United States - 21, Canada 18 - 19. More below...
Laws about the legal drinking age cover a wide range of issues and behaviours, addressing when and where alcohol can be consumed. The minimum age alcohol can be legally consumed can be different to the age when it can be purchased. These laws vary among different countries, and many laws have exemptions or special circumstances. Most laws apply only to drinking alcohol in a public places, with alcohol consumption in the home being mostly unregulated. Some countries also have different age limits for different types of alcoholic drinks.
And some countries/islands like Jamaica, Morocco, Cuba, Togo, Malaysia, Swaziland and Vietnam - have none!
In the United States, Although it is commonly believed that the minimum drinking age is 21, people can legally drink below that age under many different circumstances.
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 withholds revenue from states that allow the purchase of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21. Prior to the effective date of that Act, the drinking age varied from state to state. Some states do not allow those under the legal drinking age to be present in liquor stores or in bars (usually, the difference between a bar and a restaurant is that food is served only in the latter).
Contrary to popular belief, since the act went into law, only a few states prohibit minors and young adults from consuming alcohol in private settings. As of January 1, 2010, 15 states and the District of Columbia ban underage consumption outright, 17 states do not ban underage consumption, and the remaining 18 states have family member and/or location exceptions to their underage consumption laws.
Federal law explicitly provides for religious, medical, employment and private club possession exceptions; as of 2005, 31 states have family member and/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 minors (those under the age of 21.
In Canada, the legal drinking age is the minimum age at which a person is allowed to buy and drink alcohol. The legal drinking age in Canada is determined by each province and territory in Canada.
In Belgium, the purchase age and drinking age for distilled and strong spirits (greater than 22%) is 18 years. There is no drinking age for other alcoholic beverages; 16 year olds can buy these in stores but may not order or buy them in bars.
The United Kingdom is the only country that has a minimum legal age (5 years old - with parental consent), for drinking alcohol in a home. The minimum age for the purchase of alcohol is 18. People aged 16 or 17 may consume wine, beer or cider on licensed premises when ordered with a meal. In England and Wales, it must be an adult who orders, however an adult doesn't have to be present to order alcohol with a meal in Scotland.
It gets even more complicated:
|A look inside a self-service |
Systembolaget store in Södertälje, Sweden
Pic by wikiuser Liftarn
Beer is legally divided into three classes. Class I (maximum 2.25%), called lättöl ("light beer"), is sold without restrictions (although shops often set their own age restrictions). Class II (up to 3.5%), called folköl ("people's beer"), is sold in regular stores, but with the minimum purchase age of 18. Class III, starköl ("strong beer", over 3.5%) is sold only in Systembolaget stores.
Some Islamic nations prohibit Muslims, or both Muslims and non-Muslims, from drinking alcohol at any age.
In Israel, it is illegal to sell alcohol between 11:00 p.m and 6:00 a.m, outside of pubs and restaurants and it is also illegal to drink outdoors after 9:00 p.m. - yet there is no minimum drinking age (MDA) limit, but rather a minimum purchasing age of 18.
In some 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.
So if you're going to some country where you are planning to consume some alcoholic beverages, you might want to click on the book below first, (by ICAP), to view the list of legal alcohol drinking ages from around the world. Cheers!
ICAP has gathered information from over 100 countries around the world on the minimum ages to legally purchase and consume alcohol.
The table below records the minimum legal purchase ages both on- and off-premise and by beverage type (beer, wine and sprits). The World Health Organization defines on- and off-premise as follows:
On-premise retail sale refers to the selling of alcoholic beverages for consumption at the site of the sale, generally in pubs, bars, cafes or restaurants.
Off-premise retail sale refers to the selling of alcoholic beverages for consumption elsewhere and not on the site of sale. Off-premise sale takes place, for example, in state monopoly stores, wine shops, supermarkets, and petrol stations or kiosks, depending on the regulations of the country.
More Alcohol Drinking/Purchasing Related Facts....
DID YOU KNOW:
- In Turkey, the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited for 24 hours during general elections. In many countries in Latin America and several US states, the sale but not the consumption of alcohol is prohibited before and during elections.
- Muslim countries such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Turkey do not have any ban on alcohol, and production as well as consumption are legal, under the provision that people below the legal drinking age (which ranges from 18 to 21 depending on the country and the situation) cannot legally purchase alcoholic beverages.
- Sudan has banned all alcohol consumption and extends serious penalties, such as lashings, to offenders pursuant to President Omar al-Bashir's policy of enacting Sharia as national law. Despite this, there exists a thriving trade in date brandy (called araqi in Sudanese Arabic) and other native alcoholic beverages; a black market in imported beverages, such as whisky, also thrives in the cities.
- The alcoholic drinks market in Iran consist of only non-alcoholic beer, as Islamic law bans the consumption, manufacturing and trading of alcohol in any form. It is forbidden to have alcoholic dish or drink , to trade with alcohol, and to serve alcohol.The alcoholic drinks market in Iran consist of only non-alcoholic beer, as Islamic law bans the consumption, manufacturing and trading of alcohol in any form. It is forbidden to have alcoholic dish or drink , to trade with alcohol, and to serve alcohol. Bringing alcohol into Iran is disallowed.
- Morocco prohibits the sale of alcohol during Ramadan.
- Tunisia has a selective ban on alcohol products other than wine, with consumption and sale being allowed in special zones or bars "for tourists" and in large cities. Wine, however, is widely available.