DISCLAIMER: This post does not constitute legal advice and is presented for information, education, or entertainment purposes. It is opinion and commentary, and merely attempts to review the alcohol beverage laws and their interpretation to allow you and yours to have the crunkest spring break eva. If you have questions, then please speak to your legal professional or the appropriate regulation authority.
Seems like a lot of people are on spring break this week and having a great time.
And we are too.
At least for the five minutes it took to go through our photo bank to find the picture above to make it seem like we were also on spring break and wishing we were.
But, that being said, it is probably as good a time as any to remind you that South Carolina has specific alcohol laws as they relate to Spring Break (sorta, not really since they apply all of the time). But regardless, here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re going to be vacationing in the Palmetto State this Spring (or ever):
1. No alcohol is allowed on any public beach. So, pro tip: find a rich friend who is staying on a private one and have them call the guardhouse to let you in.
2. South Carolina has open container laws, so you can’t take alcohol that you’re actively drinking off of a licensed premises or in a vehicle.
3. Liquor stores are closed on Sundays. They also close at 7 p.m. on Saturday night.
4. Beer pong, flip cup, and other drinking games aren’t legal at bars, so better to play at home.
5. Even though the state’s alcohol laws don’t speak to hard seltzers specifically, they are treated like beer because that’s what the federal government does with them and they are regulated accordingly. So, yes, there are laws when you’re drinking claws.
6. You can still purchase mini bottles (less than 50ml) at many bars and restaurants. If you haven’t visited here since 2006, then hey, free pour like in your state!
7. You can’t buy liquor at grocery stores. A very few have gotten licensed to sell liquor in a separate suite of the building. But you won’t be able to ring up your vodka and OJ at the same time. You’ll have to step outside to a different store and enter into two transactions. So, good news for those with their step counters on.
8. Out for the night? Cool. You can order a drink at a bar or restaurant from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday. On the weekend, it’s a little more murkier. On Saturdays, where legal and assuming where you’re imbibing has the appropriate licensing, you’re still on a 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. schedule (although technically, it's until midnight and then Sunday morning from midnight until 2 a.m. and then not again until 10 a.m). On Sundays, it’s probably 10 a.m. to midnight, but remember that some municipalities do not allow for Sunday sales. If you’re catching brunch, just remember you can’t get that Bloody Mary until 10 a.m. in the municipalities that allow it. Same for you kegs and eggers.
9. Going out on a boat? If watercraft is licensed for alcohol, then remember that means the boat only, and not the dock, lot, or buildings around it. It also has to stay in the state’s waters for that three hour tour.
10. Heading to a wedding or other kind of social event while you’re here? Salute! Hope you brought your own alcohol, because if the hosts are providing it, then it can't be a cash bar that doesn’t have a special event permit. And if their choices aren’t up to par, then if you have a case of Heady Topper in the cooler, you’ll need to keep that on ice, because the law says you can only drink alcohol that was bought from a South Carolina retailer. Save it for the after party.
Enjoy your stay!
Brook Bristow is a South Carolina-based lawyer at Bristow Beverage Law, who primarily counsels companies in the alcohol industry on business and employment laws, as well as on compliance, licensing, & intellectual property. You may reach him directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org