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Pennsylvania Laws Regarding Alcohol Service

The Pennsylvania Liquor Code makes it illegal for licensees, or their servants, agents, or employees, to serve alcoholic beverages to visibly intoxicated patrons and minors.

  • Violations of that law by licensees may result in fines from $1,000 to $5,000 (unless at the time of the sale, licensee was RAMP-certified and had not sold to VIPs or minors in the previous 4 years, then licensee's fine would be from $50 to $1,000); suspension or revocation of license; and mandated RAMP training.

If a licensee or employee sells to a visibly intoxicated person or minor:

  • He/she could be fined up to $5,000 and/or be imprisoned from 3 months to 1 year. Otherwise, any other person who violates any provision of Article IV of the Liquor Code commits a misdemeanor and could be fined from $100 to $500. 

Additionally, persons who sell or furnish alcohol to minors can also be prosecuted criminally under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code.

  • Anyone convicted of willfully and knowingly selling or furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor faces a minimum fine of $1,000 for the first offense and $2,500 for each subsequent offense, as well as a possible jail term of up to 1 year for each offense.

Dram Shop liability refers to the body of law governing the liability of taverns, liquor stores and other commercial establishments that serve alcoholic beverages.

  • Generally, dram shop laws establish the liability of establishments arising out of the sale of alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons or minors who subsequently cause death or injury to third-parties (those not having a relationship to the bar) as a result of alcohol-related car crashes and other accidents.

PA Happy Hour/Dram Shop Law Information

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
Phone: 113 Northwest Office Building
Harrisburg, PA 17124-0001

If you have questions about specific bartending laws in Pennsylvania, you are encouraged to direct your questions to the agency listed above.

Pennsylvania Happy Hour Law

Pennsylvania Dram Shop Law