Missouri kegs must have tags

Wednesday, June 30, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:36 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — Just in time for Fourth of July celebrations, a new state law is on tap that requires kegs to be registered to their buyers.

Authorities are hoping the law, which takes effect Thursday, will make underage drinking a bit harder.

The legislation passed in May 2003 along with a range of issues, including allowing earlier alcohol sales on Sunday, and most of it took effect last year. But the provision on keg registration is taking effect at the start of the state’s fiscal year.

The new law requires retailers to attach a tag to each keg sold containing at least four gallons of beer or other liquor, allowing law enforcement to trace it back to the buyer. The store must keep records for at least three months with the buyer’s name, address and birth date.

If people return the keg to the store with the tag removed, they lose their deposit.

The idea is that if someone bought a keg and supplied it to those younger than 21, and the party was broken up or someone got hurt driving home, law enforcement could identify who provided the alcohol and potentially pursue charges.

Several local governments have adopted their own keg registration rules, and David Overfelt, a lobbyist for the Missouri Retailers Association, said one statewide policy would be simpler.

In all, 26 states and the District of Columbia have keg registration laws, the National Conference of State Legislatures said, but it had no research on how effective they are.

In Missouri, the keg registration records on file can only be accessed by authorities, not by the public or alcohol awareness groups, state officials said.

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