Can minors buy non-alcoholic beer?

Non-alcoholic beers are a good alternative for people who reduce their alcohol consumption or who don’t like feeling tipsy. But what does the law say about beer drinking for minors?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “can minor buy non-alcoholic beer?” and the legal details for buying alcohol.

Can you buy non-alcoholic beer under 21?

No, minors cannot buy non-alcoholic beer. When purchasing alcohol-free beer, it is common practice to ask for identification.

To begin, it is important to realize that alcohol-free beer may contain trace amounts of alcohol up to about 0.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) (alcohol by volume).

This is not the reason why merchants limit the sale of alcohol-free beer; rather, retailers restrict the sale of alcohol-free beer for the reasons listed below:

Drinks with less than 0.5 percent ABV are not legally classed as “alcohol” in the majority of nations, including the United Kingdom and a few US states, and are thus not subject to the same restrictions as alcoholic beverages.

The use of common meals and drinks, such as ripe bananas and bread, does not constitute a violation of the prohibition on alcoholic beverages.

Under US laws, one has to be 21 years or older to buy non-alcoholic beer. Even though non-alcoholic beer contains a pretty low percentage of alcohol (up to 0.5% ABV), it is still classified as a regular alcoholic drink. Therefore, you have to be 21 or older to purchase it in most states (with some exceptions.)

However, many states ban only the buying but not the consumption of non-alcoholic drinks by individuals under 21. For instance, people below 21 can consume alcoholic beverages privately or when under the supervision of parents or guardians.

Also, the consumption of alcoholic drinks such as Communion or Kiddush wines, as part of religious practices, is allowed by some local and state laws.

Does non-alcoholic beer have a drinking age?

Beers that are labeled “non-alcoholic” still contain a very small amount of alcohol, therefore some US states require the purchaser to be of legal drinking age. However, there are some exceptions.

In the United States, there are a few states in which non-alcoholic beer may be legally sold to people under 21. Non-alcoholic beer can be legally sold to people under age 21 due to its very low alcohol content which is less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). Note that non-alcoholic beer laws vary by state.

The states that DO NOT prohibit minors from consuming or buying non-alcoholic beer include:

  • Texas
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • New Jersey
  • Illinois
  • District of Columbia
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii

Exceptions for underage consumption of alcohol include parental consent and/or physical presence of a parent or legal guardian.

If a teen is caught drinking without permission, then consider the appropriate punishment for 16-year-old drinking.

Why do you have to be 21 to buy non-alcoholic beer?

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act (NMDA) passed in 1984 states that the legal drinking age is 21. So, if you are below 21 years old, you are not allowed to purchase alcoholic drinks.

But you must be wondering: it is labeled ‘non-alcoholic,’ so why are you prohibited from buying it if there is no intoxicating content?

Typically, the tag ‘non-alcoholic’ is given to drinks with no more than 0.5% ABV (alcohol by volume). Therefore, when an alcoholic beverage is labeled as non-alcoholic, it doesn’t mean that it has no alcohol at all. It might be better termed low-alcohol beer instead. This is why the law prohibits the sale of non-alcoholic drinks to any person under 21.

What happens if a thirteen-year-old becomes addicted?

Adolescents’ brains are still developing, and alcohol has the potential to permanently change the areas of the brain that govern judgment, impulse control, and memory, as well as other functions. When teenagers consume alcoholic beverages, they are more likely to participate in binge drinking behavior (four to five or more drinks at a time). Because of this, sexual activity, physical violence, and alcohol poisoning may occur without the person’s knowledge or consent.

Minors and the sale of alcoholic beverages outside of licensed establishments

Anyone under the age of 18 is only permitted to enter an off-license if they are accompanied by an adult who is 21 years of age or above. Off-licenses must be closed to children under the age of eighteen if they do not comply. Children and teenagers must always be able to provide a valid form of identification at the time of purchase. Alcoholic drinks are not permitted to be sold to anybody under the age of eighteen by off-licensees. Children and adolescents who are accompanying an adult to an off-license, on the other hand, are permitted to pay for soft drinks.

When children are given access to alcoholic drinks, there are legal ramifications.

Food retailers, pubs, and restaurants that provide alcoholic beverages to children under the age of majority may face a €1,360 punishment.

After discovering that a supermarket has sold alcohol to minors three times in one year without verifying their age, the mayor may suspend the store’s liquor license for a period of up to 12 weeks.

An off-license, bar, or restaurant can lose their license if they are proven to have sold alcoholic beverages to minors on several occasions without confirming their age.


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