Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Lydia Martin
When the sun sets and the day winds down, the quest for a last-minute six-pack or a bottle of wine often leads us to the nearest gas station.
But as you approach those fluorescent-lit aisles, a common question arises: What time do gas stations stop selling alcohol?
With our guidance, you’d be confident to approach those late-night runs to gas stations and make the most of your summer nights.
When Do Gas Stations Stop Selling Alcohol?
Most gas stations would stop selling beer, wine, and liquor from midnight to around 2am. Selling liquors vary depending on state laws and local regulations, while some alcohol laws would require an additional license and permit from local municipalities.
“Despite the uniform drinking age across the country, each state still has its own unique liquor laws, including where you can buy alcohol and what times you’re allowed to buy it.” – Ann Schmidt, Journalist
Check local laws about liquor stores and gas stations to determine the precise schedule of their alcohol/liquor sales.
Gas Stations’ Alcohol Sales
General Operating Hours
From Monday to Thursday, most gas stations stop selling beer, wine, and liquor from around midnight until 2am.
The sale of alcohol at a nearby gas station would resume the following weekday, from as early as 4am to 8am.
However, remember that the sale hours of most gas stations follow the regulations governing their states and counties. So to ensure compliance, check local laws for precise sale hours of the nearby gas station.
As the workweek fades into the background, weekends provide different hours of sale of alcohol in gas stations.
Fridays and Saturdays frequently afford generous sale hours for selling beer, wine, and liquor.
For instance, in Texas, gas stations are allowed to sell beer, wine, and liquor until midnight on weekdays. But they may stop selling beer, wine, and liquor until 1am on Saturdays.
Similarly, in Wisconsin, gas stations may stop selling beer, wine, and liquor around 2am during weekdays, but on Fridays and Saturdays, they can continue until 2:30am.
Some states may stop selling beer, wine, and liquor like their weekday schedules on Sundays. But the sale of alcohol can start later than Mondays to Saturdays.
Gas stations may sell beer starting from 10am to noon on Sundays. The sale of alcohol restrictions during this particular day is based on religion and public health concerns.
While some gas stations maintain consistent closing hours throughout the week, others adopt a fluid approach, adjusting their schedules to cater to various occasions.
Gas stations usually close around 9pm to midnight, but a few exceptions offer a 24/7 service. After that closing time, gas stations will also stop selling beer, wines, and liquors.
Holidays like Christmas or the election period affect the closing time of gas stations, and so do their alcohol sales.
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A gas station will also announce to its customers that it will soon stop selling beer, wine, and liquor before the official closing time.
And although it is allowed to sell beer, wine, and liquors until 2am, some restrictions may apply to some gas stations.
You may need to buy your drinks at the nearest gas station before they stop selling beer, wine, and liquor.
Understanding Gas Stations’ Alcohol Selling Hour Restrictions
Local Municipality Regulations
The power to determine when to stop selling beer, wine, and liquor, often rests in the hands of local municipalities to cater to the residents’ unique preferences.
Selling beer, wine, and liquor at convenience stores, grocery stores, and gas stations varies by county. In Maryland, some counties prohibit Sunday beer sales, while others are controlled directly by Liquor Control Boards. So it’s hard to determine any particular schedule when to buy beer.
Federal & State Differences
While federal law typically sets the legal drinking age at 21, it falls to individual states to determine the specifics of alcohol sales hours.
Consequently, you can buy beer at the same gas station or local store chain later than some of its branches across state lines.
Dry State & Dry Counties
The concept of dry states and dry counties further underscores the diversity of different states and their state laws and own regulations.
In regions where different laws prohibit alcohol sales, a local store or gas station is not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages regardless of time.
Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee are a few exceptions to still having dry counties that restrict sales of liquors.
But do you know what states Walmart sells liquor to?
The cut-off time for beer sales may vary depending on the location of the gas stations. Convenience stores, gas stations, and grocery stores may stop selling beer later than other alcoholic beverages.
“When the gas station lights dim, the alcohol shelves rest for the night, bidding farewell to late-night sips.” – Liquor Laboratory
The hours of sale for wines and distilled spirits may cease earlier due to stricter county laws and their own regulations.
State & Location
Perhaps the most influential factor in determining the sale hours of alcohol at a gas station or local store is its location.
For instance, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Nevada (especially in Las Vegas) have some of the loosest alcohol laws.
On the other hand, Utah, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania are among the strictest state laws on consuming alcohol .
Different laws are also applied to gas stations near colleges, universities, and other institutions that can also restrict sales and alcoholic beverage consumption.
What are the latest gas stations that can sell alcohol?
Nevada gas stations are allowed to sell beer, wine, and liquor, any time of the day, seven days a week. Similar to Missouri, it does not prohibit consuming alcohol in public.
What time do gas stations stop selling beer on Saturday?
Gas stations stop selling beer about 30 minutes to two hours later on Saturdays compared to their weekday schedule. Nevertheless, they would usually sell beer starting from 10 to 12 noon the next day.
What time do gas stations stop selling liquors in New York?
Retailers and liquor stores in New York are not allowed to sell wines and liquors beyond midnight until 8am on weekdays and 9am on Sundays . Meanwhile, supermarkets and grocery stores are not allowed to sell beer beyond 3am.
On A Final Note
The alcohol sale hours of gas stations vary depending on state laws, county laws, and local regulations governing different states and counties.
Beer sales have the loosest restrictions compared to wines and distilled spirits.
Regarding the sale of alcohol, like beer, a gas station may have to obtain additional licenses or a particular permit to sell alcohol. And for buyers, the legal age for alcohol consumption is 21 years old.
It is wise to check local laws to ensure compliance, make informed decisions, and ensure your summer nights are enjoyable and responsible.