Have you enjoyed a non-alcoholic beer occasionally? Do you notice any difference in taste? Or not enough to keep you from drinking the non-alcoholic version?

After hearing, recently, that a popular actress lets her kids occasionally sip on a non-alcoholic beer, I was wondering if that was a legal thing or just one of those "you can do it because you are doing it with your parents" things.

Regardless of where anyone personally stands on the issue, here is what New York State has to say about it. And yes, no surprise, they do have something to say about it. Plus, there might be a little confusion on the part of a retailer too, so be patient with them.

Who can legally purchase non-alcoholic beer in New York State?

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This is one of those instances where retailers could be more cautious than they need to so don't blast them for trying to protect their liquor license. Who can legally purchase non-alcoholic beer?

Well, this is one where you actually have to look at the alcohol percentage on the beer. Yes, most (not all) still have 0.5% Alcohol by Volume (ABV). There are a few (more and more) that truly have 0% ABV. If you want to purchase one that has a 0.5% ABV, you will be carded and limited to purchasing it only if you are over 21 in the State of NY. If it is 0.0% ABV, you can be any age to purchase it, however, retailers might say no, come back when you are 21 to protect themselves.

Yes, New Jersey has a different law, and also yes, Kombuchas have on average a .5% ABV, but those are not regulated. So that's the who can buy, now who can drink it?

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READ MORE: What does the open container law mean in NYS? 

Who can drink those non-alcoholic beers in New York State?

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So now you know more about the ABV restrictions, and that also follows the "who can drink it" in New York State. If the non-alcoholic beer has the 0.5% it is limited to those over 21 years of age. 0.0% then anyone can drink it. Can you legally drink the 0.0% non-alcoholic beer and drive a car at the same time? That is a question for another time.

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