Drink Magazine

Beer Travels: Why is Colorado So Strict on Carding?

By Colorado Beer Girl @colobeergirl

It’s not often I am able to travel outside of Colorado. It seems that vacation time and money are always in short supply. But I definitely enjoy it when I get the chance to visit another city and fully immerse myself in their craft beer scene.

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I recently returned from a short (2.5 day) trip to Austin. I love Texas beer, so when I travel to Austin (one of my favorite cities!) I make a point to get to as many craft beer establishments as possible. While I was there, I drank at several different types of places: restaurants, breweries, beer bars, a dive bar, as well as purchasing beer from a bottle shop. I count 14 businesses in all, and out of these 14, how many carded me? One. And it was the dive bar with a doorman out front, carding everyone.

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This got me thinking about a couple of other cities I’ve visited in the last year: San Francisco and Boston, where I had the same experience as I did in Austin. It was fantastic! I didn’t have to dig into my purse, get out my wallet and pull out my id. It was noticeably different than here in Colorado, where I get carded every single time I order a drink , unless the bartender recognizes me. Now, I’d like to add that I am 39 years old and, while I’m often told I don’t look my age, it’s extremely obvious I am not under 21. So why is Colorado so strict on carding? I wish I knew.


I understand that folks in the service industry have to make sure they are not breaking any laws when serving alcohol. And I know there are plenty of times when it’s hard to tell a person’s approximate age. But is it really that difficult to tell the difference between someone in their mid-late 30′s and a 20 year old? Shouldn’t these folks simply use their best judgment when serving? Why is it that 99% of servers in other states/cities have no problem handing me a beer without checking my id? For all the archaic beer laws in Texas, they still win over Colorado when it comes to convenience of ordering a beer without any hassle.

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What’s my point in writing this? I guess it’s mainly to vent, as it gets annoying having to show id approximately 5-10 times a week, or more. But I’d also like to get some feedback if anyone has any inside knowledge on why this is. Or even just your opinions. I know I’m not the only one this happens to; it happens to all my friends, every time, and we’re all well into our 30′s.

A couple of true, prime examples of just how irritating getting carded at my age is:

  • I’m in a bar and have already ordered and drank a beer (after being carded) as well as started a tab. I go up to the bar to get another, and this time it’s a different bartender. I am asked yet again for my id!
  • I sit down in a restaurant and am not waited on right away. I get up to use the restroom and have my friend order my beer, and I leave my id at the table for the server to see. The server tells my friend she won’t pour/bring the beer until she sees me to compare my face with my id! As if she couldn’t do that when delivering my beverage.

Readers: please share your thoughts. Do you live in Colorado and get carded every time you drink? Have you visited Colorado and experienced this? I would love to hear from you. Thanks!

Beer travels: Why is Colorado so strict on carding?

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