I just received a supply of Member's Mark Beer Cheese from Saint Mary's Foodbank in Phoenix, Arizona USA, and I am only 20 years of age. The ingredient label confirms that Beer Cheese contains beer.

Is it legal to distribute foods that contain alcohol to people under the legal drinking age?

  • Typically, much of the alcohol is boiled or evaporated out of foods made with beer or other alcoholic ingredients leaving mostly the flavorings other than alcohol in the product, although liquor filled truffles and certain kinds of liquor soaked desserts do have a significant alcohol content.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 9:29
  • @ohwilleke the product is uncooked. You have to cook it yourself.
    – user5525
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 12:31

2 Answers 2


Arizona law operates in terms of "spirituous liquor", which is defined as containing more than 0.5% alcohol by volume. You'd have to send the cheese to a lab to determine the actual alcohol content, but it is likely that the product has less than the threshold amount of alcohol. It is not clear why vanilla extract is not classified as a spirituous liquor, since it satisfies the definition (as a mixture of alcohol with another substance, and it is indeed capable of inducing intoxication).

  • I see. So, they are legally protected? Not interested in a lawsuit with them, but someone else they distributed the beer cheese to may be.
    – user5525
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 3:12
  • I wouldn't be surprised if there was a regulation or an agency ruling that creates an exception for spice extracts not explicitly apparent on the face of the statute. Similarly, there is almost surely an exception for cooking wines and an exception for cough medicines.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 9:32
  • @ohwilleke - I had to look this up. Of course, the government provides amusing (and detailed) answers.
    – feetwet
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 13:47
  • @ohwilleke cooking wine in fact exists to escape regulation as an alcoholic beverage. Its salt content renders it unfit to drink (never mind the quality of the wine itself), allowing it to be sold.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 16:46
  • The question though is why AZ law cannot be more restrictive. Federal law states prohibitions and doesn't grant rights, so supremacy shouldn't be an issue. I theorize that AZ could require ID on vanilla sales if it wants, and it just doesn't want. And vanilla extract intoxication is a minor meme.
    – user6726
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 17:24

Restrictions on the sale, consumption, and possession of alcoholic beverages do not apply to cheese because cheese is not a beverage.

  • Beer Cheese is a dip. It is made with cheese and beer, hence the name.
    – user5525
    Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 1:03

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