The 1984 National Minimum Drinking Age Act aims to regulate the public from possessing and purchasing alcoholic beverages by setting the minimum legal drinking age.
However, are there any exceptions and rules about non-alcoholic beverages? How old do you have to be to buy non-alcoholic beer? We got answers for you, so read on.
At What Age Are You Allowed To Buy Non-Alcoholic Beers?
There is no legal age set for those who want to buy non-alcoholic beers. Based on the 1984 National Minimum Drinking Age, the legal age is enforced for alcoholic beverages over 0.5% ABV.
As long as you purchase non-alcoholic beer containing below 0.5% ABV, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)  will not apprehend you.
However, in most states, the alcohol restrictions can be different since there are no rules that differentiate beer from alcohol-free beer. Few states prohibit minors from purchasing non-alcoholic beer even if it has little alcohol content.
Can People Under 21 Buy It?
People under 21 can buy non-alcoholic beer based on the alcohol laws set by the ATF. They can buy or consume non-alcoholic beer as long as they are under parental supervision or other exceptions like religious purposes.
However, the rules can differ in some states, prohibiting minors from purchasing non-alcoholic beer even with parental consent.
While minors can buy non-alcoholic beers in gas stations, grocery stores, and liquor stores in a few states, you cannot buy non-alcoholic beer in New York, Idaho, Tennessee, and Georgia. The age-restricted item is applicable in both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.
Is There Punishment For Illegal Buying Non-Alcoholic Beer?
Yes. If the states do not allow underage drinking and buying non-alcoholic beer, the state can punish individuals for acquiring a non-alcoholic beer. You can buy non-alcoholic drinks without age restrictions unless it is in the four states above.
A minor who presented false or altered ID to purchase non-alcoholic beer can be charged with possession of altered or false ID when attempting to purchase an alcoholic beverage. They can be fined from $300 to $2500, perform 100 hours of community service and spend a year in jail.
Non-Alcoholic Beer Laws By State
|State||Legal Drinking Age||ABV|
|North Carolina||21||Not Stated|
|West Virginia||21||Not Stated|
States With More Stringent Non-Alcoholic Beer Laws
Tennessee is one of the states with strict regulations regarding non-alcoholic beverages like non-alcoholic beer. They cannot sell non-alcoholic and alcoholic beer under 21 years old .
The state allows selling alcohol daily from 8 AM to 11 PM; however, it is illegal to sell on holidays such as New Year, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. If you purchase non-alcoholic beer using a fake ID, you will be fined up to $200.
New York is not lenient when enforcing liquor laws, even if you buy non-alcoholic beer. Whether you buy a regular beer or an NA beer, you must be at least 21. You can buy a malt beverage and other non-alcoholic brews anytime except Sundays from 3 AM to 8 AM.
Minors cannot buy non-alcoholic beer in New York. You might be fined up to $50, mandated to attend an alcohol awareness program, and conduct 30-hour community service.
Unlike other states, Idaho regulates drinking non-alcoholic beer and other alcohol-free beverages. While minors can sell, serve or dispense beer, a person under 21 is not allowed to buy or possess beer of any kind.
Everyone who wants to purchase or drink non-alcoholic beer must present an ID with a photograph and date of birth. Anyone who violates any provision will be guilty of a misdemeanor, which is punishable by six months imprisonment, a $1000 fine, or both.
Georgia does not exempt non-alcoholic beer in their liquor laws, which means one cannot drink non-alcoholic beer or buy non-alcoholic beer unless they are older than 21.
All types of alcohol, even those low-alcohol beers that went through the brewing process, are regulated by the state.
Those who will violate Georgia Liquor laws will be guilty of a misdemeanor and can be fined up to $100 and a year of jail time.
Do You Need An ID When Buying It?
Yes, you need an ID when buying non-alcoholic beer. While other states have exemptions for beers with very low ABV, you must present an ID when buying it. You must provide proof of your age if you try to buy in a retail shop or a bar.
You can only drink non-alcoholic beer if you are at least 21 years old, so unless you present a valid ID, you will not get any, especially in the four states regulating regular and NA beers similarly.
Can you drink non-alcoholic beer and drive?
Yes, you can drink non-alcoholic beer and drive; however, it would be best to avoid it. Non-alcoholic beer will not affect your driving, but it is subject to open container laws. Your blood alcohol content will not reach the drunk-driving limit even after ten cans.
Why can’t minors have non-alcoholic beer?
Despite its relatively low ABV, many states do not allow the consumption of alcoholic beer under 21. There’s a big chance that it can spark interest in underage drinking.
There is no age limit for buying non-alcoholic beer because, based on ATF, the legal limit applies to beverages that contain over 0.5% alcohol by volume.
However, it can be different with some states that treat non-alcoholic and alcoholic beers similarly. To avoid inconvenience, check the state’s liquor law before getting one.
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