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Open-Container Laws Changing as Open-Air Trend Soars

A recent Wall Street Journal article, “In Bid for Patrons, a Push to Open the Taps”, highlights trending discussion as open-container laws in public places across the nation are challenged.


While this trend is not new, the thirst for a change in centuries-old legislation limiting alcohol consumption to within four walls is a sign of the times. Property developers and shopping center owners, together with city councils and zoning boards, in Iowa, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Ohio and New York, have begun differentiating their economic gains by changing land-use and public-drinking ordinances to allow open-containers in non-traditional places. This motion is aiding in the fight to maintain relevance of brick and mortar shopping areas among consumers in a competitive retail market.


Georgia reigns supreme in changing legislation as open-container ordinances now exist in two counties, allowing alcoholic beverages to be consumed in a historic district, and in certain development districts where patrons can purchase to-go cups of alcohol. In Iowa, open-container ordinances allow patrons to carry open containers on sidewalks and streets between licensed premises. Ohio has passed open-container zones, as well; and in New York lawmakers are keen to pass an ordinance allowing open-containers within a leisure or recreational district.


Open-container laws and penalties vary by state; protect your business by knowing your state’s open-container law(s), as well as any pending changes. If you have questions or want to engage in The BARS Program’s compliance-training, please contact us at or call 1-877-540-5500. 

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