It’s no secret that teens experiment with alcohol frequently; it’s the number one drug used by teens.
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?
This post discusses some of the laws regarding minors’ purchase and consumption of non-alcoholic beer.
You might also like to read:
- Does non-alcoholic beer have a drinking age?
- Why do you have to be 21 to buy non-alcoholic beer?
- Can minors buy non-alcoholic beer?
- Can you buy non-alcoholic beer under 18?
- How old do you have to be to buy non-alcoholic beer?
- How to get beer under 21
- Non-alcoholic beer laws by state
- Is it illegal to drink non-alcoholic beer while driving?
- Do you have to be 21 to buy Budweiser zero?
- Can you get a buzz from NA beer?
- Does Heineken 0.0 get you drunk?
- Does O'Doul's have alcohol in it?
- Can a 14-year-old drink non-alcoholic beer?
- Can kids drink Kombucha?
- Can you buy Busch NA under 21?
- Can minors buy cooking wine?
- Can kids drink Red Bull?
- Can kids drink root beer?
Can you buy non-alcoholic beer under 21?
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:
- New Jersey
- District of Columbia
Read more about non-alcoholic beer laws by state.
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.
Can minors buy non-alcoholic beer?
An underage person is not allowed to purchase non-alcoholic beer. The amount of alcohol in alcohol-free beer can go up to 0.5% ABV, so it is treated as an alcoholic drink. The minimum age for consumption is 21, so the answer to your question “can you buy non alcoholic beer under 21 in the US states is probably ‘No”.
However, from anecdotal evidence, many teens have bought non-alcoholic beer without having been asked to show any form of identification.
Can you buy non-alcoholic beer under 18?
You cannot buy non-alcoholic beer if you are under 18. In the USA, individuals are only allowed to drink alcohol when they turn 21, so even if you are 18 and above, you are not allowed to purchase non-alcoholic beer at bars or retail shops. Stores usually confirm your age (ask for your ID) to allow the sale of alcohol as well as nonalcoholic beer.
How old do you have to be to buy non-alcoholic beer?
Non-alcoholic beer is treated as any strong beer as it contains traces of alcohol, despite the tag “non-alcoholic’.
According to the law, you have to be 21 or older to purchase any alcoholic beverages.
In some states, the law only prohibits the purchase of non-alcoholic beer by minors and individuals under 21. The drinking of non-alcoholic beer by minors is not restricted, especially in private places such as homes.
Also, there is no penalty if a minor drinks non-alcoholic beer under the supervision of an adult (21 years and above) family member.
How to get beer under 21
Getting beer if you are under 21 can be difficult as the minimum drinking age according to United States laws is 21.
In many states, individuals under 21 are allowed to consume beer under the supervision of a parent. So the best way to get beer in licensed premises such as bars is to be in the company of a family member. Note that the family member needs to purchase the alcohol and allow the minor to drink it. Some states require a family member to be present when a minor drinks an alcoholic beverage.
Although some local or state laws may allow the consumption of non-alcoholic beverages by teenagers in the parent or guardian’s home, no state allows anyone other than a minor’s adult family member to provide them with alcohol.
Can you drink under 18 with parents?
In many states, kids under 18 are allowed to drink under the supervision of a family member, in this case, a parent, guardian, or spouse. Some states require alcoholic drinks to be consumed when the family member is present, while in others, the underage person needs to acquire the drinks directly from the family member. The family member has to provide and be present when it’s being consumed in other states.
Also, the law requires the consumption of alcohol by minors to be done on private property or residence.
Several states allow under 18s to drink on licensed premises like bars only when a parent, spouse, or guardian is present and approves of it.
Many states have social laws where an individual who owns, controls, or leases private property is responsible for underage drinking, regardless of whether they provide the drinks or not.
Here are a few other situations where under 18s can be allowed to drink:
- Religious purposes: Many states allow drinking as part of religious activities such as Communion in some Christian denominations
- When seeking medication: Minors may be instructed to use medicine that contains traces of alcohol.
- Educational purposes: Students doing culinary courses can drink some alcohol as part of their studies.
- The authorities allow the consumption of alcohol for minors engaging in sting operations or going undercover.
- Minors in the food and beverage sector can buy drinks for work. Note that the pe, in this case, are only allowed to purchase the drinks for work, not consumption.
Non-alcoholic beer laws by state
The law states that you have to be 21 years or older to buy non-alcoholic beer. However, since light beers contain low amounts of alcohol, some states provide various situations where minors can consume them.
There are five states that have no exceptions to the law when it comes to buying or consuming non-alcoholic beer (i.e. under no circumstances are you allowed to buy or consume non-alcoholic beer in these US states). These states are Alabama, New Hampshire, Idaho, Arkansas, and West Virginia.
Here are some state laws on when alcohol consumption by minors is permitted:
|Circumstances in which an underage person is permitted to consume alcohol||States|
|1. For educational reasons such as when acquiring samples for culinary class||11 states: Vermont, Rhode Island, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Michigan, Illinois|
|2. When in licensed alcohol selling premises such as bars and restaurants with parental approval||8 states: Texas, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Connecticut, Louisiana, Ohio, Nevada|
|3. While working with a law enforcement agency, for example, when going undercover||5 states: South Carolina, Oregon, Michigan, Kansas, Mississippi|
|4. On private non-alcoholic selling property such as a private residence or private office but with parental supervision||29 states: New Jersey, Nevada, Nebraska, Mississippi, Montana, Minnesota, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, New York, Ohio, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Virginia, Washington, Texas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Maine, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Delaware, Georgia, Colorado, Connecticut, Alaska|
|5. On private property such as private office or residence without parental supervision||6 states: South Carolina, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Nebraska|
|6. For medical reasons (prescribed by a qualified and licensed health practitioner)||16 states: Wyoming, Utah, Washington, North Carolina, Ohio, Nevada, New Jersey, Nebraska, Montana, Iowa, Louisiana, Georgia, Connecticut, Alaska, Colorado, Arizona|
|7. Alcohol selling establishments like restaurants and bars, with parent or guardian consent||8 states: Texas, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Nevada, Ohio, Louisiana, Connecticut, Mississippi|
|8. When a minor is reporting an under-age drinking case involving another minor||DC and 17 states: North Dakota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Utah, Texas, Washington, Vermont, Colorado, California, Indiana, District of Columbia, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Minnesota, Kentucky|
Is it illegal to drink non-alcoholic beer while driving?
Drinking non-alcoholic beer while driving is illegal. The alcohol in non-alcoholic beverages usually is less than 0.5%, so the chances of getting drunk even after downing a couple of bottles or cans are pretty low. Despite the negligible alcohol content, authorities in some states consider non-alcoholic beer alcoholic, and you may get a penalty if you are found drinking and driving.
Even though non-alcoholic beers won’t get you drunk, a lapse in concentration caused by drinking while driving can lead to fatal accidents. So, if you have to drink a non-alcoholic beverage, do so before you start driving.
Remember, open container laws apply to non-alcoholic drinks as well. So when an officer sees you with a can or bottle in your car, you are likely to get pulled over. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid drinking non-alcoholic beer while driving as it could cause accidents and attract penalties, especially if you are found flouting traffic rules.
It’s also important to note that persons under 21 are prohibited from having a blood alcohol level of 0.02% or higher while driving.
Do you have to be 21 to buy Budweiser zero?
Yes, you have to be 21 years or older to buy Budweiser zero in most states.
The malt beverage has 0% alcohol and contains 50 grams of calories per serving. It is brewed using hop, water, barley, and rice to provide the tasty Budweiser flavor.
This version of Budweiser was explicitly made for athletes and individuals who want to enjoy beer without dealing with the often unpleasant effects of getting drunk.
Despite having a 0.0% alcohol content, Budweiser’s official website says the beverage can only be sold to people who have reached the minimum drinking age of 21.
Can you get a buzz from NA beer?
You cannot get a buzz from a non-alcoholic beer, popularly referred to as ‘near beer.’ The amount of alcohol in NA beer is usually around 0.5%, about ten times less than in a regular beer can.
So, you won’t get tipsy even when you drink a couple of bottles at one sitting. Because of the low alcohol content, the body processes it within minutes of drinking it.
This means that if you are looking to go for a drive or a meeting in a few minutes, you can drink NA beer without worry. The only caveat is that some states consider NA beer alcoholic drinks, and some Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) laws will apply.
Does Heineken 0.0 get you drunk?
Heineken 0.0 contains only trace amounts of alcohol ranging from 0.01 – 0.03% ABV, meaning it has virtually no alcohol content, and it won’t make you drunk.
Heineken crafted this version to enable people who don’t like getting drunk to enjoy a beer. Thus, you can comfortably drink before attending an important event, driving, or working on a project at the office.
Heineken 0.0 was also created to provide a healthier alternative to the regular Heineken. Not only does it have extremely low alcohol levels, but it also lacks the sweeteners or sugar typically found in soft drinks like soda. The non-alcoholic beer contains only 69 calories per serving, about half that of regular beer.
Note that Heineken 0.0 tastes just like the real Heineken, so if you are a Heineken lover, you don’t have to worry about getting used to a different taste of beer.
Does O’Doul’s have alcohol in it?
O’Doul’s alcohol content is similar to those found in other “non-alcoholic” beer. The alcohol content in O’Douls is around 0.4%, so it qualifies to be in the category of non-alcoholic beverages.
It is safe for anyone who wants to drink beer but does not want to get drunk. O’Doul’s is an excellent alternative for pregnant women and designated drivers who put themselves at significant risk by drinking regular beer.
Some people have also had success using O’Doul’s to beat alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is one of the toughest addictions to stop. Since O’Doul’s tastes and smells like regular beer, it is the perfect alternative for people who feel the urge to drink real beer.
Can a 14-year-old drink non-alcoholic beer?
The buying of non-alcoholic beer by 14-year-olds is prohibited. The law states that only individuals who have reached the age of 21, the minimum drinking age, can purchase alcoholic drinks in pubs, bars, and retail shops.
Although non-alcoholic beer has low amounts of alcohol, it doesn’t mean they are safe to drink for fourteen-year-olds. The law considers non-alcoholic beers to be alcoholic drinks, and 14-year-olds caught drinking them without the supervision of an adult family member will be punished.
Read more about appropriate punishments for teen drinking.
Parents and guardians should ensure that kids in their early teens do not drink non-alcoholic beer as it could trigger dangerous habits such as drinking actual beer and smoking.
Can kids drink Kombucha?
Kombucha is safe for kids. Unlike popular kids’ drinks like soda and fruit juice, Kombucha has low amounts of sugar and is the ideal option for parents and guardians who want to keep their kids healthy.
An issue you will have to deal with is the alcohol content in Kombucha. It contains less than 0.5% ABV, making it a non-alcoholic beverage by law. Remember, some brands of Kombucha have more than 0.5% of alcohol content and can only be bought by individuals who are at least 21 years old. So, always ensure you check the label when purchasing the drink.
Kombucha is also potentially dangerous when consumed by kids with organ transplants, weak immune systems, or those suffering from health conditions like cancer. If your kid falls into this category, make sure they do not drink it.
Another possible downside is that Kombucha is acidic and erodes tooth enamel, especially in younger kids leading to tooth decay and cavities.
Can you buy Busch NA under 21?
Busch NA contains 0.4% alcohol, making it a non-alcoholic beverage. However, since the beer contains traces of alcohol, some states treat it as any drink with higher alcohol content.
Also, in some states, stores or licensed premises such as pubs and restaurants will not sell low-alcohol beer to individuals under 21 if they are not in the company of a parent or guardian.
So, while there are few restrictions on drinking NA beer, you may find it difficult to buy. If you’re under 21 and want to buy Busch NA, check your state laws on purchasing and consuming non-alcoholic drinks.
Can minors buy cooking wine?
You can only buy cooking wine at stores if you are at least 21 years old and have a valid identification card.
As the name suggests, cooking wine is a wine specifically made for cooking. Compared to regular wines, the alcohol content in cooking wine is 16% ABV. The alcohol content in cooking wine is higher because most of it will burn off as you cook your meal.
Aside from alcohol, cooking wine contains elements like salt and other preservatives, which enable it to last longer than regular wine.
Cooking wine is not ideal for drinking because of several factors:
First, it is high in sodium, making it unhealthy as too much sodium in the bloodstream causes heart problems.
Secondly, it has high alcohol levels meaning it is high in calories.
Lastly, it doesn’t taste great compared to traditional wines.
Minors may not be aware of the health risks posed by cooking wine, and that’s why you have to be of the minimum drinking age to purchase it.
Can kids drink Red Bull?
Red Bull is a popular soft drink in the US and globally, but it’s not the healthiest choice.
It contains unhealthy amounts of calories and caffeine, and one can notice its energy-boosting effects a few minutes after taking some sips. But the energy only lasts a couple of minutes.
When caffeine enters your body, it increases the heart rate and blood pressure and could lead to serious conditions like heart attacks.
Also, Red Bull can be highly addictive, and it can be difficult for kids to stop using it once they get addicted.
Its disadvantages far outweigh its advantages, so kids should drink it in moderation or replace it with a healthier alternative such as fresh fruit juice.
Can kids drink root beer?
Root beer is safe for your kids. Root beer is a well-known caffeine-free non-alcoholic soda drink that comes in various flavors such as honey and cinnamon.
Keep in mind that just like any other soda, root beer contains sugar and other additives that can negatively impact your health. So, while it’s less harmful compared to other drinks such as coke, you shouldn’t treat it as a healthy drink for your kids.
Numerous local statutes and state laws control the consumption of non-alcoholic beer by minors. Ensure you understand the rules before allowing a minor to drink a non-alcoholic beer.
In addition, tell your kid about the effects of alcoholic beverages and why they should exercise moderation when consuming them.
Please note: The following information is not legal advice or meant to encourage anyone under 21 to drink alcohol. Even though reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, you should not rely on it without first checking your current state laws.