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Are You Prepared: Open-Container Laws Changing Where, How Alcohol is Consumed

Alcohol consumption is increasingly common indoors and out. But did you know open-container laws and penalties vary by state? That’s right, some states allow open-containers on sidewalks/streets between licensed premises, some allow alcohol consumption in specified zones/boundaries; while others have restrictions on the container type or size. And yet, in the clear majority of states it is illegal to possess an open alcohol container in public.


“In Bid for Patrons, a Push to Open the Taps,” a recent Wall Street Journal article, the trending discussion of challenges to open-container laws in public places across the nation is highlighted. At least a handful of states have employed changes to their open-container laws in recent years. What do open-container laws mean for licensees selling alcoholic beverages? Are you familiar with your state’s laws and penalties?


Relaxed open-container regulations serve up a reminder to ensure your staff is properly trained on the company’s alcohol-selling policy. When and where does your permit allow for alcohol to be served? How many drinks can a customer order at one time? Does your staff ask for an ID prior to quoting a cost? These are questions we encourage you to consider in strengthening your employees’ policy knowledge. Patrons of your store/restaurant and visitors to the open-air festivities will expect employee familiarity with open-container laws, and local police will appreciate your efforts in keeping the space safe and orderly.

Open-air venues, including shopping districts, concert venues, street fairs, farmers markets and food festivals, are here to stay. 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 with The BARS Program on how to successfully host an open-air event, please contact us at or call 1-877-540-5500. 

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