Underage Drinking


The policy topics, below, address statues and regulations related to underage drinking and access to alcohol.

Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited.

INTERNAL POSSESSION: Although Vermont does not prohibit Internal Possession as defined by APIS, beginning on July 1, 2000, it has a statutory provision that makes it unlawful for a minor to, "consume malt or vinous beverages or spirituous liquors. A violation of this subdivision may be prosecuted in a jurisdiction where the minor has consumed malt or vinous beverages or spirituous liquors, or in a jurisdiction where the indicators of consumption are observed." Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 7, § 657. Laws that punish minors for displaying "indicators of consumption" or for "exhibiting the effects" of having consumed alcohol, but which do so without reference to a blood, breath, or urine test, are not considered as prohibiting Internal Possession as defined by APIS.

Purchase is NOT prohibited and there is no specific allowance for youth purchase for law enforcement purposes.

Vermont previously had a law that made it a crime for a minor to "procure" alcoholic beverages. Beginning on July 1, 2000, however, Vermont only prohibits minors from procuring alcohol in connection with a false representation of age. See 2000 Vt. Acts & Resolves 160. APIS does not include laws with such limitations in the Purchase policy topic.

  • Beer: 18 for both servers and bartenders
  • Wine: 18 for both servers and bartenders
  • Spirits: 18 for both servers and bartenders
  • Beer: 16
  • Wine: 16
  • Spirits: Not Specified

Vermont statutes and regulations are silent regarding the minimum age of seller for distilled spirits sold for off-premises consumption, which occur only in state-controlled outlets. Vermont's Liquor Control Board establishes minimum age of seller in its outlets as a matter of internal board policy.

Provision(s) targeting minors:

  • Use of a false ID to obtain alcohol is a criminal offense
  • No driver's license suspension procedure

Provision(s) targeting retailers:

  • Licenses for drivers under age 21 are easily distinguishable from those for drivers age 21 and older
  • Specific affirmative defense - the retailer inspected the false ID and came to a reasonable conclusion based on its appearance that it was valid

Vermont has two statutes regarding affirmative defenses. First, under Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 7, § 658, an employee of a licensee or of a state-contracted liquor agency charged with underage furnishing may plead as an affirmative defense that the employee carefully viewed specified photographic identification, that an ordinary prudent person would believe the purchaser to be of legal age to make the purchase, and that the sale was made in good faith, based upon the reasonable belief that the purchaser was of legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages. APIS has interpreted the "good faith" and "reasonable belief" requirement as providing the employee a defense for reasonable reliance on an apparently valid ID. Second, Vt. Stat. Ann. tit.7, § 602 provides that selling or furnishing to a person exhibiting "a valid authorized form of identification," which means a valid photographic operator's license, enhanced driver's license, or valid photographic nondriver identification card issued by Vermont or another state or foreign jurisdiction, a United States military identification card, or a valid passport or passport card bearing the photograph and signature of the individual is prima facie evidence of the licensee's compliance with the law prohibiting the sale or furnishing of alcoholic beverages to minors. The first provision amounts to a specific affirmative defense for state store employees and employees of retail licensees. The second provision applies to licensees and appears to provide them at least limited protection from prosecution, although the statutory language is unclear regarding how the provision is to be applied.

BAC limit: 0.02 - a BAC level above the limit is per se (conclusive) evidence of a violation.

Applies to drivers under age 21.

Keg definition: at least 5 gallons


  • destroying the label on a keg - max. fine/jail: $1000 / 2 years

Purchaser information collected:

  • purchaser's name and address
  • verified by a government-issued ID

Warning information to purchaser: active – purchaser action required (e.g., signature)

Deposit required: $25

Provisions do not specifically address disposable kegs

Although Vermont does not require a retailer to record the number of a keg purchaser's ID, it does require that the purchaser's name, address, and date of birth be recorded as they appear on the purchaser's identification.

No use/lose law.

In Vermont, suspension of a person’s driver’s license for underage possession or consumption is only imposed upon the person's failure to successfully complete a diversion program. APIS does not address diversion provisions.

No State-imposed liability for hosting underage drinking parties.