Wisconsin State Alcohol Laws and Questions

What Number of Drinks Can Be Ordered?

Question: I was wondering if there are any laws concerning the number of drinks a person can order at once.

For example, if we are having happy hour from 4 until 6 pm, and a person wants to order 2 rounds of drinks before happy hour ends to have the drinks delivered after 6 pm.  Is there a law that states how many drinks a person can order, and are they able to “back up” the drinks they have to avoid paying prices after happy hour? Wisconsin Bartending License for servers and bartenders

Answer: No state law restriction on the number of drinks someone can ORDER; however, s. 125.07(2)(a) prohibits persons from selling, dispensing, dealing or trafficking in alcoholic beverages to or with a person who is intoxicated.

For example, if you sell someone 10 drinks all at once, you may not have violated the letter of the law, but a reasonable person could conclude if the person consumes all of these drinks in a short span of time, the spirit of the law may be violated.

I would encourage you to set house rules limiting the number of drinks one may order at a time; it makes good sense from a business standpoint and provides you with a measure of control over customers’ consumption habits while in your establishment, where you are ultimately held responsible.

Age to Serve Alcohol female bartender behind the bar mixing with a tall stir stick

Question:   I work for a golf course and we have a minor (17-year-old) and were wondering if she is able to serve liquor while under the supervision of a person with an operating license?  Or does she have to be 18 before she can even touch anything behind the bar?  Just curious after reading through things and not getting a real clear idea of what she can and can not do.

Answer:   No. Must be at least 18 years of age in order to sell or serve alcoholic beverages – s. 125.32(2) and 125.68(2), Wis stats.

Do I have to be over 21?

Question:  If I am 20 years old and I am married can I drink alcohol legally?

Answer:  If your spouse is over the age of 21 and you are accompanying her, you may be served, sold, and consume alcoholic beverages.

At What Time Should The Bar Close?

Question:  I understand that bar time is 2:30 on Friday and Saturday nights and all drinks must be finished…but what I would like to know is if there a certain amount of time that you must have all your customers out of the bar by? Do they need to be out by 2:30 or can you make sure they all leave by 2:45? Is there any leeway and is it written anywhere?

Answer:  Must leave by 2:30AM; there is no “grace period” written into state law.

What do I do after I am certified?

Question: Once you complete a seller/server course and they send you certification, do you have to submit any other applications for a license to serve alcohol?

Answer: Upon completion of RBS program, you need to apply for a license at the municipality where you will be selling alcoholic beverages. Provide a copy of your RBS certificate to the municipality to show you have completed this requirement. You must have an operator’s license from the municipality before you can work alone at a licensed premises.

female server picking up drink glasses from the bar Do I Need A Bartending Certification?

Question:  To be a server in Wisconsin, is there anything required? Are a server and a bartender one and the same? I want to get the right certifications.

Answer:  Servers (Waiter/Waitress), Sellers (Retailers), and Bartenders all take the same course.  Realize that if you work under the direct supervision of the licensee or another person with an alcohol operator’s license then you do not need a license.  To work without immediate supervision, and serve alcohol, you will need a license.

Some municipalities may have different licenses for the specific roles, but I don’t know of any that do that.
Learn more about Wisconsin Alcohol Laws by taking our online Wisconsin Bartender License Course.


Disclaimer: We are not offering legal advice, only questions answered by the State of Wisconsin, please follow up with your own research of the laws with the links provided.