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Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

General FAQ

How do I fill out my buyer’s card?

Review this explanation and sample buyer’s card (Click to view sample buyer's card)

How do I look up my license number (identification number)?  It’s not listed on my license. 

You can look up your license information via our website.  Under the “Select a popular function” drop down, choose “Search Liquor License Database”.  Type in the first word of your licensee name, or business name, and click the search button.  Your identification number will be listed to the left of your licensee name.

Can I manufacture without a license (340a.301 subd. 9)? 

Wine and beer can be manufactured in the home and for family use, without a license.  It is a felony offense to manufacture distilled spirits by use of a still in a person’s home. 

Can I bring my home brewed beer or wine to an organized affair, exhibit, competition or tasting (340a.301 subd. 9)?  

Yes you can bring your home brewed beer or wine to one of the above types of events.  Any tasting of the homemade product by the public is done so at their own risk.  A notice must be given in writing or signage disclosing that the product offered is homemade and not subject to any government regulation, or safety and cleanliness requirements.  The notice must also include the name and address of the person who processed the product. 

Can I sell my home brewed beer or wine (340a.301 subd. 9)? 

Home brewed beer or wine may not be sold or offered for sale, in any capacity. 

How old do I need to be to sell or serve liquor (340a.412 subd. 10)?

No person under 18 years of age may serve or sell intoxicating liquor in a retail intoxicating liquor establishment.

​Selling Alcohol to People under 21-Years-Old

Entering Licensed Premises
It is unlawful for a person under 21 to enter an establishment licensed to sell alcohol for the purpose of purchasing or being served alcoholic beverages. However, no city ordinance may prohibit a person 18-20-years old from entering an establishment to:

  • Perform work for the establishment, including the serving of alcoholic beverages.
  • Eat.
  • Attend social functions in areas of the establishment where liquor is not sold.

Unlawful Serving of People Under 21

  • It is unlawful for a retail licensee to permit anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol on the premise.
  • It is unlawful for a person under 21 to consume or possess alcohol unless it is in the home of their parents or guardian, and with the consent of the parent or guardian.
  • It is unlawful for anyone to sell, furnish or give alcohol to a person under 21.
  • A person under the age of 21 can’t purchase or attempt to purchase, obtain or possess alcohol.
  • It is unlawful to lend or knowingly let a person use their driver’s license or identification card by a person under the age of 21 to purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol.
  • It is unlawful for a person under 21 to claim to be 21-years-old for the purpose of purchasing alcohol.

Proof of Age

  • Proof of age for purchasing or consuming alcohol may be established only by one of the following:
    • A valid driver’s license
    • A valid state identification card or from Canada, which includes a photograph and date of birth of the person.
    • A valid military I.D. issued by the U.S. Dept. of Defense
    • A valid passport
    • A valid tribal I.D

Selling to Minors Defense
A defense may be used by an individual who is prosecuted for a sale to a person under 21 that they relied upon representations of proof-of-age in good faith. (see Minnesota Statute section 340A.503, Subd. 6)

Purchasing Alcohol on 21st Birthday

  •  In order to purchase or consume alcohol, a person is not 21-years-old until 8 a.m. on the day of that person's 21st birthday under Minnesota law.

When is a license required?​

No person may directly or indirectly, on any pretense, sell, barter, charge for possession or otherwise dispose of alcoholic beverages as part of a commercial transaction without having obtained the proper license or permit.

Are there limitations placed on an alcohol beverage license?

  1. Alcoholic beverage licenses are prohibited in certain areas under the provisions of Minnesota Statute 340A.412 subdivision 4. No license to sell intoxicating liquor may be issued within the following areas:
    1. where restricted against commercial use through zoning ordinances and other proceedings or legal processes regularly had for that purpose, except licenses may be issued to restaurants in areas which were restricted against commercial uses after the establishment of the restaurant;
    2. within the Capitol or on the Capitol grounds, except as provided under Laws 1983, chapter 259, section 9, or Laws 1999, chapter 202, section 13;
    3. on the State Fairgrounds, except as provided under section 37.21, subdivision 2;
    4. on the campus of the College of Agriculture of the University of Minnesota;
    5. within 1,000 feet of a state hospital, training school, reformatory, prison, or other institution under the supervision or control, in whole or in part, of the commissioner of human services or the commissioner of corrections;
    6. in a town or municipality in which a majority of votes at the last election at which the question of license was voted upon were not in favor of license under section 340A.416, or within one-half mile of any such town or municipality, except that intoxicating liquor manufactured within this radius may be sold to be consumed outside it; and
    7. within 1,500 feet of any public school that is not within a city.
      (b) The restrictions of this subdivision do not apply to a manufacturer or wholesaler of intoxicating liquor or to a drug store or to a person who had a license originally issued lawfully prior to July 1, 1967.
  2. Restrictions on the number of off-sale licenses
    1. A municipality may not issue more than one off-sale license to any person or for any one place. (340A.412, Subdivision 3)
    2. In cities of the first class, not more than one off-sale license for each 5,000 population. In all other cities the limit shall be determined by the city. (340A.413, Subdivision 5)

Who may have an off-sale license?

Minnesota Statute 340A.405 states that a city/county may issue an off-sale liquor license to an exclusive liquor store.

​What type of business qualifies for an on-sale liquor license?

Under the provisions of Minnesota Statute 340A.404 an on-sale liquor license may be issued by a city to numbers 1-9, by a county to numbers 1, 2, 3 or 4:
  1. Hotels
  2. Restaurants 
  3. Bowling centers 
  4. Clubs - provided:
    1. The organization has been in existence for at least 3 years and has owned and rented space in a building for more than 1 year
    2. Sales will only be to members and bona fide guests 
  5. Sports facilities, restaurants, clubs, or bars located on land owned or leased by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority;
  6. Sports facilities located on land owned by the Metropolitan Sports Commission
  7. Exclusive liquor stores
  8. Theaters
  9. Auto racing facilities

​When may I be open for business?

Hours and Days of Sale (340A.504)

  1. No sale of 3.2 beer may be made between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. on the days of Monday through Saturday, nor between 2 a.m. and Noon on Sunday, with certain exceptions for the airport and sports commission.
  2. No sale of intoxicating liquor on-sale may be made:
    1. Between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.. on the days of Monday through Saturday.
    2. After 2 a.m. on Sundays, except as provided by the Sunday sale law.
  3. A city may issue a Sunday on sale intoxicating liquor license only if authorized to do so by the voters of the city voting on the question at a general or special election. A restaurant, club, bowling center or hotel with at least 30 seats and which holds an on-sale license may sell intoxicating liquor on-sale in conjunction with the sale of food between the hours of 8 a..m. on Sundays and 1 a.m. on Monday after a public hearing, ordinance and separate Sunday license. The fee for the Sunday license may not exceed $200. A county may issue a Sunday license in a town only if authorized to do so by the voters of the town.
  4. Off-Sale No off-sale may be made:
    1. On Sunday, except between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
    2. Before 8 a.m. or after 10 p.m. on Monday through Saturday
    3. On Thanksgiving Day
    4. After 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve through Christmas Day.
  5. A municipality may further limit the hours of sale of intoxicating liquor on sale.
  6. No licensee may sell intoxicating liquor after 1 a.m. unless the licensee has obtained a permit allowing for such sales.

​What other types of licenses are there?

  1. Combination Licenses (340A.406): cities of the fourth class or a statutory city of 10,000 or fewer population may issue an off-sale and on-sale intoxicating liquor license to the same licensee or in lieu of issuing separate licenses to the same licensee, may issue a combination on-sale and off-sale license.
  2. Municipal Licenses (340A.601): A city having a population of not more than 10,000 may own and operate a municipal liquor store which may sell intoxicating liquor, 3.2 beer, tobacco, ice, soft drinks and food for consumption on the premises.
  3. Temporary Licenses: 
    1. 3.2 beer: A club or charitable, religious or non-profit organization may be issued a temporary 3.2 beer license subject to the terms set by the issuing county or city. (340A.403, Subdivision 2)
    2. On-sale spirits, wine and beer: A club or charitable, religious or other non-profit organization in existence for at least three years may be issued a temporary license for the on-sale of intoxicating liquor in connection with a social event within the city/county sponsored by the licensee. The license may not be for more than four consecutive days. The license may provide that the licensee may contract for intoxicating liquor, catering services with the holder of a full year on-sale intoxicating liquor license holder. The licenses are subject to the terms, including a license fee, imposed by the issuing city/county. (340A.404, Subdivision 10)
  4. Small Brewer: The governing body of a municipality may issue to a brewer who manufactures fewer than 3,500 barrels of malt liquor in a year a temporary license for the on-sale of intoxicating liquor in connection with a social event within the municipality sponsored by the brewer. The terms and conditions specified for temporary licenses under paragraph (a) shall apply to a license issued under this paragraph, except that the requirements of section 340A.409, subdivisions 1 to 3a, shall apply to the license (340A.404 subdivision 10).
  5. Farm Winery: The governing body of a municipality may issue to a farm winery licensed under section 340A.315 a temporary license for the on-sale at a county fair located within the municipality of intoxicating liquor produced by the farm winery. The licenses are subject to the terms, including a license fee, imposed by the issuing municipality and all laws and ordinances governing the sale of intoxicating liquor not inconsistent with this section. Licenses under this subdivision are not valid unless first approved by the commissioner of public safety (340A.404 subdivision 10a).
  6. Off-sale licenses - wine auctions: A city may issue a temporary license for the off-sale of wine at an auction, authorizing the sale of only vintage wine of a brand and vintage that is not commonly being offered for sale by any wholesaler in Minnesota. The license may authorize the off-sale of wine for not more than three consecutive days provided not more than 600 cases are sold at auction. The licenses are subject to the terms imposed by the issuing city. (340A.405, Subdivision 4). 
  7. Caterer's Permit: The commissioner may issue a caterer's permit to a restaurant that holds an on-sale intoxicating liquor license issued by any municipality. The holder of a caterer's permit may sell intoxicating liquor as an incidental part of a food service that serves prepared meals at a place other than the premises for which the holder's on-sale intoxicating liquor license is issued. The permit holder shall notify either the police chief or the county sheriff, of where the event will take place.
  8. Wine Festival: A municipality with the approval of the commissioner may issue a temporary license to a bona fide association of owners and operators of wineries sponsoring an annual festival to showcase wines produced by members of the association. The commissioner may only approve one temporary license in a calendar year for each qualified association under this subdivision. The license issued under this subdivision authorizes the sale of table, sparkling, or fortified wines produced by the wineries at on-sale by the glass, provided that no more than two glasses per customer may be sold, and off-sale by the bottle, provided that no more than six bottles in total per customer may be sold. The license also authorizes the dispensing of free samples of the wines offered for sale within designated premises of the festival. A license issued under this subdivision is subject to all laws and ordinances governing the sale, possession, and consumption of table, sparkling, or fortified wines. For purposes of this subdivision, a "bona fide association of owners and operators of wineries" means an association of more than ten wineries that has been in existence for more than two years at the time of application for the temporary license.

 What can I sell in my liquor store?

 Under the provisions of Minnesota Statute 340A.412 subdivision 14 an exclusive liquor store may sell the following items:

  1. alcoholic beverages;
  2. tobacco products;
  3. ice;
  4. beverages, either liquid or powder, specifically designated for mixing with intoxicating liquor;
  5. soft drinks;
  6. liqueur-filled candies;
  7. food products that contain more than one-half of one percent alcohol by volume;
  8. cork extraction devices;
  9. books and videos on the use of alcoholic beverages;
  10. magazines and other publications published primarily for information and education on alcoholic beverages;
  11. multiple-use bags designed to carry purchased items;
  12. devices designed to ensure safe storage and monitoring of alcohol in the home, to prevent access by underage drinkers;
  13. home brewing equipment; and
  14. clothing marked with the specific name, brand, or identifying logo of the exclusive liquor store, and bearing no other name, brand, or identifying logo.
    1. An exclusive liquor store that has an on-sale or combination on-sale and off-sale license may sell food for consumption on the premises when authorized by the municipality issuing the license.
    2.  An exclusive liquor store may offer live or recorded entertainment.

 What is a wine license?

Wine licenses are governed under the authority of Minnesota Statutes 340A.404 subdivision 5.

  1. A municipality may issue an on-sale wine license to a restaurant that has at least 25 seats. This permits the sale of wine up to 24 percent alcohol.
  2. A municipality may by ordinance authorize a holder of an on-sale wine license, who is also licensed to sell 3.2 malt beverages at on-sale to sell strong beer at on-sale without an additional license.

  FAQ does not cover all information, please read Minnesota State Statues and Rules, or contact our office.