Good news for beer nerds trapped in the Magnolia State – starting July 1st, you’ll be able purchase beers with up to 8% alcohol by weight (roughly 10% ABV) without playing Smokey and the Bandit and making a run to Alabama or Louisiana (or eBay). The previous limit was 5% alcohol by weight (about 6.25% ABV). The bill to make this happen was championed by the group Raise Your Pints and signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant in early April (hey, news moves slow in the South!).
Even better news for brewers in the Magnolia State, As of July 1st you can brew beer with any level of alcohol content you choose, you just can’t sell it in your home state if it’s over 8% ABW. Still, this will open up new opportunities for Mississippi brewers who want to make big beers for the big boys and big girls in states that don’t treat them like nannies.
Overall, things are looking up for beer geeks in Mississippi. Now they just gotta work on legalizing homebrewing down there.
I did some heavy research (well, I checked Wikipedia) and came across this list of alcohol restrictions by state, of which I posted the “notes” portion of below. It looks like the MS info hasn’t been updated, so I have no idea how up-to-the-minute the rest of it is.
Beyond no sales of alcohol at grocery stores, my home state of New Jersey isn’t too bad. How does your state stack up? I certainly hope you’re not in Oklahoma…
List by state
|Alabama||13.9% ABV cap on beer
Beer containers may not exceed 16 ounces (0.47 l)
ABV > 14.9% wine sold in state stores
Alcohol may be served 24 hours unless restricted by local ordinances. Twenty-six of Alabama’s 67 counties do not allow the sale of alcohol. However, possession and consumption remains legal within those twenty-six counties. Cities with populations greater than 1000 within dry counties can “go wet” if passed by 50% of voters.
|Alaska||Most communities have more restrictive laws, ranging from restrictions on operating hours to bans on sale and possession. Sellers/servers may not, for any reason, give a person alcohol for free or sell it for less than its cost. Sellers/servers may drink while on duty, but no intoxicated person may remain on the premises, so an impaired server could be arrested.|
|Arizona||Sales of any type of alcohol are legal at any store that has an off-premises liquor license, including but not limited to convenience stores and grocery stores. Bars may sell closed containers of alcohol for consumption off the premises. Drive-through liquor stores are allowed. Everclear Grain Alcohol Proof 190 (95% alcohol) is legal. A large percentage of the land area of Arizona is in Indian reservations, many of which have liquor laws considerably more restrictive than state law, up to and including total prohibition. “Beer busts” (all the beer/liquor one can drink for a set price) in bars are illegal. Persons 19 years of age or older may work in bars and liquor stores serving and selling alcohol. Patrons may not purchase more than 32 ounces of beer, 1 liter of wine or 4 ounces of distilled spirits at one time. DUI penalties are some of the most severe in the nation. A person convicted of a DUI (even first offense) must have an interlock installed in his or her car for one year. Arizona has an ‘Impaired to the Slightest Degree’ law that can convict a person even if his or her BAC is less than .08%.|
|Arkansas||Has numerous dry counties and other dry areas, but private clubs can serve even in dry areas.
Alcohol sales are generally prohibited on Sundays, but exceptions can be made through local option (usually for restaurants and private clubs).
No sales on Christmas Day.
|California||Relatively unrestricted; beer, wine and liquor available at grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and warehouse clubs. No statewide holiday restrictions.
Motor vehicles entering from Mexico may only import 1L of alcohol (duty free). Sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages higher than 60% ABV is illegal (B&P 23403), though the law is widely ignored.
You may serve alcohol if you are at least 18 years of age.
City and County governments can set different sale hours.
|Colorado||Spirituous, vinous & malt liquor available in liquor stores and liquor-licensed drug stores only.
Liquor stores closed on Christmas Day. Sunday sales restriction lifted on July 1, 2008. Liquor stores and liquor-licensed drug stores may have only one location, while 3.2% beer may be sold in gas stations, supermarkets, and convenience stores. Appropriately licensed businesses may also sell 3.2% beer for both on and off-premise consumption. A small number of grocery stores are licensed as drug stores and sell full strength beer, wine, and spirits.
|Connecticut||No Sunday off-premises sales; Sunday on-premises sales subject to local ordinances.Beer can be purchased at grocery/convenience stores. Spirits and wine can be purchased only at liquor stores.|
|Delaware||For off-premise consumption, alcohol may be purchased only in a liquor store, taproom, or a brew pub that has an off-premise license. No person under 21 may enter a liquor store or taproom for any reason, even for the intent of purchasing only tobacco or lottery tickets. No sales of alcohol by liquor stores or taprooms are permitted during designated holidays. Delaware Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement agency website|
|District of Columbia||No singles sold, but stores in some areas may apply for an exemption
Certain wards may be made dry by the decision of the local ANC, but as of 2005 none are
Liquor stores must close on Sundays (except on December 24 and 31 when those dates fall on Sunday).
On-premises retailers may sell/serve for an additional hour the day before a federal or district holiday. On New Year’s Eve, on-premises retailers may sell/serve until 4 am on January 1.
|Florida||Sale, processing, or consumption of any liquor or spirit of greater than 153 proof is illegal. (FSS565.07)No retail sale of wine in containers larger than 1 gallon. FS 564.05 Supermarkets and other licensed business establishments may sell beer, low-alcohol liquors, and wine. Liquor must be sold in dedicated liquor stores which may be in a separate part of a grocery or a drug store. Beer must be sold in quantities of 32 or fewer ounces or greater than 1 gallon. Forty- and 64-ounce beverages are illegal.|
|Georgia||14% ABV cap on beer.
Sunday off-premises sales from 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. allowed only by local referendum.
In general, one may not be drunk in public. Though there is no state law prohibiting drinking in public, most municipal corporations and political subdivisions limit the possession of open containers of alcohol to private property, with one notable exception being Savannah. A charge of public drunkenness is only warranted when one is drunk in public and his acts are either loud or disorderly.
|Idaho||Alcoholic beverages exceeding 16% ABV can only be sold in Idaho State Liquor Dispensary stores, or contracted stores.|
|Illinois||Opening/closing hours are up to the decision of counties or towns.|
|Indiana||Sales limited to on-premises in restaurants, wineries and breweries on Sundays. However, carryout wine and beer may be purchased on Sundays from the address for which a winery or brewery’s permit is issued.No sales on Christmas. Minors, including babies, are not allowed to enter a liquor store. No sales of cold beer in grocery stores or gas stations.ID must be presented for all off-premises sales as of July 1, 2010 per IC 7.1-5-10-23. (Outdated as of July 1, 2011)Public intoxication is a class B misdemeanor. (IC 7.1-5-1-3)|
|Iowa||ABV > 5% beer shipped through state warehouse|
|Kansas||Kansas’s alcohol laws are among the strictest in the United States. Kansas prohibited all alcohol from 1881 to 1948, and continued to prohibit on-premises sales of alcohol from 1949 to 1987. Sunday sales only have been allowed since 2005. Today, 29 counties still do not permit the on-premises sale of alcohol. 59 counties require a business to receive at least 30% of revenue from food sales to allow on-premises sale of alcohol. Only 17 counties allow general on-premises sales. Not all communities which allow off-premises sales allow sales on Sunday. Sales are prohibited on Christmas and Easter. The only alcoholic beverage which grocery stores and gas stations may only sell is beer with no more than 3.2% alcohol by weight. Other liquor sales only are allowed at state-licensed retail liquor stores. Kansas has comprehensive open container laws for public places and vehicles, public intoxication laws, and requirements for prospective on-premises or off-premises licensees.|
|Kentucky||Local ordinance may vote to permit Sunday sales at restaurants. Sales from 2–4 a.m. only in Louisville. As of 2005 Sunday sales were allowed per state law, but may still be prohibited in some areas by local ordinance (as of early 2006, such a situation existed with smaller cities within Louisville Metro, though these cities have since changed local ordinances).Alcohol sale restriction and wet/dry (both by drink and package) allowed by both county and city local option. Approximately 39 counties in the state (mostly eastern and southern counties) are dry, all alcohol sale and possession prohibited; 22 “moist” counties (with “wet” cities allowing package liquor sales in counties otherwise dry); 29 counties that are otherwise dry but have communities with local option that allow sales of liquor by the drink or under special exemptions allowing sales at wineries. Majority of wet counties around major metropolitan areas in state (Louisville, Lexington, Covington, Bowling Green).|
|Louisiana||Packaged alcoholic beverages of any strength may be sold in supermarkets, drug stores, gas stations, and convenience stores 24 hours a day. Local municipalities may not restrict this. As a result, dedicated “liquor stores” are mostly specialty stores in larger cities, and some supermarkets have large selections of liquors and wines, and compete on the basis of liquor prices and selection.Alcohol can be consumed in the streets of New Orleans as long as it is in an “unbreakable container” (no glass) and taken from club-to-club if the establishment allows it. Otherwise it depends on the locality. Most parishes other than Orleans Parish do not permit alcoholic beverages served at on-premise establishments to be taken from the premises. However, many parishes and municipalities permit consumption of packaged beverages (for example, cans of beer) on the street. Glass bottles on the streets are prohibited. One can enter most bars at 18 years of age but must be 21 years old to purchase or consume alcohol. Also, it is legal in the state of Louisiana for a legal parent or guardian to purchase alcoholic beverages for their under-aged child.|
|Maine||ABV > Alcohol may not be purchased after 1 a.m. any day of the week, may not be purchased prior to 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and not prior to 9 a.m. on Sunday. Wholesaling through state-licensed monopoly.|
|Maryland||Baltimore County prohibits the sale on Sunday in some areas.
In the counties of Montgomery, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester sale of alcoholic beverages are controlled directly by the county Liquor Control Boards, there is exceptions in Montgomery where some liquors are still sold in grocery store due to being grandfathered before the change of the law.
Garrett County prohibits the sale on Sunday except in some areas.
The sale of alcohol at grocery and convenience stores varies by county.
There are no dry counties, but some individual voting districts within counties restrict or prohibit alcohol on a local-option basis.
|Massachusetts||No individual, partnership, or corporation may have more than three off-premises licences in the state, nor more than two in any city, nor more than one in any town. No individual, partnership, or corporation not resident or headquartered in Massachusetts may apply for a license, although one may devolve thereupon.
Legitimate out-of-state IDs are not sufficient proof of age; a Massachusetts driver’s license or Massachusetts Liquor ID is required or the establishment will not have legal protection.
On-premises regulations: No discounts at specific times (i.e. no “Happy Hour” discounts) or for specific individuals, no fixed-price open bar or all-you-can-drink (except at private functions), no more than two drinks per individual at any one time, no pitchers for fewer than two people, no drinking contests, no drinks as prizes, no free drinks.
Off-premises sale of alcohol is prohibited on the last Monday in May (Memorial Day), Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas if Christmas falls on a Sunday.
Sale of alcohol is prohibited during polling hours on election days (subject to local exceptions).
“Malt beverages” defined as having not more than 12% alcohol by weight.
|Michigan||The Michigan Liquor Control Commission allows the sale of alcoholic beverages until 11:59 p.m. on December 24 and after 12:00 p.m. on December 25. On-premises sales are permitted on January 1 until 4:00 a.m. Local or county ordinance may restrict Sunday or Sunday morning sales. State does not operate retail outlets; maintains a monopoly over wholesaling of distilled spirits only.|
|Minnesota||Local and/or County ordinance prevails for hours of operation for off-sale licenses. No alcohol off-sale on Sunday. Growler sales allowed until 10 p.m. Monday–Saturday. Certain municipalities may establish municipal liquor stores; they are permitted, but not required, to exclude privately owned stores.|
|Mississippi||ABW > 5% wine and sparkling wine sold in state-contracted stores. Beer and light wine (ABW < 5%, ABV < ~6.3%) sold in convenience stores/supermarkets. Beer over 5% ABW prohibited. Beer and light wine (ABW < 5%) may be consumed by persons age 18-20 with parental supervision. Governer Phil Bryant signed a bill permitting beer with 8% ABW/10% ABV on April 9, 2012. The bill will go into effect on July 1, 2012.
No sales on Christmas Day. No state open container laws. Free alcohol all day and night in coastal casinos.
In most counties, alcohol cannot be sold on Sundays. There are many dry counties in which it is illegal to possess alcoholic beverages, though some cities within dry counties have voted in beer sales.
|Missouri||One of the most alcohol-permissive states, perhaps only behind Nevada and Louisiana:
Missouri law recognizes two types of alcoholic beverage: liquor, which is any beverage containing more than 0.5% alcohol except “non-intoxicating beer”; and “non-intoxicating beer,” which is beer containing between 0.5% and 3.2% alcohol. Liquor laws apply to all liquor, and special laws apply to “non-intoxicating beer.”
|Montana||ABV > 16% wine sold in state-contracted stores, ABV < 16% may be sold in grocery stores.|
|Nebraska||No on- or off-premises sales of spirits before noon on Sundays. All beer, wine, and champagnecan be sold starting at 6 a.m. In Omaha, it was illegal to sell all liquor before noon. On December 19, 2006, the Omaha city council voted 5-1 to repeal the law.|
|Nevada||There are few restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol in Nevada except for age.State law also renders public intoxication legal, and explicitly prohibits any local or state law from making it a public offence.|
|New Hampshire||Liquor sold in state-run stores, many found at highway rest areas.
14% ABV cap on beer. State is wholesaler of wine. State taxes beer $0.30/gal at the wholesale level.
|New Jersey||Some dry communities in historically Methodist and Quaker communities in the southern part of the state.
Though there is not a ban on selling alcoholic beverages at grocery stores, New Jersey limits each chain to two licenses, so except for a few exceptions, most supermarkets/convenience stores/gas stations/pharmacies do not sell alcoholic beverages. In addition, liquor sales are only permitted in a separate department or attached sister store.
Bars are allowed to off-sale packaged goods.
With the exception of Jersey City and Newark, all municipalities MUST allow off-sales of beer and wine at any time on-sales are permitted. However, since alcoholic beverages are generally only found in package stores, this right is rarely exercised.
Alcoholic beverages by the drink as well as off-sales of beer and wine are permitted 24 hours a day in Atlantic City and Brigantine.
|New Mexico||New Mexico issues two types of license for consumption on-premise: a full dispenser license allowing sale of all types of alcohol, or a restaurant license permitting sale of beer and wine only. An additional Sunday permit is available which allows sale (on and/or off premise) on Sundays from noon until midnight. Exceptions are the prohibition of alcohol sale on Christmas, regardless of the day it falls on, and a Sunday permit allowing of sale (on and/or off premise) until 2:00 a.m. January 1, if December 31 falls on a Sunday. Sunday permits are only available where approved by voters within a local option district. Selling, serving and giving alcohol to a minor is a class 4 felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison.|
|New York||Off-premises sale of wine and spirits is only at liquor stores, and beer is not sold at liquor stores; it must be sold at supermarkets and convenience stores. Exchanges for returned items are permitted (at store owners’ discretion).Some counties may retain the Sunday morning beer prohibition which the state discontinued as of July 30, 2006. Twelve dry towns, mostly in western region of state. All liquor stores must be owned by a single owner, who owns that store and lives within a certain distance of it — effectually banning chain liquor stores from the state. New York City law does not allow open containers of alcohol in public.|
|North Carolina||15% ABV cap on beer, no known cap on wine.|
|North Dakota||No off-sale on Thanksgiving Day. No Christmas Day on-sale, nor sales on Christmas Eve after 6 p.m.|
|Ohio||12% ABV cap on beer. 21% ABV cap on wine. The Division of Liquor Control does not operate retail outlets; it appoints private businesses to act as its agents and sell its products in exchange for a commission. Normal proof spirits (>21% ABV) are sold only in a limited number of agent stores. Many retail outlets sell diluted spirits (diluted by water to 21% ABV) under a more readily obtained permit.No intoxicating liquor shall be handled by any person under twenty-one years of age, except that a person eighteen years of age or older employed by a permit holder may handle or sell beer or intoxicating liquor in sealed containers in connection with wholesale or retail sales, and any person nineteen years of age or older employed by a permit holder may handle intoxicating liquor in open containers when acting in the capacity of a server in a hotel, restaurant, club, or night club. .Alcohol can be sold/given to people under the age of eighteen if given by a physician in the regular line of his practice or given for established religious purposes, or the underage person is accompanied by a parent, spouse who is not an underage person, or legal guardian.|
|Oklahoma||4.0% ABV/3.2 ABW or higher only sold at room temperature in liquor stores, Liquor Stores closed on Sundays and some holidays. As of 2007, liquor stores are now open on election days. State law prohibits public intoxication, many counties and cities also prohibit public intoxication.|
|Oregon||Liquor, all of which is state-owned prior to sale to consumers, is sold in private liquor stores. These stores are approved by Oregon’s Liquor Commissioners to act as sales agents on the state’s behalf.Oregon Liquor Control CommissionNational Alcohol Beverage Control Association|
|Pennsylvania||Wine and spirits can only be sold at State-operated stores. All persons must be at least 21 years of age to enter a state-operated liquor store alone. Beer is not sold at state-operated liquor stores.Beer can be purchased at beverage outlets (cases only), or restaurants (six-packs/restricted quantities) with Liquor Control Board–issued licenses, but not supermarkets. Non-alcoholic beer is an exception, and may be sold in supermarkets, but persons buying it still must be at least 21 years of age.Sunday sales were prohibited in LCB stores until 2003 (selected locations) and beverage outlets (owner’s option) until 2005.There are currently seven state liquor stores located within supermarkets.In 2010, a trial was initiated to test selling wine in grocery stores using vending machines. The buyer must present identification, look into a camera to allow an offsite PLCB employee to verify the identification, and blow into a breathalyzer to authorize the sale. (See US Wine Vending Machines) This practice was ended in September 2011. (See State Pulls Plug On Wine Kiosk Program)As of 2007, some convenience stores and grocery stores were trying to fight Pennsylvania’s strict laws on the sale of alcohol. (See Sheetz Weis Markets and Wegman’s) Since 2009, beer sales have been approved in multiple Western Pennsylvania locations of the grocery chain Giant Eagle. Giant Eagle Beer In addition, wine kiosks have also recently become available at multiple Giant Eagle locations in the Pittsburgh area. Giant Eagle WineSpecial permits may be purchased for certain organizations for fundraisers once per calendar year, and are valid for a total of six days under the same rules governing restaurants. PLCB FAQs Grain alcohol prohibited as a beverage.|
|Rhode Island||All alcohol may be sold only in liquor stores. Thus, convenience stores and supermarkets in Rhode Island are dry.|
|South Carolina||14% ABW (17.5% ABV) cap on beer
Wine > 16% ABV sold in liquor stores
No hard liquor sales after 7 p.m. and none on Sundays.
No off-premise alcohol sales after midnight Saturday until 7 a.m. Monday, except in Aiken, Greenville, Spartanburg, Horry County, Colleton County, Richland County, Charleston County/city and Beaufort County. No sales on election days at liquor stores.
|South Dakota||14% ABV cap on beer|
|Tennessee||Wine is only sold in liquor stores. Sales of liquor are limited to on-premises in restaurants on Sundays. Beer above 5% ABW / 6.3% ABV must be sold in liquor stores. Open container law only applies to drivers, not passengers.|
|Texas||No alcohol cap but ABV > 15.5% requires additional license, so many places are beer/wine only.
Wet/dry issues determined by city/county election.
Liquor stores statewide closed all day Sunday.
An alcoholic beverage served (on-premise) to a customer between 10 a.m. and noon on Sunday may only be provided during the service of food to the customer. 29 Texas counties are completely dry. In many counties, public intoxication laws are vigorously upheld.
|Utah||ABV > 4.0+% sold in state-controlled stores only. State-controlled stores close on Sundays and cease operations no later than 10 p.m. the rest of the week. Restaurants must buy from the state-controlled store (no delivery) at retail prices. No alcohol may be served on Election Day until 8 p.m. No alcohol is served in restaurants without purchase of food. A ban on 4.0% or below beer available on tap was repealed in March 2009. Sales of kegs prohibited.|
|Vermont||ABV > 16% beer and ABV > 16% wine are only available through state liquor stores. A 2008 bill allows the sale of beer in grocery and convenience stores up to ABV 16%.|
|Virginia||Licensed supermarkets, convenience stores, and gas stations may sell beer and wine. Off-premises sales no later than 12 midnight. Numerous dry counties exist.|
|Washington||Beer and wine available in grocery stores and convenience stores every day (including federal holidays) from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Spirits for off-premise consumption are sold only in state-run or state-contracted liquor stores. All state-owned stores are open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon-Thurs and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fri-Sat. Contract stores may still set their own hours, but liquor sales may not be rung up before 8 a.m. and may not be rung up after 11 p.m. A handful of state and contract stores are open Sundays from 12 midday to 5 p.m. State stores are open on most federal holidays, excluding New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.Contract stores have the option to remain open on any holiday at the discretion of the store manager.Will transition to a non-control state on 1 June 2012.|
|West Virginia||12% ABV Cap on Beer. 75% ABV spirits Permitted. Liquor, wine and beer products that are not already in closed packaging must be bagged before exiting retail locations. State does not operate retail stores; retains monopoly over wholesaling of distilled spirits only; stores themselves are privately owned|
|Wisconsin||Wisconsin permits the consumption of alcohol by minors, provided they are being supervised by parents/guardians/spouses. Most municipalities have a uniform 9 p.m. restriction on all alcohol sales. Notable exceptions: La Crosse, Maple Bluff (near Madison), Baraboo (near the Dells). Supermarkets, liquor stores, and gas stations may sell liquor, wine, and beer. Law changed effective 12/7/2011 to allow all liquor sales to begin at 6 a.m.|
|Wyoming||Clubs holding liquor licenses may be exempt from the hours of operation here specified by local ordinance or regulation of the appropriate licensing authority, but it doesn’t seem to happen in practice|
|Puerto Rico||Minimum drinking age is 18.
Dry law during elections and tropical storm emergencies
Drinking on the street is illegal in San Juan but not in all cities. Determined by municipal ordinance.
In San Juan, the only times of the year one can drink on the street legally are during selected street festivals in designated areas.