There are 50 states in the US and that means 50 unique sets of alcohol laws. These beer and alcohol laws will vary greatly from state to state. What do Idaho’s beer laws look like in 2023?
In Idaho, you can buy a beer 7 days a week from 6 a.m. and 1 a.m., whether it’s for on- or off-premise consumption. Sales of liquor are restricted to between 10 a.m. and 1 a.m. Beer sales are legal on Sunday; liquor and full-strength wine sales are banned, although localities can vote to allow it from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Alcohol delivery is legal.
There are a lot of complexities when it comes to alcohol laws in the 50 states. Let’s go over the important laws in Idaho such as when and where you can buy a beer.
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Is Idaho a dry state?
When it comes to alcohol laws a state is considered dry if it outlaws or severely restricts the sale of alcohol. There are no dry states in the US today.
Idaho is not a dry state. It allows the sale of alcohol and does not heavily restrict it.
However, many states give their localities the power to vote on whether they want to be dry.
Does Idaho have any dry counties?
Idaho allows counties and cities the ability to designate their wet or dry status.
Idaho has no dry counties.
However, localities have the power to outlaw liquor by the drink sales.
When can you buy beer in Idaho?
Even in states where alcohol sales are legal, the state government often puts restrictions on when you can buy alcohol. This is usually to protect the general public in a number of ways.
In Idaho, you can buy a beer and table wine for on or off-premise consumption between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. any day of the week. Liquor sales for off and on-premise consumption are legal from 10 a.m. until 1 a.m.
Cities and counties can change the 1 a.m. limit to 2 a.m. for one or both of these.
Can you buy beer on Sunday in Idaho?
Further restrictions on alcohol sales due to the day of the week are less common but still exist. These are less to do with protecting the general public and more to do with religious reasons.
You can buy beer on Sunday in Idaho. The hours of sale for on and off-premise beer are from 6 a.m. until 1 a.m. Sales of liquor and full-strength wine are outlawed on Sunday by default. Localities can vote to allow the sale of liquor on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 1 a.m.
Localities can also vote to extend the 1 a.m. cutoff to 2 a.m. Other special days when the sale of liquor is prohibited include Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.
When do bars close in Idaho?
Bars are considered on-premise retailers. This means that they must follow any restrictions set for the on-premise sale and consumption of alcohol.
Bars in Idaho close at 2 a.m. at the latest. The default set by the state is 1 a.m., but cities and counties can move that back.
Some bars may close earlier for reasons specific to the business.
Where can you buy beer in Idaho?
The state’s power to restrict alcoholic beverages doesn’t end at setting the times you can purchase them. States will often restrict where you can buy beer and other alcohol. Idaho doesn’t regulate beer so much as it regulates liquor.
The places you can buy beer in Idaho include:
- Bars and restaurants
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Package and liquor stores
- Breweries and taprooms
Each of these locations has rules and regulations they must follow. So that you’re never caught unprepared, let’s go over each type of location and what specific rules they must follow.
Bars and restaurants
Bars and restaurants in Idaho can sell beer 7 days a week between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. (depending on local ordinances). If the bar or restaurant has a liquor-by-the-drink license, it can sell liquor between 10 a.m. and 1 or 2 a.m. They can deliver alcohol and fill growlers.
Alcohol to-go does have a few restrictions as I will go over later.
Idaho gas stations can sell beer and table wine any day of the week from 6 a.m. until 1 or 2 a.m. All sales must be for off-premise consumption. Additionally, all alcohol must be in its original packaging. The one exception is growlers.
Gas stations can refill and sell growlers.
Idaho grocery stores can sell beer and table wine 7 days a week. The hours of sale for alcohol are between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. All sales must be for off-premise consumption. They must also be in the original packaging with the exception of growlers.
Grocery stores can sell and fill growlers if they invest in the equipment.
Package and liquor stores
Liquor stores in Idaho are state-run.
They can sell beer, full-strength wine, and liquor Monday through Saturday. The hours of sale are from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. but most stores are open for fewer hours. All sales must be for off-premise consumption.
It is common for Idaho liquor stores to be open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Liquor and package stores can sell growlers if they purchase and set up the equipment.
Breweries and taprooms
Breweries in Idaho can sell beer and wine for both on and off-premise consumption. They can do so from 6 a.m. until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. though most will not be open that whole time.
Alcohol for off-premise consumption can be sold in bottles, cans, and growlers.
Can you get beer delivered in Idaho?
When you just don’t want to go out you can get alcohol delivered in Idaho. That said, alcohol delivery does come with a few restrictions. This is especially true in Idah as compared to other states.
Alcohol delivery in Idaho comes with a few rules which include:
- Liquor cannot be delivered (only beer and wine)
- Liquor is available for pickup orders
- The individual delivering the alcohol must be older than 19
- Upon delivery, the customer’s proof of age must be checked
- Alcohol can’t be delivered to a visibly intoxicated individual
- Delivery can be completed by the licensee’s employees or a third-party service
What is the minimum drinking age in Idaho?
A minimum drinking age is set at an age that the government believes individuals will be responsible with alcohol. This is rather hard to determine as each individual’s sense of responsibility varies. However, there is a generally accepted age in America.
The minimum drinking age is 21 in Idaho.
However, there are often exceptions to this hardline that some states legally recognize.
Can minors drink beer in Idaho with parents?
One of the most common exceptions that is recognized is parental decision.
Minors in Idaho may possess beer with their parent or guardian’s permission in a private residence. The exception does not seem to extend to consumption.
Furnishing a minor with alcohol can result in fines and jail time. There are other exceptions common to the US such as medical or religious reasons. These do not appear to be accepted by Idaho law. The state’s stance seems quite resolute.
State alcohol laws
When it comes to state alcohol laws, most states are fairly reasonable. There are some old laws that have been maintained, but most aren’t extraordinarily restrictive. That said, there are two main types of state alcohol laws.
The first is a control state. These states are directly involved in the wholesaling of alcohol. All or most of the alcohol that enters the state must first go through the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control. They set the prices and select the alcohol that may enter.
The second is a license state. These states control the license requirements to sell alcohol but do not directly control the alcohol entering the state. The majority of states follow this style.
Idaho is a control state. The Idaho State Liquor Division controls all alcohol above 16% ABV. Beer and weak wine are not controlled as strictly as full-strength wine and liquor. In addition, cities can only have 1 liquor license per 1,500 people.
This liquor license restriction has led to waiting lists for the licenses as they become available. In some cases, businesses have been waiting for years to get a license.
Drinking laws in Idaho
When it comes to drinking laws, Idaho is one of the most strict.
Idaho is one of the strictest states regarding alcohol laws. Some of the laws are certainly for public protection, but many Idaho laws take this to an extreme.
There are several important aspects of drinking laws in Idaho that I will go over below.
Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in Idaho?
Sometimes you just want a draft beer instead of a can or bottle. When this desire strikes, it usually means you’re off to your favorite bar. That is unless you’ve got a growler of your chosen draft.
Aside from being a great way to support craft brewers, growlers are simply convenient. Luckily, they are legal in Idaho.
You can buy and have growlers refilled in Idaho. Growlers can be between 25.3 ounces and 128 ounces in capacity. These jugs must be sealed by specific tape when sold.
While the tape can prove that the growler hasn’t been opened, growlers are typically considered open containers. This comes with the restrictions that all open containers are subject to in Idaho.
Open containers of alcohol are prohibited from vehicles in almost all states. This is in an attempt to cut down on drunk driving incidents.
Idaho law prohibits open containers in the passenger area of a motor vehicle. All open containers must be stored in the trunk or behind the rearmost seat if the vehicle does not have a trunk.
The only exception to this rule is when passengers are in the living area of a motor home or are passengers in a commercial transportation vehicle.
Even in states that do not have strict rules against drinking and driving, it is never a good idea. Not to mention that Idaho does have strict rules.
Idaho determines the legal limits and penalties for a DUI based on the age of the driver and the circumstances involved.
Under 21 years old
The legal limit for drivers under 21 years old is 0.02% BAC in Idaho.
The first conviction can come with the following penalties:
- Fine of up to $1,000
- License suspension for at least 90 days
- Alcohol education course.
If the driver’s BAC is above 0.08% the penalties will be more severe. Subsequent convictions within 10 years will also increase the penalties.
21 years and older
The legal limit for drivers 21 years and older is 0.08% BAC in Idaho.
The first conviction can come with the following penalties:
- Jail for up to 6 months
- Fine of up to $1,000
- License suspension of at least 90 days and up to 180 days
- An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for 1 year after license suspension
If the driver’s BAC is above 0.20% the penalties will be much more severe. Subsequent convictions within 10 years will also increase the penalties.