Since the United States lets its states decide most of their laws surrounding alcohol, there are 50 different versions of beer laws. What do Alabama’s beer laws look like in 2023?
Alabama does not specify the hours of sale for alcohol aside from dictating that alcohol can’t be sold after 2 a.m. on Sunday. Each county and city can set its own sales hours. Beer and weak wine can be sold in many retailers, but the state controls the sale of liquor and full-strength wine. Alabama does not outlaw alcohol delivery or growlers.
Alcohol laws are important for each resident and visitor of drinking age to know. Let’s explore each of the important laws surrounding when and where you can buy alcohol.
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Is Alabama a dry state?
Since 1933, states have had the power to decide whether to return to being wet states. There have been no dry states since 1966, when Mississippi repealed its prohibition.
Alabama is not a dry state. The state government does not prohibit or severely restrict the sale of alcohol.
However, many states, including Alabama, allow counties, cities, and other localities to decide their wet or dry status.
Does Alabama have any dry counties?
Since Alabama gives its counties the power to go dry, there have been many over the years. Today their statuses are a little less clear.
Alabama has no counties that are completely dry. Of the 67 counties in the state, 24 are partially dry, meaning they have wet cities within them.
These 24 “moist” counties include:
Outside of a few cities in each of the above counties, alcohol is heavily restricted in these parts of the state.
When can you buy beer in Alabama?
Unlike most states, Alabama does not dictate the hours of sale for each county. Instead, the hours of legal alcohol sale are up to the localities. However, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board runs state liquor stores that have different hours.
In Montgomery, Alabama, you can buy beer for off-premise consumption 24/7. You can buy beer for on-premise consumption 24 hours a day except for Sunday. State-run liquor stores, however, are only open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The hours for ABC stores are set by the Board Administrator and may be less than the above listed.
Can you buy beer on Sunday in Alabama?
Sunday alcohol sales are historically prohibited. This has slowly changed over time.
In Montgomery, you can buy alcohol any time on Sunday except between 2 a.m. and 9 a.m. Alabama state law makes it illegal to sell alcohol after 2 a.m. on Sunday by default. Localities can change this by voting. State-run liquor stores are closed on Sunday.
State-run stores are also closed on Christmas and Thanksgiving.
When do bars close in Alabama?
If you’re not familiar with the closing times of an area, it can be a downer when closing time is sooner than you expect.
Bars’ closing times depend on where in Alabama they are. Some counties are fairly restrictive. The typical closing time is 2 a.m. Private clubs can be open much later than others.
Be sure to look up the closing time of your favorite bar.
Where can you buy beer in Alabama?
Where you can buy beer is often just as, if not more, important than when you can.
The places you can buy beer in Alabama include:
- Bars and restaurants
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Package and liquor stores
- Breweries and taprooms
Each location has specific rules and regulations that I will go over below. The hours of sale for each depend on the localities’ laws.
Bars and restaurants
Alabama restaurants and bars typically can’t sell alcohol between 2 a.m. and 9 a.m. They can sell beer, wine, and liquor for on-premise consumption. To-go orders can contain alcohol as long as it is not more than 375 mL.
If the licensee is licensed to sell for off-premise consumption, they can fill growlers.
Alabama gas stations can only sell beer and low-strength wine. They can’t do so between 2 a.m. and 9 a.m. All sales must be for off-premise consumption and in the original packaging.
Beer can’t exceed 6%, while wine can’t exceed 16.5%.
Grocery stores in Alabama can sell beer and “table” wine. Their alcohol sale hours are dependent on the county, but they generally close by midnight.
All alcohol must be sold in its original packaging. Additionally, none of the sales may be for on-premise consumption.
Package and liquor stores
Liquor stores in Alabama can sell beer, wine, and liquor. ABC stores won’t be open before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. but each store will have hours within this range. These stores can sell and fill growlers if they have the equipment to do so.
The beer and wine sold at liquor stores don’t have the same restrictions as other retailers.
Breweries and taprooms
Alabama breweries can sell their beer and other brewers for on-premise consumption. Their hours of sale depend on the county but can’t extend past 2 a.m. Breweries can also sell beer in bottles, cans, or growlers for off-premise consumption.
Growlers must be properly sanitized before being refilled. Breweries can’t sell more than 864 ounces of beer for off-premise consumption to one customer.
Can you get beer delivered in Alabama?
With modern technology, you don’t even have to leave the house to get some alcohol. Though there are some regulations, beer delivery is legal in Alabama.
The laws covering alcohol delivery in Alabama dictate:
- Delivery can be completed by licensee employees or a third party.
- The delivery must be signed for by an individual 21 or older.
- Proof of age for the customer must be checked.
- Alcohol deliveries have quantity limits per 24 hours:
- 120 12 oz canned or bottled beers
- 288 ounces of draft beer
- 12 750 mL bottles of liquor or wine
- To-go food orders can’t contain more than 375 mL of alcoholic beverage.
Third-party delivery services such as Drizly are common options.
What is the minimum drinking age in Alabama?
In each of the 50 states, the minimum drinking age is the same. This is one of the aspects of alcohol laws that states can’t change.
The minimum drinking age is 21 in Alabama.
What states can change is whether they acknowledge exceptions or not.
Can minors drink beer in Alabama with their parents?
Of the common exceptions, this is the most common. Parents who introduce their children to alcohol often do so to demystify it. Sometimes this is legal along with some other exceptions.
Minors and adults under 21 years old can’t drink beer in Alabama, no exception. Parents and guardians are not allowed to provide any alcoholic drinks.
Other common exceptions cover religious, medical, and educational reasons. Religious and medical exceptions are legal in Alabama.
State alcohol laws
Each state has particular statewide laws about alcohol. Naturally, these take many forms. In Alabama, they take the form of a monopoly over liquor and full-strength wine.
The state of Alabama has strict control over all liquor and wine above 16.5% ABV. These alcohols can only be purchased from liquor stores. The state runs all ABC stores and private liquor stores must first purchase these alcohols from the state.
Additionally, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board manages all alcohol licensing in the state. The ABC sets any markups on liquor and wine throughout the state. They can approve or deny any labeling on malt or wine beverages coming into the state.
Drinking laws in Alabama
Now you know the laws surrounding when and where you can buy alcohol. Now you need to know a few of the laws surrounding drinking and other miscellaneous aspects.
Overall, Alabama’s drinking laws are outdated compared to those of other states. However, this does not mean that they are unreasonable. Many of the laws around drinking alcohol are there to protect the public and reduce incidents of alcohol abuse.
Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in Alabama?
Growlers are a great way to take home draft beer and are often sold by breweries. Unfortunately, some states make growlers and other unsealed containers illegal. This is not the case in Alabama.
Growlers, or reusable containers, are legal in Alabama as long as they don’t exceed an 128-ounce capacity. The containers can be glass, stainless steel, ceramic, or another approved material. Plastic growlers can be sold but not reused.
The other restrictions behind growlers aren’t much. They can’t be shipped to the customer and they must be sanitized before refilling. Additionally, the growler must be labeled with important product information.
Whether you’ve got a growler of a great craft beer or some other unsealed container you need to consider the open container laws.
In Alabama, it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of a motor vehicle. Open containers must be in the trunk or similarly out of easy access by any person.
There are a few exceptions where it is legal to have an open container. The first is in a commercial vehicle meant for transporting passengers. This can include a limo or a bus – although it is illegal to drink in public. Another exception is the living area of a motor home.
One of the biggest risks with alcohol is drunk driving. Each state has a set of penalties for DUI convictions.
Alabama matches legal limits and penalties to the age of the driver. Drivers under the age of 21 who drive drunk are breaking both the legal limit and the minimum drinking age.
Penalties are subject to circumstance and can be varying degrees of severity. Below are the possibilities.
Under 21 years old
The legal limit for drivers under 21 is 0.02% BAC in Alabama. The penalties for a first-time conviction can include:
- 30-day license suspension
- Mandatory alcohol education course
If the individual’s BAC is above 0.08% they might be subject to the penalties for of-age individuals.
21 years and older
The legal limit for drivers 21 and older is 0.08% BAC in Alabama. The penalties for a first-time conviction can include:
- Jail time up to 1 year
- A fine of at least $600 and up to $2,100
- 90-day license suspension
- Ignition Interlock Device for 6 months