Liquor Frequently Asked Questions

Speech-balloon-orange-q icon  How old do you have to be to sell or serve alcohol?

Speech-balloon-orange-a icon  3.2% Beer Licenses  |  A person who is 18 years of age, and is employed by a 3.2% beer licensed establishment, is allowed to handle, stock, sell,  serve, or dispense 3.2% beer in that establishment. A person under 18 years of age is permitted to "handle" or "stock" 3.2% beer if employed by a 3.2% beer licensee and under the on-premises supervision of a person who is at least 18 years of age.  A person must be 21 years of age to possess, purchase or consume 3.2% beer.

On-premises Liquor Licenses  |  Malt, vinous and spirituous liquor may be handled, dispensed, or sold (this includes wait staff and bartenders) by anyone who is at least 18 years of age and under the on-premises supervision of a person who is at least 21 years of age with the following EXCEPTIONS: in Taverns (which do not regularly serve meals) and Retail Liquor Stores, malt, vinous and spirituous liquor may only be sold by persons who are at least 21 years of age. A person of any age may bus tables or handle empty alcohol beverage containers. A person must be 21 years of age to possess, purchase or consume beer, wine or spirits.

Off-premises Liquor Licenses  |  Employees of retail liquor stores and liquor licensed drug stores must be at least 21 years of age to sell or distribute malt, wine or spirits.

 

Speech-balloon-orange-q icon   Do we have to have food available for customers?

Speech-balloon-orange-a icon  No.  3.2% Beer Licenses  |  3.2% Beer Licensees are not obligated to serve food at any time.

On-premises Liquor Licenses

  • Club licensees, Arts licensees, Optional premises licensees, and Public Transportation System licensees are not obligated to serve food at any time.
  • Hotel and Restaurant licensees must have full meals available until 8:00PM every day, and snacks and sandwiches after 8:00PM.   Food sales must provide at least 25% of the gross income from the sale of food and beverages.
  • Brew Pubs must serve meals and must derive 15% of the on-premises gross sales from the sale of food.
  • Vintner Restaurants must derive 15% of the on-premises gross sales from the sale of food.
  • Taverns, Gaming Taverns, and Beer and Wine licensees must have sandwiches and snacks available during operating hours.
  • Racetracks are required to have food available during hours of operation.

When food is required to be served, it must be available wherever alcoholic beverages are served.

Off-premises Liquor Licenses 

  • Liquor stores are prohibited from the sale of food items except those approved by the State Licensing Authority that are prepackaged, labeled, directly related to the consumption of liquor, and are sold in containers up to 16 ounces for the purpose of cocktail garnish.
  • Liquor-licensed Drug stores are not subject to prohibitions or requirements regarding sale of food items.

Speech-balloon-orange-q icon  Where can alcohol be consumed?

Speech-balloon-orange-a icon   It is illegal to consume spirits, wine, or malt liquor (all beer other than 3.2% beer) in public other than in a place which is licensed for that purpose, such as a tavern. The consumption of 3.2% beer in public is not prohibited by state laws; however, many cities and counties have laws prohibiting the possession of open alcohol beverage containers in public. Such "open container" laws may apply to containers of 3.2% beer and thus may limit the places where 3.2% beer may be consumed.

It is also illegal to bring any type of alcohol beverage into any place which sells alcohol beverages. Thus, alcohol beverage may not legally be brought into any restaurant, sports stadium or similar liquor licensed establishment. Similarly, patrons cannot bring their own alcohol beverages into restaurants without liquor licenses because of the prohibition on public consumption.

Alcohol beverages may not be taken out of licensed establishments, except those places which sell for consumption off the licensed premises, such as a liquor store.  In addition, 12-47-421 C.R.S. Recorking Statute allows for a partially consumed bottle of vinous to leave the premises, if the establishment sells full meals.


Speech-balloon-orange-q icon  What hours can liquor be sold? 

Speech-balloon-orange-a icon   3.2% Beer Licenses  |  3.2% beer may be sold from 5:00AM until midnight, 365 days a year.

On-premises Liquor Licenses  |  Licensees who sell alcohol beverage for consumption on the premises (e.g., taverns, restaurants, and brew pubs for on premises sales) may sell from 7:00AM to 2:00AM, 365 days a year.  When clocks are turned back one hour for Daylight Savings Time at 2:00AM in November, licensees may remain open the “extra” hour.

Off-premises Liquor Licenses  |  Licensees who sell alcohol beverages for consumption off the premises (Liquor Stores, Drug Stores, and Brew Pub “to go” sales) may sell from 8:00AM to midnight every day except Christmas.

All Liquor Licenses  |  No prohibitions exist for sale or service of alcohol on Election Day.


Speech-balloon-orange-q icon   Where do I make a  complaint about an establishment I believe is violating the law?   Can I remain anonymous?

Speech-balloon-orange-a icon   DOR_LED@state.co.us     Yes, we will keep your identity anonymous.  

Speech-balloon-orange-q icon  I have a question about my Liquor Excise Tax.  Who do I contact?

Speech-balloon-orange-a icon  You will need to call Excise Tax at 303-205-8211 x6848