Drinking age in Germany
The legal drinking age in Germany is pretty lax. It is 16 for beer and wine, and other party drinks as well, but it is 18 for spirits. The possession or drinking of alcohol by minors is legal, but it is not allowed to sell minors any alcoholic beverages or to allow them to drink in public places if they’re under the given drinking age. Minors can drink fermented alcoholic beverages with an adult present in public places as low as 14 years old. Drinking in a private setting is legal too. The restrictions on beverages that have been distilled apply to mixed drinks that have them within them too.
Underage drinking in a private location is not illegal, and there is no specific restriction pertaining to it. That is allowable without anything stopping it. It also goes without saying that protection from physical and mental danger is part of a parents’ obligation. If drinking endangers the physical or mental harm of a child, it is against the law. In connection with the buying and consuming of alcohol at public places like bars and restaurants, Germany has three distinct drinking ages.
The three age are 14, 16, and 18. At 14, young people are allowed to drink and have fermented alcoholic drinks, like beer and wine, so long as they are with their parents. At 16, young people are allowed to drink and have fermented alcoholic drinks like beer and wine without a parent present. At 18, once people become adults, they can have unfettered access to distilled liquor. This is a time of great liberation for young people.
There was some moral panic about underage alcohol drinking in 2007 when a young 16-year-old boy died after drinking 52 shots of tequila, some of the German people started to demand that the drinking age go up. Most of the country’s politicians, however, were against the idea. They suggested that such kinds of use were already forbidden under existing laws, and they said those laws just needed to be enforce. In Germany, and in most of Europe as well, alcohol consumption by youth is allowed and a traditional part of the culture.
Prosecution will involve those vendors that sold alcohol to minors or those adults that did not stop underage drinking. Some salespeople violate the law at certain times. Minors can’t ever be prosecuted for drinking alcohol illegally. Most supermarkets and stores check young people for their IDs, however. It is not as strictly enforced in bars and restaurants. It can change by location though.
Some tests were performed in 2008 as to how many salespeople would sell alcohol to illegally to minors with trained police cadets that were 16 and 17 years old. In 77% of the cases, the alcohol was sold to minors illegally. A year later, 44% of salespeople sold alcohol to minors. Hundreds of fines were administered that ranged from 500 to 3000 Euros.
Underage alcohol consumption has a long way to go in Germany right now.