Wisconsin Alcohol Laws
Wisconsin Bartender License Course
This is the Wisconsin course needed for a Bartender License, also called the Wisconsin Alcohol Operator License. This license is needed for selling or serving alcohol in Wisconsin. It fully complies with Wisconsin Statues 125.04, 125.17, and 134.66
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How to Obtain a Bartender License
To qualify for an operator's license, you must...
You need to take this Wisconsin Bartender License course to get a license, unless you have taken this course in the past two years, or have had a valid Wisconsin Bartender License in the past two years (in any municipality). Of course the municipality may have additional requirements.
You may work under the "immediate supervision" of another licensed bartender (or the licensee) without a Wisconsin Bartender License. The licensed person must immediately supervise each sale.
All of the Wisconsin clerks are aware of our program and consider us a valuable vendor.
The last requirement can be waived if it is a renewal application or if you held an alcohol beverage license, including an operator's license, within the past two years. The municipality may issue you a provisional operator's license if you are enrolled in a responsible beverage server course when you apply. An operator's license is only good in the municipality that issues it. For instance, if you are issued an operator's license in the City of Milwaukee, you may not use it in a suburban municipality, like Franklin.
A criminal record may prevent you from getting a license, see the municipality you want to work in below, ask the city clerk about specifics if they are not mentioned in the Bartender's License Instructions below.
Municipalities Of Wisconsin
(click on the city / municipality below to link to the city clerk information on bartender license and application)
Wisconsin State Liquor Authority
State of Wisconsin
Department of Revenue - Alcohol & Tobacco Enforcement
2135 Rimrock Road
P.O. Box 8933 Mail Stop 6-40
Madison, Wisconsin 53708-8933
Internet Website: WI DOR Website
Codes and Ordinance site for MANY municipalities in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Alcohol Ages
Age to consume: 21
Age to serve: 18
Age to sell (retail): 18
Age to pour: 18
Wisconsin Alcohol Hours of Operation
On Premise Establishments Hours of Operation
Sunday thru Thursday 6:00 a.m. - 2 a.m. (the next day)
Friday & Saturday 6:00 a.m. - 2:30 a.m. (the next day)
There is no closing time for the New Year's holiday.
No carry out sales between 12:00 midnight - 6:00am
- local ordinances may further restrict carry out sales hours
Off Premise Hours of Operation
Wine & Liquor
Monday thru Sunday, 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.
Wine Sampling 11:00am until 7:00pm
Monday thru Sunday, 6:00 a.m. until Midnight
Beer Sampling 11:00am until 7:00pm
Wisconsin's DRAM Shop Law
125.035 Civil liability exemption: furnishing alcohol beverages.
(1) In this section, person has the meaning given in s. 990.01 (26).
(2) A person is immune from civil liability arising out of the act of procuring alcohol beverages for or selling, dispensing or giving away alcohol beverages to another person.
(3) Subsection (2) does not apply if the person procuring, selling, dispensing or giving away alcohol beverages causes their consumption by force or by representing that the beverages contain no alcohol.
(4) (a) In this subsection, provider means a person, including a licensee or permittee, who procures alcohol beverages for or sells, dispenses or gives away alcohol beverages to an underage person in violation of s. 125.07 (1) (a).(b) Subsection (2) does not apply if the provider knew or should have known that the underage person was under the legal drinking age and if the alcohol beverages provided to the underage person were a substantial factor in causing injury to a 3rd party. In determining whether a provider knew or should have known that the underage person was under the legal drinking age, all relevant circumstances surrounding the procuring, selling, dispensing or giving away of the alcohol beverages may be considered, including any circumstance under subds. 1. to 4. In addition, sub.(2) does apply if all of the following occur:
1. The underage person falsely represents that he or she has attained the legal drinking age.
2. The underage person supports the representation with documentation that he or she has attained the legal drinking age.
3. The alcohol beverages are provided in good faith reliance on the underage persons representation that he or she has attained the legal drinking age.
4. The appearance of the underage person is such that an ordinary and prudent person would believe that he or she had attained the legal drinking age.
(5) Subsection (2) does not apply to civil forfeiture actions for violation of any provision of this chapter or any local ordinance in conformity with any provision of this chapter.
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