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South Carolina Alcohol Laws and Regulations

Legal Age to Sell and Serve

The legal age to purchase and consume alcohol in South Carolina is 21 years of age. To sell alcohol as a server for on-site consumption, you must be 18 years of age. However, tending the bar is 21 or older. Tending the bar means an 18-year-old cannot create the drinks but can serve them.

Beer and wine have no minimum age limit. Spirits (liquor), on the other hand, require a clerk to be at least 21 years old or older.

S.C. Code § 20-7-370

South Carolina Underage Drinking and Fake IDs

It is a misdemeanor for any person under the age of twenty-one to purchase or knowingly have any beer, ale, porter, wine, or any other similar malted or fermented beverage.

Another misdemeanor is for anyone under the age of 21 to falsely represent his age to procure alcoholic liquors. The misdemeanor applies to anyone who is purchasing or attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages from any business licensed to sell alcoholic beverages. 

Fines and Penalties: $100-200, cannot be imprisoned for more than 30 days or both.

Violators must also complete an approved alcohol prevention education program that is at least eight hours long. The maximum amount the program can cost is $150.

S.C. Code § 63-19-2450, § 61-4-60

Penalties & Fines for Selling or Furnishing Alcohol

Penalties and fines can be imposed on the

  • licensee
  • the clerk
  • those who furnish alcohol to underage individuals

Licensee Penalties

It is illegal for a licensee; an adult licensed to sell alcohol in South Carolina, to knowingly sell or permit alcohol to be sold to a minor. A licensee may face suspension and have their beer, wine, or liquor license automatically revoked if a conviction, a plea of guilty, forfeiture of the bond, or a plea of nolo contendere occurs. As an alternative to the revocation of a beer, wine, or liquor license, the department may issue a fine instead of revocation.

Fines:

First Offense: the license must be revoked for one year or the licensee must pay a penalty of $250 to the department.

Second Offense: the offender's license or license must be revoked for two years, or the licensee must pay a penalty of $500 to the department.

S.C. Code § 61-6-4260

Penalties for Clerk

A clerk who sells or serves alcohol to an underage person faces a misdemeanor if the customer is under the age of 18.

First Offense: mandatory fine of $200 and $300, up to 30 days in jail, or both. It is up to the judge’s discretion. 

Second Offense: A judge will fine second and subsequent offenders between $400 and $500, may order jail time for up to 30 days, or both.

S.C. Code § 61-6-4070

 

Furnishing Alcohol to Underage Persons

It is illegal in South Carolina for an adult to furnish or give alcohol to a minor. 

Exceptions include:

  • A parent or guardian giving alcohol to their child under the age of 21 in their home
  • Provision of alcohol to a minor in conjunction with religious ceremonies
  • A student over the age of 18 who is required to taste (but not consume) alcohol as part of a culinary course at an accredited college or university

Penalties are the same as the penalties for a clerk.*

S.C. Code § 61-6-4075

Operating Hours

Ordering a drink at a bar or a restaurant is permitted between 10 A.M and 2 A.M Monday through Friday. Saturday, all sales of alcoholic beverages must end at 11:59 PM. Liquor stores may be open between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m.

Beer and wine may be bought and sold 24 hours a day.

*Municipalities and counties are permitted to have more restrictive ordinances

S.C. Code § 61-6-1500

Days of Sale

Unless county or municipal ordinances have additional restrictions, alcoholic beverages may not be sold for on or off-premises consumption (to go) on Sundays. However, some counties do allow alcohol sales on Sundays.  

S.C. Code § 61-6-1610

Our South Carolina Alcohol Seller-Server course is available now to help you learn more about these laws and many others!

Also, check out our other state alcohol and liquor laws in our Dramshop Series

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