Liquor License

Liquor License

What is minimum age of consumption of liquor?

calendar06 Jul, 2020
timeReading Time: 4 Minutes
consumption of liquor

Every year government formulates the Excise Policy and approves Terms & Conditions to obtain a liquor license. In pursuance to the policy, the approved terms and conditions, licenses are granted for the wholesale supply and consumption of liquor. These were granted to a Company or a society or proprietorship firm or a partnership firm having licensed manufacturing units (distillery or winery or brewery or bottling plant).

These applications for the grant of Licence are invited through a public notice published in some of the leading newspapers and on the official website of the Department. An application for the grant of Licence is required to be made in response to the public notice in the prescribed format to the Deputy Commissioner of Excise[1].

What is the legal drinking age in different states in India?

The legal drinking age in states and the laws which regulate the sale and consumption of liquor varies significantly from state to state. In India, consumption of liquor is also prohibited in some states of Bihar, Gujarat and Nagaland, Mizoram and also the union territory of Lakshadweep.

There is a partial ban on alcohol in a few districts of Manipur. All Indian states permit alcohol consumption but a prescribed legal drinking age that ranges at different ages per region. In some states, the legal drinking age is may be different for different types of alcoholic beverages.

List of the legal drinking age in various states

In spite of legal restrictions, the consumption of liquor in India has risen over almost 72% over the period of 20 years (as per OECD figures) because the laws were generally not followed in a customer-business relationship.

The maximum permitted ABV is 45.5%. Since consumption of liquor and distribution laws are governed differently in different states, each state has its own age criteria when it comes to the legal drinking age.

Here is a list of the legal drinking age in various states:

  • 25 years in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Maharashtra and Dadra, and Nagar Haveli, Daman, and Diu. The Delhi Excise Department has a proposal to the Delhi Government for lowering the drinking age for wine and beer to the age of 21, although it will still remain 25 for hard liquor. Home delivery for alcoholic beverages is illegal in the state of Delhi. However, in Delhi, the home delivery of beer and wine by the private vendors and by departmental stores is permitted.
  • In Maharashtra, a liquor license obtained from the Government Civil Hospital is required to drink, although this is not largely enforced. Additionally, the state legislature empowers the district governments to ban alcohol entirely. As a result, the districts, Wardha, Gadchiroli, and Chandrapur, have imposed a total ban on the production and sale of alcohol.
  • 23 years of age in Kerala and 18 years of age in Rajasthan, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar, Puducherry, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, and Karnataka.
  • 21 years in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra (only for beer), Meghalaya, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, and West Bengal.
  • States where alcohol consumption is banned: Bihar, Gujarat, Lakshadweep (Consumption is legal only on the resort island of Bangaram), Manipur (Partial prohibition since 2002), and Nagaland. It has been banned in Karnataka since 1 July 2007.
Note: Alcohol is the subject in a State List under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. Hence, the laws governing liquor license varies from state to state.

Read our article:Procedure for Obtaining Liquor License in India

Drink driving laws in India

The (BAC) blood alcohol content legal limit is 0.03% or 30 mg alcohol in 100 ml blood. On 1 March 2012, the Union Cabinet has approved the proposed changes to Motor Vehicle Act. Higher penalties were introduced. It includes fine from ₹2,000 to ₹10,000 and imprisonment from 6 months, which extends up to 4 years. Different penalties have been assessed depending on the blood alcohol content at the time of the offense.

Dry days

Dry days are specific days when a sale of alcohol is not permitted. Most of the Indian states observe dry days on major national festivals or any occasions, for instance, Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August), and Gandhi Jayanti (2 October). Dry days are also observed during the elections in India.

Minimum Age Limits

ICAP has gathered information from over 100 countries around the world that have a minimum age for legal purchase and consumption of alcohol. The minimum legal purchase has both on and off-premise and by beverage type (beer, wine, and sprits).

World Health Organization

World Health Organization

World Health Organization defines on and off-premise as follows:

  • On-premise retail sale refers to a sale of beverage alcohol for consumption at the site of the sale, generally in bars, pubs, cafes, or restaurants.
  • Off-premise retail sale refers to a sale of beverage alcohol for consumption elsewhere (not on the site of sale). Off-premise sales take place, for instance, in-state monopoly stores, wine shops, supermarkets, and petrol stations or kiosks, depending on local regulations. (World Health Organization, Global Status Report on Alcohol Policy, 2004)


Liquor in Indian states is generally sold at liquor stores, hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, pubs, and discos but not online. Some states such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu prohibit the private parties from owning liquor stores making the state government a sole retailer of alcohol in those states. However, in other states, liquor may be sold at groceries, departmental stores, banquet halls, and farmhouses. Some tourist areas have special laws that allow the sale of alcohol on beaches and houseboats.

Read our article:Suspension and Revocation of Liquor License in India

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