Beer laws can vary widely from state to state. If you’re moving, on a road trip, vacation, or visiting family it can be helpful to know the laws in the state and area where you’ll be. Here are just a few things you may not know about Ohio beer laws in 2022.
Keep reading for all the current information about Ohio’s beer laws. We’ll look at Sunday sales, delivery, and where you can buy beer. You’ll also learn the legal drinking age exceptions, open container laws, and penalties for drunk driving.
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Is Ohio a dry state?
Dry states are states where the sale of alcoholic beverages is completely prohibited. Is Ohio a dry state?
There are no dry states in the United States in 2023, therefore Ohio is not a dry state. However, it is a blue law state, meaning the state assembly requires a special permit for alcohol to be sold on Sundays across the entire state.
Thirty-three states permit localities within their borders to be dry. Most of these states are in the south, and religious beliefs are often cited in maintaining these prohibition-era blue laws.
Does Ohio have any dry counties?
While there are no states in the United States, there are many dry counties. Are any of these located in Ohio?
All counties in Ohio are considered wet (meaning they allow the sale of alcohol), but a few towns and city precincts remain dry.
Individual precincts throughout the state can use a single precinct voting process to decide whether to be dry or to allow or restrict the sale of alcohol.
When can you buy beer in Ohio?
Blue laws in Ohio restrict the sale of beer and alcohol on Sunday, but when can you actually buy beer?
In Ohio, businesses such as restaurants, bars, breweries, and taprooms with the proper permits for customers to drink beer on-premise can sell it Monday through Saturday from 5:30 am to 2:30 am. Liquor stores and other businesses including grocery stores and gas stations that sell beer for off-premise consumption are able to sell beer from 5:30 am to 1:00 am Monday through Saturday.
Keep reading for more information about the sale of beer and alcohol on Sundays in Ohio.
Can you buy beer on Sunday in Ohio?
In general, blue laws prohibit certain activities from being conducted on Sundays. Some of these laws prohibited non-essential businesses from being open on Sundays, while others specifically banned the sale of alcohol on Sundays.
You can buy beer on Sunday in Ohio, although there are restrictions. In 2000, Ohio’s governor signed a law allowing alcohol sales on Sundays between 10:00 am and midnight with a special permit.
When do bars close in Ohio?
If you’re out for a night on the town, when should you expect the last call?
Most bars in Ohio close between 12:30 am and 2:30 am depending on their location, except on Sundays.
Bars that are licensed to sell alcohol for on-premise consumption may serve it from 5:30 am to 2:30 am Monday through Saturday. Bars with a special permit may also serve alcohol on Sundays from 10:00 am to midnight. Although, some bars are still open after midnight on Sundays.
Where can you buy beer in Ohio?
There are many places where you can buy beer in Ohio. However, it’s worth noting that the state has several restrictions on when, where, and how alcohol can be purchased.
In Ohio, you can buy beer in bars, restaurants, hotels, gas stations, liquor stores, grocery stores, and breweries as long as they have the proper permits. It can also be purchased in private clubs, airports, and other venues and events as permitted by law.
Keep reading for more information about where you can buy beer in Ohio.
Bars and restaurants
As of October 2020, patrons of bars and restaurants are now permitted to purchase three alcoholic drinks with each takeout meal for off-premise consumption.
Beer can be purchased in bars and restaurants in Ohio by the drink for on-premise consumption or in a sealed container for carryout and off-premise consumption.
Alcoholic drinks to go must be purchased with a meal. Customers who purchase alcohol for carry-out should be reminded it is not legal to drink it in the car on the way home.
Beer can be purchased in any hotel or motel that has at least 50 rooms for guests or is part of a college or university.
In Ohio, beer purchase hours from hotels and motels are from 10:00 am to midnight. Beer must be sold by the individual drink in a glass or from its original container, and it must be consumed while on-premise at the location where it’s sold.
Guests may also purchase alcohol from a controlled access cabinet in a registered guest’s room.
Gas stations are allowed to sell beer for off-premise consumption only in Ohio.
As with all locations that sell alcohol in Ohio, they are required to have a special permit to sell on Sundays.
Grocery stores are also allowed to sell beer for off-premise consumption in Ohio and must be sold as packaged in their original container.
They too can sell beer on Sundays with the appropriate permit.
Package and liquor stores
In Ohio, package and liquor stores can sell beer for carryout to be consumed off-premise. They are limited to selling it in original containers up to a maximum limit of five and one-sixth gallons.
This means that ½ barrel kegs, which are normally 15.5 gallons must be purchased directly from beer distributors and not retail stores.
Product tasting samples can be provided at no charge to customers at liquor stores, but they may not exceed two ounces of beer per sample and not exceed a total of four samples in 24 hours.
Breweries and taprooms
Breweries, restaurants, and distilleries may offer customers up to four free samples of beer, not to exceed two ounces per sample in 24 hours.
Ohio brewers may sell beer manufactured on the premises by the glass or container for on-premise consumption. They may also sell beer in bottles or containers for home use that do not exceed one gallon.
Can you get beer delivered in Ohio?
A bill signed by the governor in April 2021 permits the home delivery of alcohol.
Beer or other alcohol can be delivered in Ohio but it must be delivered in its original, sealed container and the person placing the order and receiving the delivery must be at least 21 years old.
This includes online stores, local delivery services like Door Dash, local liquor stores, and breweries that provide the service.
What is the minimum drinking age in Ohio?
The legal drinking age in the United States is 21, but some states make limited exceptions for 18-20-year-olds who are at home and under the supervision of a parent.
The minimum legal age to purchase and consume alcohol in the state of Ohio is 21 years old. Minors (those under 18) may drink only when supervised by a parent.
Anyone who consumes alcohol between 18 and 21 without the permission and supervision of a parent is considered to be drinking underage.
Can minors drink beer in Ohio with parents?
Minors can drink beer in Ohio with consent and supervision by their parents.
Ohio laws allow for minors to consume alcohol with parental consent in the physical presence of their parent or guardian. The parent assumes all responsibility should the minor cause damage or injury during or after drinking.
This also applies to spouses when one is under the age of 21. The spouse over 21 must give consent, supervise and assume responsibility for the minor spouse during and after consuming alcohol.
Drinking laws in Ohio
Drinking laws in Ohio are a bit relaxed for some things, and others not so much.
As in most other states, Ohio prohibits drinking and driving, open containers (with some exceptions), and underage drinking. However, they do legally permit minors to drink with their parents, and many cities have designated areas and events where alcohol can be carried and consumed from open containers in public.
Keep reading to find out more about Ohio’s drinking laws.
Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in Ohio?
Ohio’s laws around buying and transporting growlers and other unsealed beer containers are not well defined.
Ohio law states that beer manufactured by breweries may be purchased in bottles or containers for home use and off-premise consumption so long as they don’t exceed one gallon. The manufacturing premises must also be in the same city or township as the permit was issued.
Some breweries will use a special shrink seal or tape to “seal” the cap. Others don’t bother. It’s best to assume that a growler will always be considered an open container, and transport them in the trunk of your car.
Open container laws in Ohio have some variations, but they are somewhat strict and confusing.
If you’re unsure, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution especially when it pertains to open containers in a vehicle.
Here are some guidelines to follow that should keep you out of trouble in the areas of:
- Vehicle open container
- Public open container
- Designated refreshment areas
- Liquor stores
Vehicle open container
Open containers of alcohol are not permitted in the passenger compartment of any vehicle that is within reach of the driver or any passenger. Open containers are only allowed to be transported in the trunk of the car.
There are two exceptions to this law:
- Passengers in a limousine (as long as they are not in the front compartment where the operator is seated) are permitted to have open containers as long as the limo is on a street, highway, or other public or private property open to the public for the purposes of driving or parking.
- Bottles of wine previously purchased from a reseller that has a permit authorizing the sale of wine for on-premises consumption (such as a ½ bottle leftover from dinner). The bottle must be securely sealed before being removed from the premises.
Public open container
In Ohio, like in many states, open containers of alcohol in public are generally not permitted. There are several exceptions, but they do come with restrictions and in some cases, they vary across the state.
The exceptions to the public open container laws where open containers are permitted are:
- Locations providing tastings or samplings
- Events held by charitable organizations, labor unions, or employers of 10 or more employees sponsoring a function
- Music festivals, outdoor performing arts centers, or orchestral performances
- Designated outdoor refreshment areas
Cities and local municipalities have discretion as to whether to allow these exceptions.
It’s hard to imagine tailgating without a beer in hand, but what are Ohio’s laws on the matter?
Having an open container when tailgating at sporting events is legal so long as you are in a privately-owned parking lot and the owner’s policies permit it. Open containers are allowed on some stadium-owned lots that are considered private around the state, like the Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati where the Bengals play.
However, other stadiums may have parking lots owned by the particular city they are in. Those lots are often designated as public lots, so open containers are not permitted for tailgating.
As an example, many lots around FirstEnergy Stadium where the Cleveland Browns play prohibit alcohol because the lots are owned by the city and considered public lots.
Remember, putting your beer in another cup doesn’t make it legal or fool the police.
Designated refreshment areas
In 2015, Ohio’s governor signed a law that allows an adult to carry an open container of alcohol in designated outdoor refreshment areas or “DORAs.”
These areas are largely adjacent to concert and sporting venues and in areas where bars and restaurants are congregated. The goal is to encourage customers to visit multiple businesses in the area. DORAs are defined by the cities where they are located, so not all cities in Ohio have them.
They are restricted to a half square mile limit for each area. These “refreshment areas” are exempt from the open container laws so long as the alcohol is purchased and consumed within the designated areas.
The state assembly is considering expanding the number and size of these areas in 2022 due to their popularity.
Liquor stores are allowed to sell beer in accordance with their designated permits, but no open containers are permitted unless they are considered product samples.
Driving while drunk or under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous, illegal and can lead to severe penalties.
Driving under the influence in Ohio is never legal. Penalties escalate with each conviction, and multiple repeat offenses can result in felony charges. Multiple convictions can also mean the loss of driving privileges, hefty fines, and even substantial jail time.
Ohio also has a public registry for habitual DUI/OVI (driving under the influence/operating a vehicle impaired) offenders where their names and other personal information are made public to try to further detour citizens from driving drunk.
Under 21 years old
For those drinking and driving while underage, DUI/OVI convictions can be especially harsh even for a first offense. The blood alcohol level to be considered impaired is also lower than it is for adults.
Driving under the influence below age 21 with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02% or more is punishable by a $250 minimum fine, or up to 30 days in jail. It also adds 4 points to the drivers’ license and the license may be suspended between 90 days and five years.
The severity of penalties increases with subsequent convictions.
21 years and older
Drinking and driving for anyone over the age of 21 with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% is illegal in the state of Ohio.
Having a BAC over 0.17% has much stiffer penalties including longer imprisonment and up to $10,500 in fines depending on the number of previous offenses and the timeframe in which they occurred.
The possible punishments for DUI/OVI convictions in Ohio include:
- First offense – BAC of 0.08% to 0.17%
- Adds six points to the driver’s license
- 90-day license suspension
- Either a driver intervention program or 72 hours in jail
- Fine between $375 and $1,075
- Second offense – BAC of 0.08% to 0.17%
- Suspended license for 1 year
- Jail for 10 days to six months (which could include house arrest with monitoring)
- Fine between $500 and $1,625
- License suspension for one to five years
- Impounded vehicle for 90 days
- Alcohol and drug assessment
- Third offense in six years – BAC of 0.08% to 0.17%
- Suspended license for two to ten years
- Jail for 30 days to one year
- Fine between $850 – $2,750
- Mandatory drug and alcohol treatment
- Felony DUI/OVI offenses – In Ohio, four convictions within 10 years or six convictions within 20 years are classified as a felony. Second felony offenses include longer incarceration times, higher fines, and mandatory vehicular forfeiture.
- Jail for 60 days to a maximum sentence of 30 months in prison
- License suspension from three years to a lifetime suspension
- No driving privileges for the first three years of suspension
- Drug and alcohol treatment
- Ignition interlock and yellow license plates once driving privileges are restored
Habitual Offender Registry
Offenders with five or more convictions for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol within 20 years are added to a searchable public database.
It includes the offender’s name, date of birth, and address. It also includes the number of times and the dates the offender has been convicted of OVI/OMWI violations in Ohio in the last 20 years. This registry also includes juvenile offenders.
DUI/OVI offenses cannot be expunged from your record in Ohio. The only two ways to be removed from this database are if the person is determined to be deceased, or if the violation is more than 20 years old. The database was created in 2008.
Summary of Ohio’s beer and alcohol laws in 2023
Under Ohio beer laws in 2023, sale times are Monday through Saturday from 5:30 am to 1:00 am or 2:30 am, depending on the permit. A special permit is required statewide to sell beer on Sundays from 10 am to midnight. Home delivery is permitted as of April 2021, and kegs larger than 5-⅙ gallons must be purchased directly from a distributor.
This briefly summarizes some important Ohio beer laws to remember in 2023 if you plan to visit. Knowing the laws ahead of time can make your trip easier, more enjoyable and keep you out of trouble. Enjoy trying some new beers in the Buckeye state!