are millions of unpleasant stories due to alcohol.
The bottom line is that alcohol is a drug and all drugs impair
thoughts and actions. It’s been said that alcohol is the
most costly of all drug problems in America and imposes economic
costs of more than $185 billion each year causing more than 100,000
deaths. As a bartender, you must be aware of the laws and consequences
because it’s part of your job and should be taken extremely
Medieval times it has been written that a
person was more likely to die of a knife wound in a tavern
than the victim of a heavier weapon on the battlefield.
1905 Jean Lanfray from Switzerland drank two glasses
of Absinthe at breakfast, a creme de menthe, a cognac, and six
glasses of wine during lunch then before leaving work he drank
another glass of wine and once home he drank a brandy & coffee
and liter of wine. He then murdered his wife and the trial was
known as the Absinthe Murder.
1980 a drinking California driver hit a 13-year-old
little girl named Cari. The car threw her body 125 feet knocking
her shoes off and the hit mutilated her body so bad that no organs
were available for donation. Her mother was Candy Lightner, the
founding president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
1999, Jacqueline Saburido and two friends were
hit head-on by a 20-year-old drunk driver in Texas. Her two
friends died on impact but Jacqueline was pinned in the front
seat and burned. She woke up in a Galveston hospital blind
and hallucinating. Today, she has no ears, nose, hair, stubs
for hands, and limited vision.
to regulate alcohol consumption are not new. Between 1100 BC-
1400 AD forty-one laws were made against wine making.
997, so many men were being killed and injured
in ale houses that King Aethelred II had to set laws to pay
six half marks if a man is slain in an ale house.
1552, to reduce drunkenness and social disorder,
King Edward VI required all alehouse keepers to have a license
from the justices of the peace.
1839, the first known law for a drinking age is
set at 16 and older in London.
1851, the mayor of Portland Maine, Neal Dow,
drafted the first statewide prohibition law.
1874, The Woman's Christian Temperance Union
(WCTU) was organized by women who were concerned about the
problems alcohol was causing their families and society.
The Raines Hotel Law was passed in America making it illegal to
sell drink on a Sunday except in hotels during meals.
1908, English law prohibited giving children under
the age of 5 intoxicants except in an emergency or orders from
in America, 26 of the 48 states had already outlawed alcohol.
Prohibition (the manufacture, transportation, import, export,
and sales of alcohol is restricted or illegal also called the
Noble Experiment) for all states in America lasts between 1920
and 1933 making matters worse because of the organized underground
crime it creates.
1937 the drinking age in America is set at 18 years
old and the The National Alcohol Beverage Control Association
drinking age in America is set at 21 for liquor and 18 for cereal
1987 the American Federal Legislation refuses money
for highway construction to any state that does not raise their
drinking age for alcohol to 21. All states comply and the American
drinking age is set at 21 years old for all alcohol. It’s
also referred to as Zero Tolerance.
in 1991 The Century Council is launched and is funded
by America's leading distillers that promote responsible decision-making
regarding beverage alcohol and fights alcohol abuse, focusing
on drunk driving and underage drinking problems. The funding companies
are; Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine North America, Bacardi U.S.A.,
Inc., Brown-Forman, Constellation Brands, Cruzan, Ltd., DIAGEO,
Future Brands, LLC, Hood River Distillers, Pernod Ricard USA,
and Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc.
BAC stands for Blood Alcohol
Content and is also called Breath Alcohol
Content or Blood Alcohol Concentration. As of 2005
all American states have adopted a BAC level of 0.08 to determine
intoxication. Because we all have different bodies, genetics,
weight, genders, and nutrition you can’t rely on the number
of drinks as a measuring device so, your BAC is used. To give
you an idea, usually one drink (1.5 ounces of liquor, 5 ounces
of wine, or 12 ounces of beer) will increase an average person’s
BAC to 0.04. In technical terms a BAC rating of 0.20 means 1 part
per 500 in a person’s blood is alcohol. The most common
way roadside BAC is measured is with a Breathalyzer, however it
really only gives you an estimate. There are too many scientific
words to describe how a Breathalyzer works, but in a nutshell
it operates by using photocells to analyze the color change of
oxidation-reduction reaction. Only blood samples can give you
a true reading and in some states this is the only method acceptable
in a court of law. The legal BAC limit for aircraft pilots and
commercial drivers in America is set at 0.04. And there’s
also a much stricter standard for drivers under the age of 21
called Trace Constitutes Positive (TCP).
DWI stands for Driving
While Intoxicated and DUI stands
for Driving Under the Influence. Believe
it or not, they say that more alcohol related transportation accidents
happened before automobiles were invented. However, automobiles
can weigh a couple of tons so it turns them into heavy-duty weapons
when driven by a person that has been drinking, so the accidents
are more fatal. American DWI laws became very strict when Candy
Lightner’s, the founder of MADD
(Mothers Against Drunk Driving) daughter was killed in 1980. In
1998 The U.S. federal government called for the installation of
alcohol ignition interlocks to be installed on the cars of repeat
DWI offenders. The driver blows into the device and based on the
results determines the use of the ignition.
Today, bartenders can not only be fined for serving minors, but
serving someone that gets a DWI or causes harm after you serve
them can render consequences as well. Fines vary from state to
state with some costing as much as $2000 and six months in jail.
The bottom line is that it’s very serious and not worth
risking your job over.
Global Drunk Driver Fines
Australia: the names of the drivers are sent to the newspapers
and are printed under the heading, Drunk and in Jail. Fine up
to $1000 and/or 6 months in jail with a 3-month minimum loss of
Austria: No accident gets a fine of 5,000 to 30,000 Austrian shillings
or prison up to 6 months. With an accident, the consequences are
Bulgaria: A second conviction results in execution.
Canada: First offense fine is between $50 and $2,000 or jail for
6 months or both. Second offense is 14 days to 1 year in jail.
When the motor vehicle has caused bodily injury jail is up to
10 years to death.
Czechoslovakia: Jail up to 1 year, loss of drivers license, fines
up to 50,000 crowns, and confiscation of 10-25% of salary. The
court may also direct that the driver be removed from his present
position and employed in a less responsible job.
El Salvador: First offense is your last because you are shot by
Finland & Sweden: Jail for 1 year, hard labor, and fines.
Also, if an individual yields a vehicle to someone guilty of drunk
driving, they will be fined or imprisoned for up to 1 year.
Japan: Fines up to 30,000 to 50,000 yen or 3 months - 2 years
in prison with hard labor.
Malaysia: Driver is jailed and if he is married, his wife is jailed
Norway: 3 weeks in jail at hard labor, 1 yr loss of license. If
second offense is within 5 years than license is revoked for life.
Poland: Jail, fines, and political lectures.
State Laws to be Bartender
Age Laws for Consuming, Pouring, and Serving for all 50 states.
This information is accurate up to 2005.
Serve Alcohol: 19 year olds may serve alcohol in an establishment
holding a retail restaurant license, provided that the licensee
is annually certified in the Responsible Vendor Program.
Serve Alcohol: 21
Serve Alcohol: 21
Serve Alcohol: 21
Serve Alcohol: 21
Serve: 21 for bartenders and cocktail servers, 18 to serve alcohol
in a bonafide eating place, if working in an area primarily designed
and used for the sale and service of food, and as an incidental
part of a server’s overall duties.
Pour: 18 if supervised by someone who is 21 only in places where
full meals are regularly served. Tavern employees must be 21 unless
the tavern regularly serves meals.
Serve:18 if supervised by someone who is 21. Tavern employees
must be 21 unless the tavern regularly serves full meals.
Legal Age to Serve Alcohol: 18
Pour: 18, but local ordinance can raise age.
Legal Age to Sell Alcohol
Serve: 18, local ordinance can raise age.
Pour: 18, unless regulated differently by local ordinance.
Serve: 18, unless regulated differently by local ordinance.
Serve: 21 to mix, 18 to take an order, 19 and 20 year olds may
serve after being certified by Excise Police and given a restricted
Serve: 18 to serve Cereal Malt Beverage and if no less than 50%
of gross receipts are derived from the sale of food.
Pour: 17 with a supervisor on duty who is at least 21.
Serve: 17 with a supervisor on duty who is at least 21.
Pour: 18 for beer and wine licenses and 21 for beer, wine, and
liquor licenses, unless otherwise regulated by city or county.
Serve: 18 for beer and wine licenses and 21 for beer, wine, and
liquor licenses, unless otherwise regulated by city or county
Serve: 18 to serve with permission in some establishments.
Serve: The legal age to serve alcohol is 21, except a 19-year-old
can serve alcohol in an establishment that is held out to the
public as an establishment where the primary source of revenue
is food, and where the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages
is not the primary activity.
Pour: 21 for liquor and 18 for beer and wine.
Serve: 19 to serve and collect money, if under direct supervision
of a person 21 or older, in a restaurant which is separate from
the bar area and where the gross sales of food are at least equal
to the gross sales of alcohol.
Pour: 21 for liquor across a bar and 19 for beer across a bar.
Pour: 18 with a service permit.
Serve: 18 with a service permit.
Serve: 18 if 50% of total sales are from food, the establishment
has an on-sale license, and an employee or the retailer who is
at least 21 is on the premises
Pour: 18, but must be supervised by someone 21 or older at all
Serve: 21 and 18 in dining areas only.
Global Drinking Ages
Canada: 19 in much of the country and 18 in Alberta, Manitoba
Czech Republic: 18.
Denmark: 15 to purchase and 18 to consume.
Germany: 16 for beer & wine and 18 for spirits.
Great Britain: 18 to purchase alcohol 17 for beer or cider with
a meal. It’s also the only country in the world that stipulates
a minimum legal drinking age at home with parental content at
Hong Kong: 18.
Korea (South): 19.
New Zealand: 18.
Norway: 18 for beer and wine and 20 for liquor.
Slovak Republic: 18.
South Africa: 18.
South Korea: 19.
Sweden: 18 for beer and wine and 20 for liquor.
United States: 21.
1901-1948: Prince Edward Island
1910-1928: Canberra, Australia
1915-1922: Liquor in Iceland
1915-1989: Beer in Iceland
1916-1924: Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada.
1916-1919: Quebec, Canada.
1977-Present: Pakistan. Only members of non-Muslim minorities
such as Hindus, Christians, and Zoroastrians and are allowed to
apply for alcohol permits.
Present bans of production, importation, and consumption of alcohol:
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh,
Libya, and the Maldives.
Unusual Liquor Laws
There are 83 dry towns and villages in Alaska. Fairbanks is a
dry town for people and moose because it's illegal to feed a moose
any alcoholic beverage.
An award-winning adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood
was banned from a reading list by a school board in Culver City,
California, because the heroine had included a bottle of wine
in the basket she brought to her grandmother.
In Iowa it’s illegal to run a tab.
Alcohol beverages can’t be displayed within five feet of
a cash register of any store in California that sells both alcohol
and motor fuel.
It’s a violation of the California Alcoholic Beverage Control
Act for producers of alcohol beverages to list the names of retailers
or restaurants that sell their products in advertising or even
Colorado law requires that wine be sold in containers of at least
24 ounces and spirits in containers at least a fifth of a gallon.
But, at the same time, it also decrees that no alcohol beverage
can be stored in hotel mini-bars in anything larger than miniature
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BAFT) bans the word
refreshing to describe any alcohol beverage.
At one time, credit cards were banned in liquor stores and wine
shops, but now Arkansas is the only state where they are not allowed.
In New York, you can use a credit card to buy wine, but only in
person. In Alabama, it's illegal to buy any alcoholic beverages
by telephone, fax or e-mail.
The entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in Texas because
it contains a recipe for making beer that can be used at home.
A bartender in California can be convicted of selling to a minor
if the purchaser uses a false or altered ID to buy the alcohol.
As of 2006, Connecticut is the only state in the northeast that
hasn’t yet abolished Colonial-era Blue Laws prohibiting
the sale of alcohol beverages on Sunday.
Texas and Ohio have banned the French wine, Fat Bastard.
Let's say you are a wine connoisseur and you've decided to sell
your collection of rare wines to another collector. Don't even
try it in New York, or in most other states. Wine must be sold
through a licensed retailer.
It’s illegal to drink on a plane when flying over any dry
parts of Kansas. The Attorney General of Kansas says that Kansas
goes all the way up and all the way down.
Bourbon takes its name from Bourbon County in Kentucky, where
a Baptist minister first produced it in 1789. Nevertheless, a
person can be sent to jail for five years for merely sending a
bottle of beer, wine or spirits as a gift to a friend in Kentucky.
Louisiana law prohibits bars and restaurants from displaying any
alcohol beverage brand name that can be seen from outside the
Maryland now requires that alcohol beverage writers be certified
as experts by an agency of the state before they can receive product
samples, which it limits to three bottles per brand.
It's illegal in Michigan for a person under the age of 21 to give
a gift of alcohol beverage to anyone, even to a person of legal
Mississippi imposed state-wide alcohol prohibition in 1907, 13
years before the rest of the country and it didn’t repeal
In Saskatchewan, Canada, it's illegal to drink alcohol while watching
In the 1940's, California law made it illegal to serve alcohol
to a homosexual person.
Anyone under the age of 21 who takes out household trash containing
even a single empty alcohol beverage container can be charged
with illegal possession of alcohol in Missouri.
Nebraska state law prohibits bars from selling beer unless they
are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup.
State law of North Dakota prohibits serving beer and pretzels
at the same time in any bar or restaurant.
Texas state law prohibits taking more than three sips of beer
at a time while standing.
In Utah wine used in wine tastings in Utah must not be swallowed.
There are no ordinary drinking establishments in Utah; full alcohol
service is available only to dues-paying members of private social
clubs or a limited number of restaurants that can't advertise,
display, or mention the availability of alcohol beverages And
it's illegal in Utah to advertise drink prices, alcohol brands,
to show a drinking scene o promote happy hour, to advertise free
food, or for restaurants to furnish alcohol beverage lists unless
a customer specifically requests one.
In West Virginia, bars can advertise alcohol beverage prices,
but not brand names.