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Legal drinking age


The legal drinking age is the age at which a person can legally consume or purchase alcoholic beverages. These laws cover a wide range of issues and behaviors, addressing when and where alcohol can be consumed. The minimum age alcohol can be legally consumed can be different from the age when it can be purchased in some countries. These laws vary among different countries and many laws have exemptions or special circumstances. Most laws apply only to drinking alcohol in public places, with alcohol consumption in the home being mostly unregulated (an exception being the UK, which has a minimum legal age of five for supervised consumption in private places). Some countries also have different age limits for different types of alcoholic drinks.

Some Islamic nations prohibit Muslims, or both Muslims and non-Muslims, from drinking alcohol at any age, due to the Qura'an forbidding the consumption of wine. In other countries, it is not illegal for minors to drink alcohol, but the alcohol can be seized without compensation. In some cases, it is illegal to sell or give alcohol to minors. The following list indicates the age of the person for whom it is legal to consume and purchase alcohol.

Kazakhstan, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Paraguay, Solomon Islands, India (certain states), the United States (except U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico), Yemen (Aden and Sana'a), Japan, Iceland, Canada (certain Provinces and Territories), and South Korea have the highest set drinking ages, however some of these countries do not have off-premises drinking limits. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Georgia, Luxembourg, Moldova, Morocco, and Western Sahara have the lowest set drinking ages.

Federal law explicitly provides for religious exceptions. As of 2005, thirty-one states have family member or location exceptions to their underage possession laws. However, non-alcoholic beer in many (but not all) states, such as Idaho, Texas, and Maryland, is considered legal for those under the age of twenty-one.

By a judge's ruling, South Carolina appears to allow the possession and consumption of alcohol by adults eighteen to twenty years of age, but a circuit court judge has said otherwise.

The states of Washington and Wisconsin allows the consumption of alcohol in the presence of parents.


  • According to Art. 1° of the law to "ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors", it is illegal to serve or sell alcohol or to allow the consumption by minors under 20 years of age.
  • Furthermore, under Art 2° all public establishments selling alcohol must display a clearly legible notice in the sales area with the following text: "ESTA PROHIBIDA LA VENTA DE BEBIDAS ALCOHÓLICAS A MENORES DE VEINTE AÑOS DE EDAD" (It is illegal (prohibited) to sell alcoholic beverages to minors under 20 years of age)
  • Drinking alcohol is strictly forbidden in public places in reaction to 2013 Little India riot, after the Committee of Inquiry accepts the recommendations on 7 July 2014.
  • For convenience stores, those who pretend to be 18 years and above in a "Challenge 18" scheme will be downgraded to "Challenge 21" scheme, and after which the licences will be revoked once they pretend to be 18 years and above if it is on "Challenge 21".
  • It is illegal to purchase alcohol in Singapore or consume in a nightclub/allow entry to the nightclub under 18. Home and private drinking of alcohol is allowed, although the safest age could be 6. Parents can try a sip of alcohol at any age.
  • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to consume alcohol.
  • Parents, guardians, and others taking care of people under 18 shall prohibit underage drinking, or risk administrative fines of 10000 to 50000 new Taiwan dollars when the situations are serious.
  • One shall not supply alcohol to anyone under the age of 18. A violator shall be administratively fined 3000 to 15000 New Taiwan Dollars.
  • In order to buy alcohol above 1.2% and below 16.5% ABV in stores, one must be 16 years of age.
  • In order to buy alcohol above 16.5% ABV in stores, one must be 18 years of age.
  • To be served alcoholic drinks in bars, discos, clubs, restaurants and any establishment serving alcoholic beverages one must be 18 years of age.
  • The alcoholic beverage is beer, wine or cider below 15% ABV, or
  • The alcoholic beverage is served in a bottle, or a pre-packaged container below 5.5% ABV.
  • It is illegal to sell, serve, offer or consume alcoholic beverages on licensed premises under the age of 18, other than the following two exceptions.
  • Minors aged 16 or 17 may consume wine, beer or cider on licensed premises when ordered with a meal, and accompanied by an adult.
  • It is legal to sell liqueur confectionery to someone of any age.
  • It is illegal to permit minors under the age of 5 to consume alcoholic beverages unless under medical supervision or in an emergency.
  • It is illegal to sell, serve, offer or consume alcoholic beverages in public under the age of 18.
  • Minors aged 16 or 17 may consume wine, beer or cider on licensed premises when ordered with a meal.
  • It is legal to sell liqueur confectionery to someone of any age.
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Wikipedia

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