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On May 1, 2023, two Republican Wisconsin lawmakers, Sen. Rob Stafsholt and Rep. Chanz Green, circulated a bill that would change the law to allow people as young as 14 to serve alcohol in bars and restaurants. Wisconsin’s legal drinking age is 21, mandated by federal law. Currently, only adults 18 and over can serve alcohol in Wisconsin.

As of Jan. 1, 2022, the state with the lowest legal age for serving alcohol was West Virginia, according to the latest data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

West Virginia’s minimum age for serving beer, wine or spirits was 16. The highest minimum age was 21 in Nevada and Utah. The minimum in most states, including Wisconsin, was 18.

According to the Associated Press, the bill’s co-sponsors said the current law “causes workforce issues due to an establishment’s underage employees only being able to do part of their job.”

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Alcohol Policy and Information System Minimum Ages for On-Premises Servers and Bartenders

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Alcohol Policy

Representative Robyn Vining (Twitter) Co-sponsorship of LRB-2025/1, relating to: service of alcohol beverages on retail licensed premises by underage persons

AP News Bill would allow 14-year-olds to serve alcohol in Wisconsin

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Tom Kertscher / Wisconsin WatchFact Checker

Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for PolitiFact and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.