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State Regulations for Alcohol Sale Hours

State Regulations for Wisconsin Alcohol Sale Hours

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Having a beer or a glass of wine can be a fun and relaxing way for adults to socialize. But for business owners, servers, or sellers of alcohol, it's important to know exactly when it's legal to sell alcoholic drinks in the state of Wisconsin.

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Hours of Alcohol Beverage Sales

Depending on your type of business, you may face different requirements for alcohol sales — such as when you're allowed to sell or serve to customers. It's important to understand what type of liquor license you have, since the rules can vary. Selling alcohol after your licensed hours could result in costly fines, jail time, and suspension or revocation of your liquor license.

Closing Hours

Wisconsin law requires that customers exit a place of business that serves alcohol by the closing hour. These closing hours are based on the type of Wisconsin liquor license your business holds:

  • "Class A" License (Beer) — No sales allowed between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  • "Class A" License (Intoxicating Liquor Including Wine) – No sales allowed between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  • Class "B" , "Class B", or "Class C" License – Closing hours, no alcohol sales allowed:
    • 2:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. Monday through Friday
    • 2:30 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
    • 3:30 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. Second Sunday in March
    • Businesses with a "wine only" license (i.e. wineries) may not sell alcohol between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.

Certain establishments – such as hotels, restaurants, bowling allies, etc. – that offer goods and services other than alcohol sales as their primary business may remain open after alcohol selling hours, as long as they stop serving or selling at the required times. In addition, businesses with Class "B" licenses may not sell packaged alcoholic beverages between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.

It's very common for bars and nightclubs to turn up their lights to let customers know it's time for the drinks to stop flowing. Providing customers with a "last call" and alerting them of your closing hours are excellent ways for business owners or employees to ensure patrons are out the door at the required time. Once closed, only employees who are actively working on shop business can remain on the premises (cleaning, counting cash, closing out the books, etc.).

Daylight Savings Time

Things can get tricky when the time changes. Wisconsin law indicates that daylight savings time starts the second Sunday in March at 2:00 a.m. and concludes on the first Sunday in November at 2:00 a.m. So, while bars can close at 3:30 a.m. on the second Sunday in March to accommodate for daylight savings time, they will close at 2:30 a.m. on the first Sunday in November when the clocks turn back to Central Standard Time.

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Responsible Beverage Server Training

A place of business applying for or renewing a liquor license in Wisconsin will be required to complete a state-approved Responsible Beverage Server Training Course, like the one offered by SellerServer.com. In addition, anyone who plans to sell or serve alcohol (bartenders, wait staff, host/hostess, restaurant manager, sales clerk, etc.) will also be expected to complete a server training course. Once you've completed a course and gotten your certificate, it will be good for 2 years.