While underage drinking has always been a problem, it has become more prevalent in recent years. More and more children and teens are drinking alcohol, and they are starting younger than ever. Almost 12% of New Hampshire youths took their first drink before their 12th birthday. More than 50% took their first drink before they turned 17.

Early drinking can affect growth and brain development. The younger kids are when they start drinking, the harder it is for them to quit. Be the adult, and talk to your kids about choosing the right path to avoid underage drinking.

What is the purpose of maintaining an incident log book?

Documenting incidents and descriptions within a log book may protect you against allegations of improper sales or service of alcohol to underage or intoxicated patrons.

Do we need to notify the Liquor Commission?

Yes, the NH Liquor Commission must be notified in writing prior to any beer, wine, and liquor tastings by the licensee providing the samples. Reference Liq 405.01 Definitions and Liq 405.02 Beverage/Liquor/Wine Public Sampling Notification.

You may mail your request to: PO Box 1795, Concord NH 03302-1795 or it may be emailed to the audit department at audit@liquor.state.nh.us.

To obtain a complete list of the rules and regulations please visit Liq 405 Public Sampling Of Beverage/Liquor/Winepursuant to RSA 179:44 Free Drinks.

If you have any additional questions please free feel to contact the auditing department at audit@liquor.state.nh.us or call (603) 271-2039.

Who is responsible if a minor is served or someone is over served?

The licensee on whose premise a public sampling occurs and the licensee conducting the sampling shall both be equally responsible for ensuring that all requirements are met under the law.

Can I advertise a tasting?

Yes, an on-sale or off-sale licensee may advertise a tasting event as long as no NH beer wholesalers, beverage manufacturers, brewpubs or nano breweries, NH Liquor and Wine Vendor, Liquor and Wine Representative, wine manufacturer, liquor manufacturer provide the on-sale or off-sale licensee any money towards the placement of the ad.

How do I get product to taste?

  1. On-sale and off-sale licensees shall purchase all liquor and wine from the NH Liquor Commission for tastings that they are conducting. Beer and beverage shall be purchased from NH licensed beer wholesalers, beverage manufacturers, brewpubs or nano breweries.
  2. If a licensed NH beer wholesaler, beverage manufacturers, brewpubs or nano breweries, NH liquor and wine vendor, liquor and wine epresentative, wine manufacturer, liquor manufacturer  are conducting a tasting in conjunction with an on-sale or off-sale licensee then the licensed beer wholesalers, beverage manufacturers, brewpubs or nano breweries may bring products onto the licensed premise to conduct the tasting provided that any product not used during the tasting is removed immediately after the tasting is over.

How much can an individual consume at a tasting?

  1. Serving sizes are restricted by the type of product being sampled.
    1. Beer and beverages shall not exceed 4 ounces.
    2. Wine shall not exceed 2 ounces.
    3. Liquor and Fortified Wine shall not exceed 1/2 ounce.
  2. There is no restriction as to how many samples an individual can receive but it is the responsibility of the licensee to make sure that no one is over served and are of legal drinking age.

Who can conduct a tasting?

  1. On-sale and off-sale licensees may conduct or host tastings.
  2. Beer manufacturers, beer wholesalers, brewpubs, nano breweries, beverage vendors, domestic wine manufacturers, liquor manufacturer, liquor & wine vendors, liquor and wine representatives can conduct public sampling in conjunction with on-sale or off-sale licensee.

Where can tastings take place?

Tastings must take place on licensed on-sale or off-sale premises during legal drinking hours of sale for the licensed premise.

What is a tasting?

NH Law authorizes on-sale and off-sale licensees to provide a free sample of beer, wine, and liquor to individuals over the age of 21. All tastings are required to be free and open to the public.

Can I host a training class at my business?

The Total Education in Alcohol Management® class is held at non-licensed establishments; public library, police department, municipal building, and conference center.

Online training is also available: https://lms.nh.gov/liquor/portal/

Where can I get an Age Poster? ID Book? Age Calendar?

The Enforcement & Licensing office or your Liquor Investigator maintains a supply of age requirements posters for licensed establishments to display in a conspicuous place.
RSA 179:18 Posting of Age Requirements:

ID Checking Guide: call 1-800-227-8827 or visit www.idcheckingguide.com 
We Card Calendar: call 1-800-934-3968 or visit www.wecard.org

How can I get a copy of my "Certificate of Attendance"?

Please call the training unit at (603) 271-8531 to obtain copies of cards which can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed. You may also request an up to date list of employees who have attended any training program.

Are all my employees required to attend training?

Training for employees of licensed liquor establishments is not mandatory in New Hampshire.
“Annual Training is Recommended”

The commission does require the proprietor, partner, officer, member or designated manager of a new retail license to attend MTS training within 45 days of license issue.
RSA 178:2 Licenses Authorized; Training Required

What are the hours of service for alcohol in a club, lounge, or restaurant?

An on sale licensee may allow the sale of alcohol from 6:00 am to 1:00 am.
179:17 Hours of Sales

Is it possible for me to employ a convicted felon?

You may employ a person convicted of a felon for up to 60 days. A waiver must be completed and approved by the Commission in order to employ a convicted felon longer than 60 days. A licensee shall be fined up to $50 per day of employment beyond 60 days.
RSA 179:23 Employment; Employment of Minors; Felon Exceptions

Is it acceptable to post "Happy Hour" specials?

You may advertise liquor or beverages at a licensed premise as long as it is consistent with the spirit of public health or safety. The Commission may suspend the advertising or promotion of liquor or beverage deemed inconsistent. A city or town may adopt provisions that prohibit signs in view of any public way promoting liquor or beverages at reduced prices by an on-premises licensee.
RSA 179:31 Advertising Restrictions

Are signs allowed to advertise alcohol?

Advertising liquor or beverages with an internally illuminated sign outside the premise is not permitted.
You may use internally illuminated signs (no neon) inside the licensed premises.
RSA 179:25 Sign Restrictions

Can an Alcohol Management Policy be stricter than NH law?

Written “House Policies” shows evidence of a responsible business practice and do have the option to be stricter than state laws regarding alcohol sales and service.

Can employees consume alcoholic beverages while working?

No on-premises or off-premises licensee or employee shall consume beverage or liquor while working.
RSA 179:20 Employee Restrictions

No “employee” includes persons who are permitted, required, or directed by an employer to engage in employment with consideration of direct or indirect gain or profit.
RSA 275:4, II Definition of Terms

If alcohol is sold or served to an underage or an intoxicated person, what is the criminal penalty?

Prohibited Sales is a Class B misdemeanor criminal offense with a fine of $1200. If service of alcohol purposely or recklessly caused bodily injury, the state may change the offense to a Class A misdemeanor with a fine of $2000, and/or one year in jail. 
179:58 Penalties
RSA 625:9 Classification of Crimes

As a server or seller of alcohol, what visual signs of intoxication should I be aware of?

Odor of alcohol, Stumbles, Falls, Staggers, Loud, Bloodshot eyes, Slurred speech, Disheveled appearance, Loss of coordination, Impaired judgment, Foul language, etc.

What are the hours of sale for alcohol in a convenience or grocery store?

An off sale licensee may allow the sale of alcohol from 6:00 am to 11:45 pm.
179:17 Hours of Sales

Are there any dry towns and/or limited alcohol sales in the State of NH?

Dry & Limited Alcohol Sales RSA 175:7 Local Option provides for voters of cities and towns questions concerning the sale and consumption of liquor, malt beverages and wine. (In 1964, two questions were placed on the ballot; one concerning the sale of beverages and another to approve the sale of liquor.) The below list are towns who either rejected alcohol sale altogether or placed limits on the types.
New Hampshire Dry Towns and Limited Alcohol Sales List