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Alcohol merchants
Frequently asked questions

Q: How much is the fine for a sale to minor violation?
A: The fine can be up to $1,000. The commission or judge assessing the penalty will consider how long the license has been issued, past violation history, age of the underage patron and other mitigating circumstances. Your license can also be suspended or revoked.

Q: How much are fines for other types of violations?
A: Fines for sale to an intoxicated person are up to $1,000, other violations run up to $300. Again, consideration is given to how long the merchant has had the license, past violation history, the nature and severity of the offense and other mitigating circumstances. License suspension or permanent revocation may be considered.

Q: What constitutes a valid identification when I make a sale of alcoholic liquor?
A: The ultimate responsibility of an alcohol transaction rests with the seller. If you are not convinced that the buyer is 21 or over, do not make the sale. The law will protect any merchant who makes a diligent effort to determine a buyer’s age. This means that review should include an examination of an official driver’s license, personal identification card, or a military identification card for every person that buy’s alcohol in your establishment.

Q: What do I do if a minor tries to purchase alcohol?
A: After identification review, if you are still not convinced that the buyer is 21 or over, don’t make the sale. Call the police and give the officer the person’s ID. The police may prosecute the person for attempting to buy alcohol when under the legal age.

Q: Must minors be out of my bar/restaurant by 9pm?
A: Nebraska state law dictates that a minor child under 17 years of age shall not be permitted to remain in a dance hall, saloon, bar room or any place where spirituous or intoxicating liquor, wine or beer….is sold unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. However, cities in Nebraska are allowed to impose more stringent regulations so every cities laws may vary.

Q: What are the age requirements for employees who sell or serve alcohol?
A: Nebraska law states that “A licensee shall not allow any person who is less than 18 years of age to sell or serve alcoholic liquor.”

Q: Are patrons allowed to bring their own alcoholic beverages onto Licensed premises?
A: Usually, no. Nebraska laws state that alcohol merchants can have in his or her establishment only those alcoholic beverages that have been purchased by the retail licensee from an authorized wholesale distributor. This effectively eliminates patrons from bringing onto premises their own beer, wine or spirits. There is an exception to this rule which allows hotel guests to bring in their own alcoholic beverages to the bedrooms or suites of a licensed hotel for consumption in these areas.

Q: Can a licensee give away alcoholic beverages in conjunction with a promotion?
A: Nebraska law prohibits this. It states, “A vendor shall not give away any alcoholic liquor of any kind or description at any time in connection with his or her business, except manufacturers for consumption on the premises only.”

Q: As a licensee, can I allow my friends to remain on the premises after the legal hour if no alcohol is served?
A: No. No. Nebraska law states that “Between the hours of 2:30 am and 12 noon on Sunday, or from 2:30 am and 7 am on any other day, an on premise licensee shall not allow the licensed premises to be occupied by anyone except the on premise licensee, the bona fide employees of the on premise licensee who are working, or bona fide contractors and employees thereof who are working…” There are certain circumstances where a licensee may be granted a specific purpose permit to remain open beyond the legal hour for such things as the sale of food.
Frequently asked questions
Tips for training your employees

Tactics to eliminate underage alcohol sales

Nebraska liquor laws pertaining to alcohol merchants

How to check IDs

Responsible alcohol merchant awards (RAMA)

RAMA nomination form

Upcoming Responsible Beverage Server Training (RBST) classes


Alcohol Resource Merchant Guide


Is supported in whole or part, by federal or state funds received from Region 1 Behavioral Health Authority, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Behavioral Health and Tobacco Free Nebraska Program as a result of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).


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