Details on proposal that would let 18-year-olds drink at Colorado bars, restaurants

Law idea would require parents to be present

Plan would let 18-year-olds drink in bars, restaurants

DENVER - A new law proposal would let 18-year-olds drink alcohol at bars and restaurants in Colorado with parental permission.

Republican Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, said he started thinking about the idea when he was out to dinner at a celebration with his 20-year-old daughter, and felt she should be able to have a glass of wine.

"You're old enough to vote, old enough to enter into contracts, and you're old enough to serve your country, to risk your life," Brophy said Monday. "But you're not old enough to buy a beer here in Colorado."

Parents in Colorado can currently serve alcohol to their own children in their own homes, and Brophy said he wants to expand that responsibility. Parents would have to purchase the liquor for their child at a bar or restaurant.

"It seems like a much smarter way for (young people) to learn about this perfectly legal product that can have some dangerous side effects," Brophy said. "I'd rather they learn that from their parents than their college roommate."

Under the proposal, parents wouldn't have to offer up a birth certificate to a waiter or bartender, just their ID and their child's ID. The server would have the final say on whether alcohol was served to the minor.

Greg Howard, the Pikes Peak chair for the Colorado Restaurant Association and owner of McCabes Tavern, said the law would be far too risky for business owners.

"If something were to happen to the underage person who was served alcohol, if they were to cause an accident of some sort, the liability would lie on the restaurant, not the parents," said Howard. "There's just way too much risk we feel the restaurant would have to take on."

The Colorado Legislature convenes on Wednesday. Brophy said he wants to introduce his bill some time this month.

Others states already have similar laws on the books. In Wisconsin, parents can legally buy booze for their own children regardless of age.

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