Information for Alabama Responsible Vendor Certification Program

Alabama Bartending Laws

These are the regulations related to the consumption, sale and service of alcohol, liquor or malt or brewed beverages in Alabama:
Legal Age to Purchase, Consume, Possess and Transport: 21        
However any Alcoholic Beverage Control Board licensee may employ any person under the legal drinking age to work, provided there is an adult in attendance at all times.   Minors may be employed as professional entertainers, show people, musicians, cashiers, hostesses, ushers, waiters and waitresses, busboys or girls, and the like, provided they do not serve, dispense or consume alcohol and an adult is present at all times.

Legal Age to Serve Alcoholic Beverages: 19*
*A licensee is also allowed to employ minors who are 19 years of age or older to serve alcoholic beverages under the following conditions.  A waiter, waitress, or server who is 19 years of age or older may serve alcoholic beverages during normal dining hours in a restaurant which holds an Alcoholic Beverage Control Board restaurant retail license, provided the licensee is certified in the Responsible Vendor Program.

Legal Age to Bartend (mix drinks): 21

Dram Shop Laws

Liquor liability laws, also known as Dram Shop Laws, hold the licensee responsible, but lawsuits are typically a combination of these laws and general negligence on the part of the server.  A server may be found guilty of negligence if, under the same circumstances, a reasonable person would have acted differently.

In a case involving alcohol sold to a minor or serving/furnishing controlled substances to a minor, Alabama state law specifically designates to the parent of a minor, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis to the minor, right of action for damages assessed by the jury against a server who knowingly furnished alcohol to the minor.  Similar right of action is provided to every wife, child, parent, or other person who was injured in person or property by an intoxicated person against the server who, contrary to the provisions in the law, caused the intoxication.  This includes all damages sustained in addition to exemplary damages.

A third person who is injured or damaged or both also has cause of action against the server for serving, furnishing, or giving the controlled substance to the minor.

This is precisely the reason that procedures have been developed for checking ID and visibly determining intoxication.  Remember, it is always illegal to serve a minor or an intoxicated customer, and in Alabama you could be held civilly liable for doing so.

See the following sections of the Alabama Code for more details: §6-5-70 (Furnishing liquor to minors), §6-5-71 (Injury in consequence of illegal sale), §6-5-72 (Injury to third party serving/furnishing controlled substance to minor).