Alcohol Control Systems

Retail Distribution Systems for Beer

Laws addressing retail distribution of beer including State-run, private licensed sellers, or combination systems.

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Jurisdiction
[Limited to states with a state-run-system]
Policies as of Distribution System: Beer Subtype
Alcohol Content Range
V=Alcohol by Volume
W=Alcohol by Weight
N=Measurement Not Specified
Citations
Overall By Beer Subtype
AL (Alabama)
1/1/2017License 
AL (Alabama)
1/1/2017License0.50%V - 13.90%V4 Citations
AL (Alabama)

The retail distribution system for malt beverages containing more than 13.9 percent ABV is not specifically addressed in Alabama statutes or regulations.

1/1/2017Indeterminate>13.90%V - 100.00%N4 Citations
ID (Idaho)
1/1/2017Mixed/Overlapping 
ID (Idaho)
1/1/2017License0.00%N - 4.00%W4 Citations
ID (Idaho)
1/1/2017Both>4.00%W - 6.00%W7 Citations
ID (Idaho)
1/1/2017State-run>6.00%W - 100.00%N5 Citations
IA (Iowa)
1/1/2017License 
IA (Iowa)
1/1/2017License>0.50%V - 100.00%N4 Citations
ME (Maine)
1/1/2017License 
ME (Maine)
1/1/2017License0.50%V - 100.00%N2 Citations
MI (Michigan)
1/1/2017License 
MI (Michigan)
1/1/2017License0.50%V - 100.00%N8 Citations
MS (Mississippi)
1/1/2017License 
MS (Mississippi)
1/1/2017License0.00%N - 8.00%W6 Citations
MS (Mississippi)

The retail distribution system for malt beverages containing more than 8 percent ABW is not specifically addressed in Mississippi statutes or regulations.

1/1/2017Indeterminate>8.00%W - 100.00%N6 Citations
MT (Montana)

Prior to October 1, 2009, beer was defined as being a malt beverage containing not more than 7% ABW. As of October 1, 2009 the upper alcohol content limit for beer was raised to 14% ABV. Beer products “in which the sugars used for fermentation of the alcoholic beverage are at least 75% derived from malted cereal grain measured as a percentage of the total dry weight of the fermentable ingredients” and containing more than 8.75% ABV would still be only available alongside liquor. Also, “caffeinated or stimulant-enhanced malt beverage” was defined as being “liquor” and therefore excluded from the definition for beer. See Mont. Code Ann. § 16-1-102 and § 16-1-106.

1/1/2017Mixed/Not Overlapping 
MT (Montana)

Prior to October 1, 2009, beer was defined as being a malt beverage containing not more than 7% ABW. As of October 1, 2009 the upper alcohol content limit for beer was raised to 14% ABV. Beer products “in which the sugars used for fermentation of the alcoholic beverage are at least 75% derived from malted cereal grain measured as a percentage of the total dry weight of the fermentable ingredients” and containing more than 8.75% ABV would still be only available alongside liquor. Also, “caffeinated or stimulant-enhanced malt beverage” was defined as being “liquor” and therefore excluded from the definition for beer. See Mont. Code Ann. § 16-1-102 and § 16-1-106.

1/1/2017License>0.50%V - 14.00%V7 Citations
MT (Montana)

Prior to October 1, 2009, beer was defined as being a malt beverage containing not more than 7% ABW. As of October 1, 2009 the upper alcohol content limit for beer was raised to 14% ABV. Beer products “in which the sugars used for fermentation of the alcoholic beverage are at least 75% derived from malted cereal grain measured as a percentage of the total dry weight of the fermentable ingredients” and containing more than 8.75% ABV would still be only available alongside liquor. Also, “caffeinated or stimulant-enhanced malt beverage” was defined as being “liquor” and therefore excluded from the definition for beer. See Mont. Code Ann. § 16-1-102 and § 16-1-106.

1/1/2017State-run>14.00%V - 100.00%N7 Citations
NH (New Hampshire)
1/1/2017License 
NH (New Hampshire)

Prior to July 18, 2007, New Hampshire law specified that beer containing from .5 percent to 12 percent ABV could be sold in licensed premises. The law was indeterminate regarding beer containing greater than 12 percent ABV. Effective July 18, 2007, the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission can approve “specialty beer” brands greater than 12 percent ABV for sale in licensed premises.

1/1/2017License0.50%V - 100.00%N3 Citations
NC (North Carolina)
1/1/2017License 
NC (North Carolina)
1/1/2017License0.50%V - 15.00%V4 Citations
NC (North Carolina)

The retail distribution system for malt beverages containing more than 15 percent ABV is not specifically addressed in North Carolina statutes or regulations.

1/1/2017Indeterminate>15.00%V - 100.00%N6 Citations
OH (Ohio)
1/1/2017License 
OH (Ohio)
1/1/2017License0.50%V - 100.00%N6 Citations
OR (Oregon)
1/1/2017Mixed/Overlapping 
OR (Oregon)
1/1/2017License>0.50%V - 5.00%V3 Citations
OR (Oregon)

Although malt beverages are not specifically identified in Oregon statutes and regulations as being among the alcoholic liquors distributed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the most reasonable construction of Oregon’s statutory scheme is that the Commission is authorized to distribute, at retail, malt beverages containing greater than 5 percent ABV.

1/1/2017Both>5.00%V - 14.00%V8 Citations
OR (Oregon)

The retail distribution system for malt beverages containing more than 14 percent ABV is not specifically addressed in Oregon statutes or regulations.

1/1/2017Indeterminate>14.00%V - 100.00%N8 Citations
PA (Pennsylvania)
1/1/2017License 
PA (Pennsylvania)
1/1/2017License0.50%V - 100.00%N3 Citations
UT (Utah)
1/1/2017Mixed/Not Overlapping 
UT (Utah)
1/1/2017State-run>4.00%V - 100.00%N11 Citations
UT (Utah)

Flavored malt beverages containing at least 0.50% ABV and with no specified upper alcohol content level are included within the definition of “liquor” and distributed through the state-run system in Utah. See Utah Code Ann. § 32B-1-102 (prior to July 1, 2011, the definition of "flavored malt beverages" was found in Utah Code Ann. § 32A-1-105) and 2008 Utah Laws 391, §1, effective May 5, 2008. Prior to May 5, 2008, flavored malt beverages of 4% ABV or less were treated as “beer” and distributed through a license system, and flavored malt beverages of greater than 4% ABV were treated as “liquor” and distributed through the state-run system.

1/1/2017License0.50%V - 4.00%V4 Citations
VT (Vermont)

The statutory treatment of beer in Vermont depends on both the alcohol content and the specific gravity of the beverage. Prior to July 1, 2008, malt beverages containing more than 8 percent ABV are considered to be "spirits." Malt beverages containing more than 6 percent but not more than 8 percent ABV, and with a terminal specific gravity of less than 1.009, are also deemed to be "spirits," not malt beverages. See Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 7, § 2 (14), (20). Beginning on July 1, 2008, malt beverages containing more than 16 percent ABV are considered to be "spirits." Malt beverages containing more than 6 percent ABV, and with a terminal specific gravity of less than 1.009, are also deemed to be "spirits," not malt beverages. See Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 7, § 2 (14), (20). Malt beverages are distributed by license in Vermont, while "spirits" are distributed through the state-run system.

1/1/2017Mixed/Not Overlapping 
VT (Vermont)

The statutory treatment of beer in Vermont depends on both the alcohol content and the specific gravity of the beverage. Prior to July 1, 2008, malt beverages containing more than 8 percent ABV are considered to be "spirits." Malt beverages containing more than 6 percent but not more than 8 percent ABV, and with a terminal specific gravity of less than 1.009, are also deemed to be "spirits," not malt beverages. See Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 7, § 2 (14), (20). Beginning on July 1, 2008, malt beverages containing more than 16 percent ABV are considered to be "spirits." Malt beverages containing more than 6 percent ABV, and with a terminal specific gravity of less than 1.009, are also deemed to be "spirits," not malt beverages. See Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 7, § 2 (14), (20). Malt beverages are distributed by license in Vermont, while "spirits" are distributed through the state-run system.

1/1/2017License1.00%V - 16.00%V3 Citations
VT (Vermont)

The statutory treatment of beer in Vermont depends on both the alcohol content and the specific gravity of the beverage. Prior to July 1, 2008, malt beverages containing more than 8 percent ABV are considered to be "spirits." Malt beverages containing more than 6 percent but not more than 8 percent ABV, and with a terminal specific gravity of less than 1.009, are also deemed to be "spirits," not malt beverages. See Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 7, § 2 (14), (20). Beginning on July 1, 2008, malt beverages containing more than 16 percent ABV are considered to be "spirits." Malt beverages containing more than 6 percent ABV, and with a terminal specific gravity of less than 1.009, are also deemed to be "spirits," not malt beverages. See Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 7, § 2 (14), (20). Malt beverages are distributed by license in Vermont, while "spirits" are distributed through the state-run system.

1/1/2017State-run>16.00%V - 100.00%N5 Citations
VA (Virginia)
1/1/2017License 
VA (Virginia)
1/1/2017License0.50%V - 100.00%N2 Citations
WA (Washington)
1/1/2017License 
WA (Washington)
1/1/2017License0.50%V - 100.00%N15 Citations
WV (West Virginia)
1/1/2017Mixed/Overlapping 
WV (West Virginia)
1/1/2017License0.50%V - 9.60%W9 Citations
WV (West Virginia)

In 1990, the West Virginia legislature declared its intent to privatize the retail sale of liquor (currently defined as alcohol, wine, spirits, and any beer greater than 9.60 percent ABW), while retaining control over the distribution of liquor at wholesale. See W. Va. Code § 60-3A-2. This transition is effected by W. Va. Code § 60-3A-3, which states that “[n]otwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, the sale of liquor by retail licensees in accordance with the provisions of this article is lawful,” and that “[u]pon the opening of a retail outlet in any market zone, the State shall, as soon as practicable, discontinue operating any and all State liquor stores and agency stores within the market zone so long as a retail outlet is in operation in the market zone.” Retail sales, by license, of beer containing from .50 percent ABV to and including 9.60 percent ABW, which West Virginia defines as "nonintoxicating beer," are authorized by W. Va. Code §§ 11-16-5, 11-16-9.

1/1/2017Both>9.60%W - 100.00%N11 Citations
WY (Wyoming)
1/1/2017License 
WY (Wyoming)
1/1/2017License0.50%V - 100.00%N2 Citations