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Top 8 States with The Strictest Alcohol Laws in the US

Every state has its own alcohol laws governing the nuances of how alcohol can be distributed and sold to consumers. These laws also govern consumer behavior under the influence of alcohol.

Top 8 States with The Strictest Alcohol Laws in the US

Despite there being a legal age limit for drinking alcohol across all states in the US, every state has its own alcohol laws governing the nuances of how alcohol can be distributed and sold to consumers. Some states even have restrictions on obtaining alcohol licenses and restrictions in Sunday sales. These laws also govern consumer behavior under the influence of alcohol.

Read on to find out which states have the most strict liquor laws in the U.S.


Public intoxication in this state is a serious crime with a potential jail time of up to 180 days. In this case, you would need to find a lawyer and Lawrina has some of the best free legal advice. Minors, like all other states, cannot purchase alcohol but youth may purchase it if it's for law enforcement purposes. However, minors are allowed consumption if in the presence of consenting parents. For stores to be licensed for the sale of alcohol, voter approval is required. Liquor sales are also prohibited on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day, and on Sundays. If Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on a Sunday, then the prohibition carries over to Monday.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, chain stores are only allowed to obtain two liquor licenses in the whole state. Even though groceries can sell alcoholic beverages, the license limit makes it quite hard for them. They also limit liquor licenses depending on the population. 

Therefore, a municipality gives out one distribution license for every 7,500 people and one consumption license for every 3,000 people. These laws make it incredibly hard and expensive to obtain liquor licenses in New Jersey.

North Carolina

North Carolina has a very interesting alcohol law. The state banned any special promotions for alcoholic beverages. For example, it is illegal for bars or restaurants to have promotions like “buy a meal get a free drink”, “two for one”, and “buy one get a second at a reduced price”.

South Carolina

Lots of states across the US have special laws that define the sale of alcohol on Sundays. However, in South Carolina, the sale of alcohol is prohibited unless one possesses a special permit. On-premise and Off-premise alcohol sale hours vary. Restaurants and hotels with licenses can sell alcohol from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 11.59 p.m. on Saturdays. Liquor stores are allowed to sell alcohol from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday.


This state has one of the states with strict alcohol laws. Before 2017, which is when legislation allowing wine and beer to be sold in grocery stores was passed, people from this state weren’t allowed to buy wine, beer, and hard liquor from the same place. If you wanted to purchase alcoholic beverages, you had to go to three different places to acquire them. 

Even though the legislation was passed, people are still required to buy their hard liquor at different state-run stores. Beer pong at bars is strictly prohibited. Beer distributors are only allowed to sell in cases. Thus, if you wanted to purchase anything less in quantity, a restaurant would be the way to go.


In Utah, if you are going to order an alcoholic beverage at a restaurant, then you are also required to purchase food too. However, at a pub, you can order your alcohol without food. Convenience stores, beer sold from a tap, and grocery stores are only allowed to sell beer with a 3.2% alcohol in weight. Cocktails cannot exceed 1.5 ounces of the primary liquor and the sale of the keg is prohibited. This state also has state-run liquor stores but are usually closed on holidays and Sundays.


People visiting from other states who would like to indulge in alcohol in this state may be out of lack as bars don’t have to accept state ids as proof of age. Free drinks, happy hour, and beer games are also prohibited. Only five liquor licenses are allowed for a grocery store chain. These laws have been put in place to ensure that college students do not indulge in alcoholism.


In this state, licensed alcohol businesses are permitted to serve alcohol from 8 a.m. till 5 a.m. the following day all year. However, they have to remain closed during election days until the polls close. Bars are not allowed to sell alcohol at discounted prices unless they can give the discount regularly throughout the week. It is also illegal for people to be drunk within the premises that sell alcohol.


Despite there being federal laws that govern the sale and consumption of alcohol, states have their local laws that govern alcohol consumption within them. While some states have lenient laws, some have very strict alcohol laws that may attract penalties or even jail time if violated. This article has taken a deeper look into the eight states that have the strictest alcohol laws in the U.S.