New Hampshire Beer and Alcohol Laws in 2023 (Sunday Sales, Delivery)

Just like its 49 sisters, the Granite State has its own unique beer laws. For this reason, it is important to know the alcohol laws in New Hampshire before you visit.

In New Hampshire, you can buy a beer from an off-premise retailer between 6 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. every day of the week. On-premise retailers can sell alcohol between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. You can also get alcohol delivered and growlers filled.

There is much to learn about the alcohol laws of a state. Let’s go over when and where you can buy a beer. In addition, I’ll cover other important laws such as open container and DUI laws.

Is New Hampshire a dry state?

A dry state in the context of alcohol is one that prohibits or severely restricts its sale. All of the U.S. states were dry during Prohibition; however, there are dry states remaining.

New Hampshire is not a dry state. The state laws do not prohibit or heavily restrict the sale of alcohol.

Wet states can contain dry areas, however.

Does New Hampshire have any dry counties?

Some states give their localities, such as counties and cities, the power to become dry. This is done by voting within the locality.

There is one dry area in New Hampshire. The town of Ellsworth is the only dry locality in the state.

You can’t buy any alcohol within the town limits of Ellsworth. In the rest of the state, you can buy alcohol with a few common restrictions.

When can you buy beer in New Hampshire?

A more common restriction than dry towns or counties is a restriction on the days and hours you can buy alcohol. Such a restriction does not make a state dry since the restrictions are relatively light. 

These hours of sale restrictions are usually based on the type of location. For example bars and other places where you drink on location are called on-premise retailers. Places like liquor stores where you take the alcohol home are called off-premise retailers.

In New Hampshire, you can buy a beer from an off-premise retailer between 6 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. On-premise retailers can sell alcohol between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m.

Some retailers won’t take full advantage of these hours, but the above hours are the maximum range. The hours for on-premise retailers can be extended to 2 a.m. in some localities.

Can you buy beer on Sunday in New Hampshire?

In many states, there are additional restrictions called Blue Laws on Sundays, often due to religious reasons. New Hampshire does not require most of its alcohol retailers to open for fewer hours on Sundays.

You can buy beer on Sunday in New Hampshire. The hours are the same on Sunday as any other day. However, state-run liquor stores often close earlier on Sundays.

State-run liquor stores are also closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. There are no special closures on election days.

When do bars close in New Hampshire?

As bars are considered on-premise retailers, they are subject to the hour restrictions listed above. Nights out on the town in New Hampshire do have a solid ending time.

In New Hampshire, the bars close at 1 or 2 a.m., depending on the locality. 

New Hampshire law prohibits anyone from drinking at an on-premise retailer after 30 minutes past the closing time.

Where can you buy beer in New Hampshire?

Each state also places restrictions on where you can buy alcohol. Some are fairly relaxed and allow you to buy alcohol in most retailers. Others are quite strict. The strict laws may also restrict what type of alcohol you can buy at each retailer.

The places you can buy beer in New Hampshire include: 

  • Bars and restaurants
  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Breweries and taprooms

These locations have specific rules and regulations they must follow. In each section, I will detail the most important ones.

Bars and restaurants

New Hampshire bars and restaurants can sell beer, wine, and liquor between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. These hours are the same every day of the week. Most sales are for on-premise consumption. They can sell beer and wine for delivery as long as it accompanies food.

Beer and wine deliveries in this situation are limited to 192 ounces of beer or 1.5 liters of wine. The alcohol must be in the original packaging.

Gas stations

Gas stations in New Hampshire can sell beer and table wine between 6 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. every day of the week.

All sales must be for off-premise consumption. Additionally, all alcohol must be in its original packaging. 

Grocery stores

New Hampshire grocery stores can sell beer and table wine from 6 a.m. until 11:45 p.m. every day.

All sales must be for off-premise consumption in their original packaging.

Breweries and taprooms

New Hampshire breweries, as manufacturers can sell their products from 6 a.m. until midnight every day of the week. Brewpubs can sell beer, wine, and liquor between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. every day of the week. They can sell for on and off-premise consumption.

Brewpubs are also required to have a full restaurant. Breweries and brewpubs can fill growlers as long as the growler is branded with the brewery’s logo.

Can you get beer delivered in New Hampshire?

One of the better developments in recent years has been the loosening of alcohol delivery laws. Across the country, states have allowed their licensees to deliver beer straight to your door. However, some are still fairly restrictive.

Alcohol delivery is legal in New Hampshire with a few limitations. Furthermore, the limitations are specific to who is delivering alcohol. Some of the limitations include:

  • All deliveries must be completed by the licensee’s employees
  • Upon delivery, the customer must sign and verify their age
  • Direct-to-consumer shipping can’t exceed the following quantities per customer in one year:
    • 60 individual containers of liquor
    • 108 liters of wine
    • 27 gallons of beer (not higher than 8% ABV)
  • Restaurants & bars can only deliver alcohol with a food order
  • Restaurant & bar alcohol deliveries are limited to the following quantities
    • 192 ounces of beer
    • 1.5 liters of wine

Compared to other states’ delivery laws, these are more strict.

What is the minimum drinking age in New Hampshire?

No matter where you go in the United States, the minimum drinking age is the same. 

The minimum drinking age is 21 in New Hampshire.

This is the minimum drinking age it is not always a hard line. There are a few exceptions that some states recognize.

Can minors drink beer in New Hampshire with parents?

The most common exception to the legal drinking age involves parental approval. In some states, a parent or guardian may provide alcohol to their charge. This is intended to allow parents to demystify alcohol and educate their children on its effects.

Minors in New Hampshire cannot drink alcohol with their parents. The state does not recognize this exception.

The only time a drunk minor is not punished is if they are getting medical assistance for another drunk minor.

State alcohol laws

In the United States, there are two basic ways that states organize their alcohol laws. The first is by taking direct control over the distribution and sale of certain alcohols. This makes that state a control state.

The other method is when the state simply manages the liquor licenses and general laws. These states do not maintain sole control over the distribution or sale of certain alcohol.

New Hampshire is a control state. All alcohol that enters the state must go through the Liquor Commission. Any alcohol above 6% ABV can only be sold in state-run liquor stores. However, beer is not sold in these stores effectively limiting beer to 6% with a few exceptions.

The Liquor Commission can allow beers between 6% and 8% and ciders up to 12% so you can find these stronger drinks in New Hampshire. 

Drinking laws in New Hampshire

The laws don’t stop once you’ve purchased your alcohol. In fact, that’s when many of them begin. Containers, transporting, and drinking all come with more regulations. Most are there to protect the general public.

New Hampshire’s drinking laws are fairly strict when compared to other states. There are few exceptions, the penalties are high, and a DUI conviction can be made even if the driver’s BAC was below the legal limit.

That said if you know these laws you can avoid legal trouble. Let’s review the important laws surrounding drinking in New Hampshire.

Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in New Hampshire?

When you want to take home draught beer, your best option is a growler. These large containers are regulated to varying degrees across the country. Luckily, most states allow them with some restrictions.

You can buy growlers in New Hampshire. The containers are limited to a maximum capacity of 64 ounces. Additionally, only breweries can sell growlers. The growler must be branded with the logo or name of the brewery.

You can’t get a growler from one brewery filled at another in New Hampshire. 

Open container

Driving your growler home from the brewery can raise some questions about the open container laws. Since an open container is any container of alcohol that is unsealed, growlers are fine as long as they have tamper-evident seals.

In New Hampshire, it is illegal for any passenger or driver of a motor vehicle to have an open container of alcohol. Said open container must be placed in the trunk or behind the rearmost seat if the vehicle doesn’t have a trunk.

There are two exceptions to this law. The first is that passengers in a commercial transportation vehicle, such as a taxi or limo, may possess an open container of alcohol. The other allows passengers in the living area of a motor home to possess an open container. 

Any other situation will result in several penalties including a fine and license suspension.


Whether there are open containers in the vehicle or not, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire law determines the legal limits and penalties for a DUI conviction based on the age of the driver. The circumstances surrounding the arrest will also affect the penalties.

Under 21 years old

The legal limit for drivers under 21 years old in New Hampshire is 0.02% BAC.

The penalties for a first conviction can include:

  • Fine of at least $500 and up to $1,200
  • License suspension for at least 1 year
  • Alcohol education course

Subsequent convictions will increase the penalties.

21 years and older

The legal limit for drivers 21 years old and older in New Hampshire is 0.08% BAC.

The penalties for a first conviction can include:

  • Fine of at least $500
  • License suspension for at least 9 months and up to 2 years
  • Alcohol education course
  • An Ignition Interlock Device

Subsequent convictions will increase the penalties.

Plan on traveling? Check out all of the beer and alcohol laws by state on our interactive map!