Each of the 50 states has its own beer and alcohol laws. This can make traveling complicated when all you want is to get a beer. What do beer and alcohol laws look like in New Mexico in 2023?
In New Mexico, you can buy beer, wine, and liquor any day of the week. Off-premise retailers (such as liquor stores) can sell alcohol between 7 a.m. and 12 a.m. On-premise retailers may do so from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Restaurants can sell from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. or until they stop serving food. New Mexico allows alcohol delivery and growler sales.
Keep reading to discover when and where you can buy alcohol in New Mexico. In addition, you should know some of the rules and regulations surrounding alcohol in the state.
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Is New Mexico a dry state?
In the U.S., dry states are those that heavily restrict or entirely prohibit the sale of alcohol. There are no dry states today.
New Mexico is not a dry state. The state government does not restrict or prohibit the sale of alcohol.
That said, many states allow localities the power to designate a county or city as dry.
Does New Mexico have any dry counties?
New Mexico is one of the states that allows cities and counties the ability to vote on their dry or wet status.
New Mexico has no dry counties. Of its 33 counties, none are dry.
In 2019, the last two New Mexico counties – Roosevelt and Clovis voted to allow the sale of alcohol.
When can you buy beer in New Mexico?
One way that almost all states control alcohol is by setting the hours when it may be sold. Some set this by the type of alcohol but most set this by the type of license. Though this is a restriction placed on alcohol, it does not change a state’s designation to dry.
You can buy beer from an off-premise retailer between 7 a.m. and 12 a.m. On-premise retailers (except for restaurants) can sell beer between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Restaurants can sell beer between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. or when they stop selling food whichever is earliest.
These ranges of legal alcohol sale hours are the same throughout the state. The only exception is McKinley county which can be more restrictive towards off-premise retailers.
Can you buy beer on Sunday in New Mexico?
Another way that states restrict alcohol is by outlawing or severely reducing Sunday sale hours. This is quite common with states in the so-called Bible Belt. New Mexico used to have these Blue Laws but has recently repealed them.
You can buy a beer on Sunday at the same times you can during the week. Off-premise hours are from 7 a.m. until 12 a.m. On-premise retail hours are from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. Restaurant alcohol sale hours are from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m.
There is no required restriction on Sunday sale hours in New Mexico. Some businesses may choose to close or be open for limited hours on Sundays.
When do bars close in New Mexico?
When you’re having a good time at a bar, the time is often the furthest thing from your mind. All too soon closing time comes around and you’ve got to go. Here is the closing time for bars in New Mexico so you will know ahead of time.
Bars in New Mexico must close by 2 a.m.
Last call will be slightly earlier than 2 a.m. Additionally, some bars may close earlier for various reasons.
Where can you buy beer in New Mexico?
Aside from restricting when you can buy alcohol, states can restrict where you can do so. Luckily, most states aren’t too restrictive in this area. New Mexico is pretty standard when it comes to where you can get a beer.
The places you can buy beer in New Mexico include:
- Bars and restaurants
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Package and liquor stores
- Breweries and taprooms
Each of these locations has its own regulations and rules it must follow. Let’s go over each one in detail.
Bars and restaurants
Unlike in most states, New Mexico categorizes bars and restaurants differently. Bars and restaurants close at different times across the US anyway, but New Mexico requires it.
In New Mexico, bars can sell beer, wine, and liquor between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Restaurants in New Mexico can sell alcohol between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. If they stop serving food before 11, they must also cease serving alcohol.
Sales at either location are primarily for on-premise consumption.
New Mexico gas stations can sell beer, wine, and liquor between 7 a.m. and midnight. All sales must be for off-premise consumption. Additionally, all alcohol must be sold in its original packaging.
Gas stations in McKinley County can only sell beer and wine after a change to the Liquor Control Act in 2021.
New Mexico grocery stores can sell beer, wine, and hard liquor between 7 a.m. and 12 a.m.
All alcohol must be sold for off-site consumption in its original packaging.
Package and liquor stores
Package and liquor stores in New Mexico can sell beer, wine, and liquor from 7 a.m. until 12 a.m.
All alcohol must be in its original packaging and sold for off-premise consumption.
Breweries and taprooms
In New Mexico, breweries and taprooms must ensure that half of their alcohol sales be house beer.
New Mexico breweries and taprooms can sell beer, wine, and liquor from 7 a.m. until 12 a.m.
If half of the brewery’s alcohol sales are not house beers, the brewery must produce 50 barrels minimum per year.
Sales can be for off and on-premise consumption.
Can you get beer delivered in New Mexico?
When alcohol deliveries are legal, the places you can get a beer include your home! In recent years, most states have expanded delivery options for alcohol. New Mexico is one of these states.
You can get beer delivered in New Mexico. The alcohol delivery laws include a few regulations that retailers must follow. They include:
- Delivery must be completed by an employee 21 years or older
- Restaurants can only deliver alcohol along with a food order of at least $10.00
- Delivery can be completed by third-party services
- Delivery must be during normal hours of operation
- Proof of age must be checked upon delivery and purchase
- Alcohol deliveries from restaurants can’t exceed:
- 750 ml of wine
- 6 12-oz beer or wine
- 1 local growler
- 1 howler of no more than 4.5 oz of liquor
What is the minimum drinking age in New Mexico?
Although the states have the power to set their alcohol laws, they do not have the power to set the legal drinking age. This is consistent across the United States.
The minimum drinking age is 21 in New Mexico.
That said, some states acknowledge a few exceptions.
Can minors drink beer in New Mexico with parents?
One of the more common exceptions allows minors to drink with parental permission. New Mexico does allow this exception and a few others.
Minors can drink with their parents in New Mexico. The minor must be in the presence of their parents or guardians and in a private residence.
Additionally, an of-age spouse can give alcohol to their underage spouse. Other common exceptions are religious, educational, and medical reasons.
State alcohol laws
When it comes to alcohol laws there are often many misconceptions, outdated laws, and religious-driven restrictions. Sometimes a state has one set of rules for beer and another for liquor. This can create a lot of confusion.
New Mexico is not a control state. The state does not maintain a monopoly on alcohol wholesaling. It restricts who can sell alcohol and how, but these laws are sensible.
Overall, alcohol laws in New Mexico are fairly straightforward.
Drinking laws in New Mexico
Lastly, the laws surrounding drinking in New Mexico are rather fair.
New Mexico’s drinking laws are fairly standard when compared to other states. The state’s laws are meant to protect the public and curb alcohol abuse. This is accomplished through regulations and penalties.
Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in New Mexico?
When you want to support small breweries, your best bet is to drink their beer. To help in this honorable endeavor, it is best to buy growlers. Unfortunately, some states have strange restrictions on these jugs.
You can buy and refill growlers in New Mexico. Growlers must be sealed or otherwise tamper-proof when sold for off-premise consumption.
When taking your growler for a refill, you must clean it beforehand. Most breweries will fill any growler, but it is best to check ahead of time.
Once the seal on a bottle, growler, or can is broken, it is considered an open container. Any open container of alcohol must be handled properly in a motor vehicle.
In New Mexico, drivers and passengers may not possess open containers. All open containers of alcohol must be placed in the vehicle’s trunk. Glove boxes are considered part of the passenger area.
The only exceptions include vehicles meant for living in and commercial transport. This means that passengers in the living area of a motor home may possess an open container. The same goes for passengers in taxis or limos.
When it comes to drinking and driving, New Mexico has strict penalties.
New Mexico determines the penalties and limits for driving under the influence based on the age of the driver and the circumstances involved.
Under 21 years old
In New Mexico, the legal limit for drivers under 21 years old is 0.02% BAC.
The penalties for the first DWI conviction can include:
- License suspension for up to 1 year
- Community service
- If the driver is 18-21 years old they may face the standard DWI penalties
If the driver’s BAC is 0.08% or higher, they will face the full penalties of a DWI.
21 years and older
In New Mexico, the legal limit for drivers 21 years and older is 0.08% BAC.
The penalties for the first DWI conviction can include:
- Jail time up to 90 days
- Fine of up to $500
- License suspension up to 1 year
- IID (Ignition Interlock Device) for up to 1 year
- Community service for 24 hours
- Alcohol educational course
The severity of these penalties depends on the circumstances involved. A BAC of 0.16% or higher comes with much higher penalties.