Can Minors be Employed by a Business Selling Alcohol?

One question that gets asked often is whether or not minors can be employed in a business that is selling alcoholic beverages.  We’d like to take a moment to clear up any potential confusion.

Minors CAN be employed in a bona fide eating establishment that serves alcohol as an incidental part of the meal.  Examples of this would be a waitress, hostess, or bus boy in a restaurant where alcoholic beverages are served to patrons in conjunction with a meal.  In this example, a minor acting as the waitress could also serve the alcohol.

However, if the primary function of the establishment is the consumption of alcohol, then minors are not permitted to be employed, even if the establishment serves food such as appetizers.  An example would be a tavern that primarily serves alcohol but happens to offer food.

One instance worth clarifying is the restaurant which also has a dedicated bar area.  While minors are able to work in the food serving section of the location, they are not allowed to work in the bar as a cocktail waitress, bar back, or bartender.  These positions must be held by persons over the age of 21.  This means that an individual under 21 would be allowed to serve food at a restaurant and even go into the bar area to pick up a glass of wine, beer, or cocktail and deliver it to a table where customers are dining.  However, that same individual would not be allowed to work in the bar area of the same restaurant where the primary purpose is the sale of alcoholic beverages.

A “real-life” situation where a restaurant owner or manager would have to be very careful would be as follows:

The restaurant has both a dining area and a bar. On a busy Friday night, one of the cocktail waitresses from the bar calls in sick. In a pinch for staffing, the manager pulls one of his waitresses over from the dining section and asks her to work the evening in the bar serving drinks. The employee filling in for the absent worker in the bar must be over the age of 21.

There are occasional exceptions to this rule such as a musician under the age of 21 who is performing in a lounge, tavern, or bar.  The musician would be permitted to work their job but would not be allowed to remain in the bar area before or after their set.

One role of Alcoholic Beverage Consulting Service is to make sure that licensees understand the limits of their liquor license and avoid legal issues regarding the employment of minors and other guidelines stipulated by their license.

Please review the video below for more information.

Filed under: Liquor License News

Tagged with: · · ·

Leave A Comment

  • <strong>John Maino</strong>, President, Ironfire Brewing Company

    “Alcoholic Beverage Consulting relieved all the stress of filling out and filing of our alcohol licenses with the ABC and TTB, allowing us to focus on what we do best."

    - John Maino, President, Ironfire Brewing Company
  • <strong>Neal Pekala</strong>, Director of Legal Services, Hyatt Hotels

    "Your group provides me with right balance of what is important in picking a local counsel/consultant."

    - Neal Pekala, Director of Legal Services, Hyatt Hotels
  • <strong>Amy Bergrud</strong>, Director of Finance, Malibu Estate/Surfrider, Sunset Marquis Hotel

    “ABC Consulting is a pleasure to work with... Mike and Rhonda are experts in their field and have helped us to get ABC licenses for our multiple locations."

    - Amy Bergrud, Director of Finance, Malibu Estate/Surfrider, Sunset Marquis Hotel
  • <strong>Harald Herrmann</strong>, President/CEO, Yard House Restaurants

    “The Alcoholic Beverage Consulting Service team have been instrumental in support of the growth and success of Yard House over the past 5 years.”

    - Harald Herrmann, President/CEO, Yard House Restaurants
  • <strong>Dianne Scott</strong>, Director of Corporate Relations, BJ’s Restaurants, Inc.

    “I have been working with Mike Brewer and his team for over 16 years and find everyone consistently responsive, reliable and willing to go above and beyond."

    - Dianne Scott, Director of Corporate Relations, BJ’s Restaurants, Inc.