In the U.S., there are 50 states with 50 sets of alcohol laws, both of which have changed greatly in the last century. What do Mississippi’s beer and alcohol laws look like in 2023?
Mississippi has some of the most convoluted alcohol laws in the country. Whether you live in Mississippi or are just visiting, you need to know some of these laws. Let’s explore the specifics of when and where you can buy a beer.
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Is Mississippi a dry state?
A dry state is one that places heavy restrictions or even completely outlaws alcohol.
Mississippi is not a dry state. There are no longer any dry states in the United States.
However, many states still allow their counties the power to vote on whether they are wet or dry. This depends on whether the state declares wet or dry by default.
Does Mississippi have any dry counties?
Although Mississippi has recently changed the default from dry to wet, it does let counties vote to return to being dry.
Of 82 counties, 23 are fully dry. They include:
- Chickasaw 1st District
- Pearl River
These counties are dry for both categories of alcohol in Mississippi: beer/light wine and alcoholic beverages (full-strength wine and spirits).
There are more counties that are partially dry. They may be dry for just beer/light wine or alcoholic beverages.
When can you buy beer in Mississippi?
Even if it isn’t considered a dry state, Mississippi can still restrict the hours that alcohol may be sold and purchased. Most states do this for various reasons. The state does so with different hours dependent on the type of retailer.
In Mississippi, you can buy beer for off-premise consumption 24/7. On-premise beer sales are limited to 7 a.m. until midnight. Off-premise alcohol sales are legal between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. On-premise alcohol sales are legal from 10 a.m. until midnight. Alcohol sales at liquor stores are not allowed on Sundays.
However, it is more complicated than that. The first complication is that these hours are subject to change by the local government. This means that these hours are different across the state.
Another complication is that if a locality extends the hours for alcohol, then the hours for beer and light wine are also extended. Some areas allow all alcohol sales 24/7.
Can you buy beer on Sunday in Mississippi?
Sunday alcohol sales are heavily dependent on where you are in Mississippi.
You can buy a beer on Sunday in Mississippi in most places you go. Some areas of the state do not allow liquor or full-strength wine to be sold on Sunday.
Aside from the previously mentioned dry counties, some of the counties with no Sunday sales include Columbia, Plantersville, and Shannon.
When do bars close in Mississippi?
With as convoluted as the sale hours are for the state, there is unsurprisingly no universal closing time.
Bars in Mississippi generally close at 2 a.m. However, in some areas, they may close as early as midnight.
Some areas have no required closing times for bars. In these areas, you may find bars that are open much later.
Where can you buy beer in Mississippi?
States can also determine where you can buy a beer and remain wet. Mississippi law includes a few distinctions.
The places you can buy beer in Mississippi include:
- Bars and restaurants
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Breweries and taprooms
Each of these locations has its own rules and regulations it must follow. Below I will go over each one in detail.
Bars and restaurants
Bars and restaurants in Mississippi can sell beer, wine, and liquor between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m., depending on the county. Alcohol sales must be for on-premise consumption, with the exception of deliveries.
Since wine and spirits are under a separate license from beer, some bars and restaurants only sell beer. Deliveries have a few requirements as will be detailed later.
Mississippi gas stations can sell beer and light wine 24/7, depending on the county. All beer and wine must be in their original packaging. Additionally, all sales must be for off-premise consumption.
The 24/7 time range is only in some areas of Mississippi. Most other places are more restrictive.
Grocery stores in Mississippi can sell beer and light wine 24/7, depending on the county. If the grocery store has a separate entrance they may sell full-strength wine and liquor in the adjacent building. All sales must be for off-premise consumption and in their original packaging.
However, most grocery stores don’t bother with having a separate area for selling liquor and wine.
Breweries and taprooms
Mississippi breweries can sell beer 24/7, depending on the county. Beer can be sold for on and off-premise consumption. Breweries can sell and fill growlers.
Most breweries won’t be open 24/7, even in the few areas they are able to, as it’s not economically viable to stay open nonstop.
Can you get beer delivered in Mississippi?
Like many other modern alcohol laws, delivery options were a long time coming in Mississippi. Thankfully, alcohol delivery is legal in Mississippi now.
Alcohol delivery comes with a few restrictions in Mississippi
- Customer proof of age must be checked upon delivery
- Retailers are limited to the type of alcohol their license covers
- Deliveries can’t be made to locations further than 30 miles from the retailer
- Deliveries are limited to the legal sale hours of the retailer
- Deliveries can’t be made to dry localities
Additionally, entrée requirements limit deliveries from restaurants.
What is the minimum drinking age in Mississippi?
Though Mississippi has convoluted laws surrounding alcohol, there is one area where they are clear: the legal age to drink alcohol is the same as the other 49 states.
The minimum drinking age is 21 in Mississippi.
That said, there are often exceptions that states recognize.
Can minors drink beer in Mississippi with parents?
One such exception to the legal drinking age comes from parental permission.
Minors between 18 and 20 can drink beer – and only beer – with the permission of their parent or legal guardian.
Other standard exceptions include religious or medical reasons.
State alcohol laws
Each of the 50 states has a few peculiarities in its alcohol laws. Mississippi is chock full of them.
Mississippi is a control state meaning that the state is the only wholesaler of wine and liquor. Where Mississippi differs from other control states is its liquor stores. These stores can only sell full-strength wine and spirits. Beer and weak wine are only available at other retailers.
Another oddity of Mississippi is the state’s definition of alcoholic beverages. Hard liquor and wine above 5% alcohol by weight are alcoholic beverages. Beer and wine below that threshold are not. Additionally, beer is capped at 8% alcohol by weight.
Drinking laws in Mississippi
The convoluted nature of Mississippi’s alcohol laws doesn’t stop at purchasing and licensing. Though there are good intentions, Mississippi’s drinking laws are sometimes confusing.
Mississippi’s drinking laws are mostly meant to protect the general public. Mississippi citizens are slowly attempting to bring Mississippi alcohol laws to the modern age.
Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in Mississippi?
Luckily, growlers are legal in Mississippi.
You can buy and refill growlers in Mississippi. Growlers can’t exceed 128 ounces. They must be clean before being refilled and must have labels regarding the contents.
Growlers are limited to beer or light wine.
Here’s where Mississippi’s laws get odd.
Mississippi does not have an open container law. There is no regulation that covers open containers of alcohol in motor vehicles.
Technically you could drink an alcoholic beverage while driving. Of course, this is still a bad idea for your health and those around you, even if it isn’t illegal. Not to mention that while drinking and driving is not illegal, driving while drunk still is.
If you are pulled over, and the police officer sees an open container, he will test your BAC.
Lastly, there are laws that dictate legal limits and penalties.
Mississippi determines the legal limits and penalties for driving under the influence based on the age of the driver and the circumstances.
If you are noticeably impaired while driving, you can be convicted of a DUI even if you were below the legal limit.
Under 21 years old
The legal limit for drivers under 21 years old is 0.02% BAC in Mississippi. The penalties for a first conviction can include:
- A fine of $250
- License suspension for up to 90 days
- Alcohol education course
If the individual’s BAC is above 0.08%, they may face penalties for those 21 and older.
21 years and older
The legal limit for drivers 21 years old and older is 0.08% BAC. The penalties for a first conviction can include:
- A fine of at least $250 and up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to 48 hours
- License suspension for up to 90 days
- IID for up to 90 days
The severity of these penalties will depend on the circumstances involved.
Summary of Mississippi’s beer and alcohol laws
In Mississippi, you can buy beer and light wine 24/7, wine and liquor for on-premise consumption between 10 a.m. and midnight, and wine and liquor for off-premise consumption between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. These hours can be expanded or restricted in each county. You can buy beer from convenience stores, grocery stores, bars, restaurants, and online.