 years old must be present.

Do you think New Hampshire Alcohol Laws are granite tough?

New Jersey

The oldest known recipe in the world is for beer.

New Jersey alcohol laws are consistent. They permit adults 18 or older to sell alcohol in off-premises stores. And they may be bartenders. They also may serve it in venue for on-site consumption..

In addition, adults 18-20 may own a liquor license. That is, their business may then sell alcoholic beverages. Thus, they may own a store or restaurant that sells alcohol, but not be able to even taste it!

Do you know New Jersey Alcohol Laws?

New Mexico

Alcohol laws of the state of New Mexico permit people aged 21 or older to sell alcohol for off-site drinking.

Find out more about New Mexico Alcohol Laws.

New York

There is no state minimum age for selling beer or wine to drink off-site. But the minimum age for selling spirits in such venues is 18. In all cases, a manager must be present. However, the law does not specify a minimum age for managers.

Discover more about the State of New York Alcohol Laws.

North Carolina

State law in North Carolina  has no minimum age for selling beer or wine for off-premises consumption. However, those who sell spirits in such stores must be adults 18 years or older.

Local alcohol laws in North Carolina are often more restrictive than state law. Some to the point of prohibition.

Explore more at North Carolina Alcohol Laws.

North Dakota

The human body creates alcohol constantly. It can’t live without doing so. The process is endogenous ethanol production.

Persons in North Dakota must be at least 21 years old to work in stores selling off-site alcohol.

Find out more about North Dakota Alcohol Laws.

Ohio

To sell alcohol in Ohio for off-site consumption, the age is adulthood. That is, age 18 or older.

There are many more Ohio Alcohol Laws.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma alcohol laws require people working in a store selling alcohol for drinking off-site to be at least 21.

Ironically, alcohol servers in on-premises locations need only be 18 or older.

Some Oklahoma Alcohol Laws often surprise people. Do any surprise you?

Oregon

Johnny Appleseed distributed apple seeds across the U.S. frontier. People didn’t want to grow apples to munch. They wanted them for their juice. They fermented it to make hard cider.

Alcohol laws of Oregon permit adults 18 or older to be cashiers in stores that sell alcohol to drink off-premises.

You can easily learn about more Oregon Alcohol Laws.

 Pennsylvania

Adults age 18 or older may sell alcohol in a venue for drinking off-premises. People age 17 may also do so if they have graduated high school. In that case, the law considers them to be adults. Or if the head of their school district declares they have reached their academic potential.

Discover more Pennsylvania Alcohol Laws.

Rhode Island

State laws permit adults to work in stores that sell alcohol for drinking elsewhere. Thus, the lowest age is 18.

Rhode Island Alcohol Laws are numerous.

South Carolina

There is no minimum age for selling beer or wine for off-premises consumption. But it is 21 for selling spirits in such a store.

You can learn about more South Carolina Alcohol Laws.

South Dakota

No alcohol beverage can be over about 190% proof (or 95% alcohol). At a higher proof, the beverage self-dilutes by drawing moisture from the air

There is no state minimum age for selling beer in off-premises stotes. The age is 21 for selling wine and spirits in such locations. However no supervisor is necessary.

If you either live in or visit the state, it’s good to know South Dakota Alcohol Laws.

Tennessee

State law of Tennessee permits adults 18 or older to sell alcohol in venues for off-premises consumption. The state makes no artificial distinctions between beer, wine, or spirits.

Tennessee Alcohol Laws aren’t just about Tennessee Whiskey.

Texas

All vitamins and minerals necessary for the body to live can be provided by alcoholic beverages.

Those 16 or older may sell beer and wine in stores selling it for consumption elsewhere. But they must be age 21 to sell spirits in such businesses.

You can explore Texas Alcohol Laws. It’s a big state with many laws.

Utah

The state of Utah mandates an age of 21 or older to sell alcohol for consumption elsewhere.

An exception is that people ages 17 through 20 may sell beer in stores for off-premises drinking. Howeve, a person aged 21 or older must supervise them. And the supervisor must also be on the premises at the time of sales.

If you visit the beautiful state of Utah, you should know Utah Alcohol Laws.

Vermont

Hundreds of years ago, recipes for beer had surprising ingredients. They included such things as honey, sugar, bay leaves, aromatics, poppy seeds, mushrooms, butter and bread crumbs.

The laws permit persons 16 or older to sell alcohol for off-premises drinking. They are silent regarding selling spirits. Vermont has a government monopoly over such sales. It sets the age of its employees. Thus, the age can change at any time.

Learn about Vermont Alcohol Laws.

Virginia

Virginia laws do not have any minimum legal age for selling alcohol in a venue for off-site consumption. However, another employee age 21 or older must be present.

Virginia is for Lovers. You won’t find any laws for lovers here. But this is the place if you’re interested in Virginia Alcohol Laws.

Washington

State laws in Washington permit adults age 18 and older to sell alcohol in stores for consumption off the premises.

Find more State of Washington Alcohol Laws.

West Virginia

In West Virginia alcohol laws are simple about age. Adults of any age may sell any alcohol for off-site consumption.  They may also tend bar and server it. That is, anyone 18 or older may do those jobs.

Anyone age 16 or 17 may also work in establishments that sell alcohol. However, they may not sell or deliver either alcohol or non-intoxicating beer.

If you visit the state, it’s a good idea to know West Virginia Alcohol Laws.

Wisconsin

Adults of any age may sell alcohol in stores for off-site consumption. They may also be servers or bartenders in any venue that sells alcohol for drinking on-site. Thus, the minimum age is 18.

Wisconsin Alcohol Laws are numerous. Learn them to avoid problems.

Washington, DC (see District of Columbia)

Wyoming

State alcohol laws in Wyoming require those selling alcohol for off-site consumption to be 21 or older.

Note that Wyoming counties and cities can modify the above ages and restrictions. So it’s important to check locally.

If you visit the state be sure to know Wyoming Alcohol Laws.

Resources

Note: Do not rely on this site for legal information. Nor on any other site. Laws change. Courts often reinterpret them. A locality may have its own higher age to sell alcohol in off-premises stores. This website doesn’t provide legal advice. Always consult a lawyer for that.