When visiting Maine for the sights and lobster, you’ll likely want to grab a beer. Maine is just one of the 50 states with different sets of alcohol laws. What do Maine’s alcohol laws look like in 2023.
In Maine, you can buy beer, wine, and liquor from grocery stores, bars, restaurants, and brewpubs. The hours of sale are from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m. for all alcohol retailers every day of the week. You can get alcohol delivered as well as growlers filled.
There is more to the beer laws of Maine. Keep reading to learn about when and where you can buy alcohol, as well as what delivery looks like.
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Is Maine a dry state?
Being a coastal state, Maine is not dry in any sense of the word. That is the same for its alcohol status. For Maine to be dry in the context of alcohol, it would have to prohibit or heavily restrict the sale of alcohol.
Maine is not a dry state. There are no dry states in the U.S.
That said, many states give their localities the power to decide their wet or dry status.
Does Maine have any dry counties?
Maine allows its localities to decide whether they are wet or dry. Localities such as counties and towns can vote to go dry. In addition, they can place some restrictions on alcohol and be considered partially dry.
Maine has no dry counties. However, there are 40 dry and partially dry towns.
These towns include:
- Cary Plantation
- Castle Hill
- Codeyville Plantation
- Dyer Brook
- Elliotsville Plantation
- Grand Falls Plantation
- Lincoln Plantation
- Long Island Plantation
- Machia Sport
- NO. 14 Plantation
- NO. 33 Plantation
- Reed Plantation
- Roque Bluffs
- Seboeis Plantation
- Swan’s Island
When can you buy beer in Maine?
Although Maine is not a dry state, it can restrict when you may buy alcohol. Maine is not particularly strict on this, however.
In Maine, you can buy a beer between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. from both on- and off-premise retailers.
The only differences will be in towns that don’t allow certain or all alcohol sales.
Can you buy beer on Sunday in Maine?
Several states across the country have religiously motivated Blue Laws. One way they do this is by restricting or entirely prohibiting alcohol sales on Sundays.
You can buy a beer on Sunday in Maine. The Sunday hours are the same as the rest of the week.
Some of those partially dry towns outlaw Sunday sales.
When do bars close in Maine?
Only in a few places, like Las Vegas, are bars not required to close at a certain time. Maine is no exception.
Maine bars must close by 1 a.m. Bars can’t allow anyone to consume liquor 15 minutes past this time.
Some bars may close earlier for various reasons.
Where can you buy beer in Maine?
Another way that states can restrict alcohol sales without being considered dry is by limiting where you can get a beer. Some will allow all alcohol sales at all retailers while others will specify the types of alcohol a retailer can sell.
The places you can buy beer in Maine include:
- Bars and restaurants
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Package and liquor stores
- Breweries and taprooms
Each of these locations comes with its own rules and regulations. I will go over each one below.
Bars and restaurants
Bars and restaurants in Maine can sell beer, wine, and liquor every day from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m. The majority of sales are for on-premise consumption. Alcohol can temporarily be sold alongside to-go food orders until 2025.
Alcohol to-go must be sealed and tamper evident.
Maine gas stations can sell beer, wine, and liquor from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m. every day of the week. All sales must be for off-premise consumption in the original packaging.
Not all gas stations will sell alcohol.
Grocery stores in Maine can sell beer, wine, and liquor every day.
The hours they can do so are from 5 am until 1 am. All sales are for off-premise consumption.
Additionally, the alcohol must be in its original packaging.
Package and liquor stores
Maine liquor stores can sell alcohol 7 days a week between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. All sales must be in their original packaging. Customers may not consume alcohol on the premises.
The only time customers may drink at a liquor store is when samples are offered.
Breweries and taprooms
Small Maine breweries can sell their beer for on and off-premise consumption.
Brewpubs can sell their beer as well as other Maine beer, wine, and liquor. The hours of sale for both are between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m.
Off-premise sales can take the form of growlers.
Can you get beer delivered in Maine?
When you don’t have the time for a beer run the convenience of alcohol delivery saves the day. Of course, there are rules and regulations on alcohol delivery.
You can get beer delivered in Maine. The regulations for alcohol delivery include:
- Delivery can be completed by the licensee’s employees or a third-party service
- Upon delivery, the customer must provide proof of age
- Alcohol orders from an on-premise retailer must also include food
- Deliveries can’t be delivered to an intoxicated individual
What is the minimum drinking age in Maine?
Although each of the 50 states has a different set of alcohol laws there are a few things that are consistent across all of them. This is the minimum drinking age.
The minimum drinking age is 21 in Maine.
There are, however, a few exceptions to this law.
Can minors drink beer in Maine with parents?
One of those common exceptions is parental approval. This is often used by parents to educate their children about the dangers and effects of alcohol.
Maine allows minors to drink with their parent or guardian’s approval. The minor must be in a private residence at the time.
A parent may not provide alcohol to a child that is not their own. It does not matter if the other parent gives them permission.
Other exceptions include educational, religious, and medical reasons.
State alcohol laws
State alcohol laws fall into two main styles. The first is called a control state. Control states are usually at least involved in wholesaling and distribution of alcohol. Some control states also run liquor stores.
The second type of alcohol law style is called a license state. These license states don’t get involved in the distribution of alcohol directly. Instead, they manage the liquor licenses and the laws that govern alcohol.
Maine is a control state. The state manages the wholesaling of liquor. It does not run liquor stores anymore.
For a control state, Maine is fairly laid back on what it controls.
Drinking laws in Maine
Now that you know the laws surrounding purchasing alcohol you need to know the laws surrounding drinking.
The Maine laws that cover drinking, driving, and open containers are roughly similar to other states.
These laws are primarily to protect the public.
Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in Maine?
One of the ways you can take home great craft beer is by buying and filling a growler. For the especially small brewers, this allows them to skip over bottling. Unfortunately, some states have incredibly strict rules on growlers–if they allow them at all.
Growlers are legal in Maine. The container must be either 32 ounces or 64 ounces. After filling, the growler must be sealed in a tamper-evident way. Additionally, growlers can’t be filled after 10 p.m.
The growlers must also be marked with labels from the brewery. Labeled growlers can only be filled by the brewery whose mark it carries.
Once that seal has been broken on a growler it is considered an open container. Be sure not to crack it until you get home. Growlers are not the only open container of alcohol that can get you in trouble.
In Maine, the driver and passengers are prohibited from possessing any open container of alcohol. The container must be placed in the trunk or behind the rearmost upright seat.
There are a few exceptions to this law. The first is that passengers in the living area of a motor home may possess an open container. The second allows passengers in a commercial transport vehicle to possess alcohol.
Lastly, a licensed caterer can possess alcohol as long as they are a passenger and are coming from or going to an event.
The most important laws surrounding drinking are those that cover drinking and driving. In an effort to deter drivers from operating their vehicle drunk, the state places severe penalties on those who do.
In Maine, the legal limits and penalties for an OUI conviction are determined by the age of the driver. The circumstances surrounding the conviction will also impact the penalties.
Subsequent convictions within a period of 10 years will come with greater penalties.
Under 21 years old
The legal limit for drivers under 21 years old in Maine is 0% BAC.
The penalties for a conviction can include:
- License suspension for 1 year
- Additional 180 days if a passenger below 21 years old was in the vehicle
If the driver’s BAC is 0.08% or higher they will be punished with the full penalties.
21 years and older
The legal limit for drivers 21 years old and older in Maine is 0.08% BAC.
The penalties for a conviction can include:
- License suspension for at least 180 days
- Fine of at least $500
A driver of the legal drinking age must exceed 0.15% BAC before more severe penalties are applied. Though other circumstances can increase the penalties.
That’s it for the Maine beer and alcohol laws!