Walmart Alcohol Policy (Refusal Of Service, Shopping With Minor, Self-Checkout, + More)

Governments and retail corporations put in place a number of restrictions and requirements when it comes to the sale of different types of alcohol products to prevent misuse and addiction.

Since Walmart is known to sell a variety of alcohol brands at its stores nationwide, you may be wondering – what is Walmart’s alcohol policy? Here is what I’ve discovered through my research!

Walmart Alcohol Policy

Walmart only sells alcohol in-store and online to people above the age of 21. You can shop with a minor and buy alcohol at employee registers, self-checkout kiosks, and via order delivery, but must present a valid ID. Unopened alcohol can be returned in-store with the receipt and ID.

If you want to learn more about Walmart’s alcohol policy, whether shopping with minors is allowed, and what ID requirements you must complete purchasing alcohol from Walmart, keep on reading!

Can Walmart Refuse To Sell You Alcohol?

Walmart will refuse to sell alcohol to customers under the following circumstances:

  • If the customer appears to be intoxicated at the point of purchase
  • If it appears the customer is purchasing alcohol for an underage individual to consume
  • If the customer cannot prove that they are over the age of 21 via a valid photo ID
  • If the customer attempts to purchase alcohol outside the legal hours, as determined by state law

Walmart cannot refuse service to any customers based solely on race, religion, sexual orientation, or nationality.

Additionally, if you have ordered alcohol as part of your online grocery delivery, you will also need to follow these guidelines around appropriate ID checks, sobriety, and time limitations.

Can You Buy Alcohol With A Minor Present At Walmart?

Adults over the age of 21 can purchase alcohol at Walmart even with a minor present with them since this does not violate the law for selling to underage persons.

As long as Walmart can reasonably guarantee that the alcohol is not being purchased on behalf of the minor, and the buyer can prove they are over the age of 21 with a valid photo ID, the sale can be made.

However, if the minor person is closer to the legal drinking age, a Walmart employee may require ID from all parties present since the risk of the minor drinking the purchased alcohol is greater.

While some internal company policies are stricter than what state law requires, establishments selling age-prohibited goods do have the legal right to insist on proof of age for such purchases.

Can You Go Through The Self-Checkout With Alcohol At Walmart?

Whether or not you can go through self-checkout with alcohol at Walmart depends on the state regulations for where you live.

Although most areas will allow self-checkout for alcohol, some states such as California (2013) have banned the sale of alcohol in self-checkouts at Walmart.

However, states that do allow the sale of alcohol via self-checkouts will require you to wait at the kiosk until a Walmart employee comes over and verifies your ID to confirm the age requirement.

Do You Have To Show ID To Buy Alcohol At Walmart’s Self-Checkout?

Do You Have To Show ID For Alcohol For Walmart Grocery Delivery?

You have to show ID for all alcohol purchases, including at Walmart’s employee registers and self-checkout kiosks.

As each state tends to have different age thresholds for visual ID checks, you will be asked to produce an ID if you look under 35 or 40 years old.

For states that allow customers to purchase alcohol at self-checkout, you will have to show a valid photo ID for age verification to an employee before you are allowed to continue with the transaction.

The Walmart kiosk will not let you continue the payment process until your ID is verified.

Do You Have To Show ID To Buy Alcohol Via Walmart Grocery Delivery? allows customers to do their shopping remotely for in-store pickup or delivery straight to their door.

However, all customers purchasing alcohol from as a part of their order must have a valid photo ID to show when either picking up their order in-store or receiving the delivery.

What Can You Use As An ID To Purchase Alcohol At Walmart?

You can show any of the following types of valid ID to verify that you are above the legal age for buying alcohol products at Walmart:

  • Driver’s License
  • Military ID Card
  • Other government-issued photo ID that is recognized within your state
  • State-Issued Identification Card
  • Tribal-Jurisdiction ID Card
  • Immigration Card
  • Passport

What Is Walmart’s Return Policy For Alcohol?

You can return unopened alcohol products or tobacco items to Walmart with the original purchase receipt and a valid government-issued photo ID.

Additionally, you can only return alcohol products to the store where they were originally bought, and only by the original ID holder who made the purchase.

If you have ordered alcohol as part of an online delivery and wish to return these products, you will have to take the products to a local Walmart store.

You cannot initiate the refund through Walmart’s website or app as with other online purchases.

Note that alcohol products can only be returned if they are unopened and have not been tampered with.

If the product has sustained damage from the manufacturer (and not by you), alert Walmart’s customer service about this as the return paperwork may differ slightly from normal, unopened returns.

To learn more, you can see our related posts on if Walmart sells alcohol, if you can buy alcohol with a Walmart gift card, and 15 things you should know about Costco liquor.


Walmart’s alcohol policy is straightforward—customers cannot purchase alcohol if they are underage, have no acceptable proof of ID, or are buying it for a minor.

However, you can purchase alcohol at most locations’ self-checkouts, even if accompanied by a minor, but will have to produce a valid photo ID. Unopened alcohol returns are accepted in-store with receipt and ID.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

2 thoughts on “Walmart Alcohol Policy (Refusal Of Service, Shopping With Minor, Self-Checkout, + More)”

  1. I went to a Walmart in Springfield, MO with my son who is 20. I put some single serve frozen margarita pouches in my shopping cart. My son Nic usually unloads everything onto the checkout belt for me when we have alot..which we did. I was getting my ID out when the cashier asked if Nic had touched the margarita pouches. I said yes, he always put the stuff on the belt for me as he is in the front of the cart and I’m at the back of it. The cashier said he could not sell me the margarita pouches because Nic had touched them and he’s under age. I told the the cashier I was buying them for myself, not him, but he said it didnt matter..Nic had touched them so he couldn’t sell them to me. I told well..set them down and I will pick them up and put them on the belt myself. He refused and acted like I was trying to pull one over on them!! I find this just utterly ridiculous and offensive to my and Nic’s character!

  2. Barbara, I was trying to get a small bottle of something a few weeks before my daughter turned 21. They refused to sell it for the same reason – because she (out of habit) touched it while underage. I was not buying it for her. Even if I was, I am allowed to give my child a sip of alcohol in the privacy of my home. But I followed the rule because they have to draw the line somewhere.

    Fast forward a few months. My now 21-year-old wanted a case of wine coolers while she helped me with the shopping. We had our items in separate sections of the buggy. I did not touch nor did I make any attempts to pay for her alcohol. But the lady at the checkout refused to sell unless I would show my ID, too.

    I had to fuss about this one. My daughter was the one making the purchase. It’s on her if she gives it to somebody underage. I have difficulty shopping alone due to an injury when I was young. The idea that everybody has to show their ID if I or a person helping me shop buys alcohol feels like an invasion of privacy.

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