The Green Mountain State is a beautiful destination. While you’re in Vermont (or if you live there), you need to know the alcohol laws. Since each state has its own, there are a lot of different beer laws. What do Vermont’s beer laws look like in 2022?
In Vermont, you can buy a beer 7 days a week. On-premise retailers can sell alcohol between 8 am and 2 am while off-premise retailers can sell between 6 am and midnight. The state allows alcohol delivery and growlers.
Aside from when and where you can buy a beer, you need to know important laws like open containers and how alcohol delivery works. Let’s explore the important alcohol laws of Vermont!
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Is Vermont a dry state?
In the context of alcohol, a dry state is one that prohibits or greatly restricts the sale or production of alcohol. There are no states in the US that are completely dry.
Vermont is not a dry state. It does not prohibit the production or sale of alcohol. The state’s restrictions are light enough to not be considered a dry state.
However, portions of states are often allowed to go dry based on a vote.
Does Vermont have any dry counties?
Many states give their localities the power to vote on their wet or dry status. In some states, none of the counties or towns take advantage of this power. In other states, there are many dry counties and towns.
Vermont has no dry counties. Instead, there are 4 dry towns in Vermont.
You can’t buy a beer in these towns.
When can you buy beer in Vermont?
In the areas where you can buy a beer, there is a range of times when you can’t do so. This is because Vermont, like most states, restricts when you can buy alcohol. Luckily, these hours aren’t too restrictive.
You can buy a beer in Vermont between 8 am and 2 am from on-premise retailers such as bars and restaurants. Retailers that sell alcohol for off-premise consumption like grocery stores can sell between 6 am and midnight.
These hours are consistent throughout the state for the most part.
Can you buy beer on Sunday in Vermont?
Some states have laws that restrict their general hours of sale even further on Sundays. Since these laws are often religiously motivated they are called “blue laws”. Vermont does not have any extra restrictions on Sundays.
You can buy beer on Sunday in Vermont. The hours of sale for retailers are the same as the rest of the week.
Some businesses may choose to close on Sunday, but they are not legally required to.
When do bars close in Vermont?
When the bar closes it is usually the end of the night out. It is important to know when this is to arrange transportation.
Bars in Vermont close at 2 am each night. That time may be earlier dependent on the business.
Some bars may close earlier for various reasons.
Where can you buy beer in Vermont?
Aside from time restrictions, states can legally restrict where you can buy alcohol. Some states are more restrictive than others. Some even restrict certain types of alcohol to certain retailers.
The places you can buy beer in Vermont include:
- Bars and restaurants
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Package and liquor stores
- Breweries and taprooms
Each of these locations has specific regulations. In each section below, I will go over the important rules for the retailer.
Bars and restaurants
Vermont bars and restaurants can sell beer, wine, and liquor every day of the week. The hours of sale are from 8 am until 2 am. The majority of sales are for on-premise consumption, but to-go orders can include alcohol between 10 am and 11 pm.
Off-premise sales can take the form of growlers. Additionally, restaurants that don’t have liquor licenses can allow customers to bring their own alcohol (BYOB). This is allowed on the state level, but municipalities may regulate this option.
Vermont gas stations can sell beer and wine from 6 am until 12 am every day of the week. All sales must be for off-premise consumption. All alcohol sold must be in its original packaging.
Grocery stores in Vermont can sell beer and wine for off-premise consumption. They can do so from 6 am until 12 am every day of the week. All sales must be in their original packaging.
A grocery store may have an attached liquor store to sell hard liquor, but it will be considered a separate area.
Package and liquor stores
Liquor stores in Vermont can sell beer, wine, and liquor from 6 am until 12 am every day of the week. All sales must be for off-premise consumption. Additionally, all alcohol must be sold in its original packaging.
Breweries and taprooms
Vermont breweries can sell beer, wine, and liquor produced by themselves or other Vermont breweries. Breweries and brewpubs can sell alcohol between 6 am and 12 am every day. Sales can be for on and off-premise consumption. The alcohol can be in its original packaging or growlers.
Can you get beer delivered in Vermont?
When you don’t want to go out alcohol delivery is the best. Unfortunately, some states don’t allow it or place strict rules on any delivery. Luckily, alcohol delivery is legal in Vermont.
In Vermont, the rules that govern alcohol delivery are dependent on what retailer is doing the delivery. Some of those rules include:
- Deliveries must be made by the licensee or the licensee’s employees.
- Deliveries from an off-premise retailer can only be fulfilled between 9 am and 5 pm
- Off-premise retailers can deliver up to 12 cases or 36 gallons of beer whichever comes first per year
- Off-premise retailers can deliver up to 12 cases or 29 gallons of wine whichever comes first per year
- Orders from a restaurant or bar must also include food
- Orders from a restaurant or bar must be sealed with tamper-evident methods
- Orders from a restaurant or bar must also be labeled with the ingredients, serving size, and the fact that it contains alcohol
- Restaurant and bar to-go orders can be fulfilled between 10 am and 11 pm
What is the minimum drinking age in Vermont?
Across the United States, you will find the same minimum drinking age. Although so much each state’s alcohol laws are different from each other, the minimum drinking age is the same.
The minimum drinking age is 21 in Vermont.
In some states, there are legal exceptions to this minimum age.
Can minors drink beer in Vermont with parents?
The most common legal exception to the minimum drinking age is parental approval. If a parent provides the alcohol and both parent and minor are in a private space, the minor can drink. States provide this exception so that parents can teach their charges the dangers of alcohol.
Minors may not drink alcohol with their parents in Vermont. Parents may not provide alcohol to their under 21 children.
The only exception valid in Vermont is when culinary students older than 18 years old possess or consume alcohol.
State alcohol laws
The overall style of alcohol laws that a state presents falls under one of two categories. A state is either a control or license state.
A control state is directly involved in the alcohol industry. The state will almost always directly control wholesaling in the state. That may be limited to liquor wholesaling or extend to beer and wine. Some control states may even run retail liquor stores.
A license state on the other hand is not directly involved. This style of alcohol law will regulate how licenses are obtained and other general laws. They do not control wholesaling or run stores.
Vermont is a control state. The state controls the distribution of liquor. Vermont used to run liquor stores but has since stepped back.
Drinking laws in Vermont
After purchasing alcohol there are still many laws to know. The important laws cover the containers for alcohol and driving either under the influence or with alcohol in the vehicle.
Vermont’s drinking laws are fairly straightforward. The laws of the state are not particularly strict as compared to other states. Laws are in place to discourage dangerous behavior involving alcohol.
That is the main goal of these laws–to protect the general public.
Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in Vermont?
One aspect of the drinking laws is about the containers you can buy alcohol in. Containers that don’t seal like cans and bottles are often referred to as growlers. These containers are great for taking home draught beer, but they aren’t always legal.
Growlers are legal in Vermont. Breweries, brewpubs, bars, and restaurants can sell and fill growlers. The specific requirements are up to the location. Most require the growler to be brown glass and cleaned before being filled.
The most common growler sizes are 32 and 64 ounces.
When a growler is sealed with tamper-evident tape or another method it is usually considered a sealed container for the purposes of open container laws. Once that seal is broken it falls under the open container classification.
In Vermont, it is illegal for a passenger or driver of a motor vehicle to possess an open container of alcohol. The alcohol must be placed in the trunk, a locked glove box, or behind the rearmost upright seat if the vehicle does not have a trunk.
There are only two exceptions to this law in Vermont. Passengers in a commercial vehicle, such as a limo, can have alcohol. The other exception is people in the living area of a motor home.
Of all the drinking laws, the ones surrounding drinking and driving are taken the most seriously. These laws and their penalties are in place to discourage people from taking that potentially deadly risk.
Vermont determines the legal limits and penalties for drunk driving based on the age of the driver and the surrounding circumstances.
Certain circumstances and choices made by the driver will increase the penalties. Additionally, subsequent convictions within 15 years will increase the penalties.
Under 21 years old
The legal limit for drivers under 21 years old in Vermont is 0.02% BAC. The penalties for a conviction can include:
- License suspension for 6 months
- Alcohol education course
21 years and older
The legal limit for drivers 21 years old and older in Vermont is 0.08% BAC. Commercial drivers have a legal limit of 0.04% except for school bus drivers who have a limit of 0.02% BAC. The penalties for a conviction can include:
- License suspension for 90 days
- Jail time for up to 2 years
- Fine of up to $750