Food & Drink

The Legal Drinking Age in Every Country

Mark Yocca / Supercall

We probably don’t have to tell you that different countries have vastly different approaches to alcohol. Different tastes, different styles and, perhaps most immediately obvious, different laws. Depending where you go in the world, the drinking age could be 15, 18, 20 or 21. In some countries, a legal drinking age could be nonexistent.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 65 percent of countries allow people 18 years or older to consume alcohol at a bar or restaurant. More than 55 percent of countries allow 18 year olds to buy alcohol at stores to consume off-premise. In the U.S., the drinking age is 21, a law the country shares with only five other countries (although some states like Illinois, Wisconsin and New Hampshire are trying to change that).

To find out how old you have to be to drink everywhere in the world, we looked at the drinking age in every country covered by the WHO’s 2014 global alcohol report. When the WHO didn’t have data, ages reported by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking were used. When we came across countries that differentiated between drinking on-premise and drinking off-premise, we opted for the lower number and added a note about the age difference.

Note: Some countries have multiple differing accounts on what the legal drinking age is. In those cases, the age listed by WHO is used.

No National Age Restrictions


Bangladesh
Benin
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada: Varies by province and territory from 18 to 19.
China
Comoros
Congo
Djibouti
Gabon: On-premise sales are restricted to people 18 and over.
Ghana
Guinea-Bissau
Haiti
India: Varies by state from no legal sales to 25 and over.
Indonesia: Off-premise sales are restricted to people 21 and over.
Lao People’s Democratic Republic: On-premise beer sales are restricted to people 18 and over.
Mali
Niue: On-premise sales are restricted to people 18 and over.
Rwanda: On-premise sales are restricted to people 18 and over.
Sao Tome and Principe
Sierra Leone
Syria
Timor-Leste
Togo

10


Antigua and Barbuda

15


Central African Republic: On-premise sales are restricted to people 21 and over.

16


Austria
Belgium: On- and off-premise sales of spirits are restricted to people 18 and over.
Denmark: On-premise sales are restricted to people 18 and over, as are off-premise sales of spirits.
Dominica
Germany: On- and off-premise sales of spirits are restricted to people 18 and over.
Grenada
Guyana: On-premise sales are restricted to people 18 and over.
Liechtenstein: On- and off-premise sales of spirits are restricted to people 18 and over.
Luxembourg
Netherlands: On- and off-premise sales of spirits are restricted to people 18 and over.
Portugal
Saint Lucia: Off-premise sales are restricted to people 18 and over.
Saint Vincent
San Marino
Spain
Switzerland: On- and off-premise sales of spirits are restricted to people 18 and over.

17


Cyprus
Malta

18


Albania
Algeria
Andorra
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Belarus
Belize
Bermuda
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Bulgaria
Cape Verde
Cayman Islands
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cuba
Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Fiji
Finland: On-premise spirits sales are restricted to people 20 and over.
France
French Polynesia
Gambia
Georgia
Greece
Guatemala
Honduras
Hungary
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Lithuania
Macedonia
Malaysia
Malawi
Mauritius
Mexico
Republic of Moldova
Monaco
Montenegro
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar
Namibia
Nepal
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Norway: On- and off-premise sales of spirits are restricted to people 20 and over.
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Romania
Russian Federation
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Senegal
Serbia
Seychelles
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Suriname
Swaziland
Sweden: Off-premise wine and spirits sales are restricted to people 20 and over.
Tajikistan
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Uganda
Ukraine
United Kingdom
United Republic of Tanzania
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Zambia
Zimbabwe

19


Republic of Korea

20


Iceland
Japan
Paraguay
Thailand
Uzbekistan

21


Equatorial Guinea
Kiribati
Marshall Islands
Micronesia
Mongolia
Oman
Palau
Pakistan
Sri Lanka
Solomon Islands
United Arab Emirates
United States

Illegal


Afghanistan
Bahrain
Brunei
Iran
Iraq
Kuwait
Libya
Maldives
Mauritania
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Sudan
Yemen