Did You Know Minors Under 21 Can Legally Drink In Illinois?
You gotta love random laws and especially the weird loopholes and Illinois definitely has one.
For a lot of us, turning 21 means a big boozy celebration as you're now legal to drink. I went to Margaritaville party for mine. For the first few years of the "officially legal" privilege, you're excited to be carded at the bars (then you get old and it becomes a compliment if it even happens at all).
According to the CDC, the minimum legal drinking age is 21. The age to buy alcohol is 21. We all know this and likely we had a drink at some point before we were 21.
In Illinois, you still have to be 21 to buy booze. There are weird laws everywhere and there's one in Illinois that has definitely found a loophole in this system.
The Underage Drinking Penalties In Illinois
Before we get into the loophole that makes it legal, there are Illinois laws in place that could slap you with a misdemeanor if you're caught trying to buy alcohol with a fake ID, even just having booze if you're underage, and also drinking it.
Underage drinking offenses could be a Class A misdemeanor. According to Illinois.gov, that could come with a year in jail and fines ranging from $500-$2,500.
The Loophole In The Law
According to Stephen Brundage Law, people over 18 but under 21 CAN drink if they are in CULINARY SCHOOL.
Mind you, the law says that the students can't get smashed from the booze ("imbibed" as the state calls it) but a student can try it, just to get a vibe of the flavor pairing it has with a dish. The law firm says it this way:
If you are older than 18 but younger than 21, you can taste, but not imbibe, alcohol if you are a student attending a scheduled course and under the supervision of an instructor who is older than 21 during an educational program. The program, though, must be operated by an accredited school by the Department of Education or has state approval by the Board of Higher Education.
To clarify, the State of Illinois law says that a student can taste alcohol up to six times per class but no more and the alcohol has to stay with the instructor when the class ends.
That applies not only to culinary school but to young people going into food service, fermentation science, or restaurant programs where they will be serving alcohol to customers. Again though, all of these have to be state-approved.