Do any of the areas that have government imposed alcohol monopolies (e.g. Pennsylvania, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, The Faroe Islands, Finland, Norway, Sweden, etc.) provide exemptions for religious use?

  • By "government imposed alcohol monopolies" do you mean for example states or provinces where certain classes of alcohol may only be purchased from state or provincial alcohol authority or the like? Are you focusing on any particular country?
    – phoog
    Mar 8, 2016 at 0:14
  • @phoog see links in edit
    – Adám
    Mar 8, 2016 at 14:01
  • 3
    I'm really confused. A government monopoly means that only approved organizations or the government itself can sell alcohol. It certainly is not banned. What do you mean by exemptions?
    – Zizouz212
    Mar 8, 2016 at 23:20

1 Answer 1


UPDATE I have also heard of places in which there is a defacto "exemption" in which everyone seems to assume it "has always been there" for churches and synagogues. I have also come across situations in which churches and synagogues are allowed to purchase (such as from a State Store) for (resale to) their congregants for "sacramental use". You would have to ask in each individual jurisdiction (at a church or synagogue) what the rules are in that jurisdiction.

Original answer

When I visited Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, there was a religious exemption for sale of wine for "sacramental purposes" as long as the store was connected to a synagogue or church.

Thanks to @MonicaCellio for the reference to SACRAMENTAL WINE LICENSEES

§ 11.82. Sale and delivery.

(a) Sales of sacramental wine may be made only to an ordained priest, clergyman or rabbi in charge of a congregation, for use in the cathedral, church, synagogue or temple.

(b) Sales of sacramental wine may be made only to an ordained priest, clergyman or rabbi in charge of a congregation, for the uses of sustaining members of the congregation or members of the faith who attend religious services where religious rites require the use of sacramental wine in the home.

(c) The priest, clergyman or rabbi purchasing the wine shall furnish to the licensee the name and address of the member or family and the quantity of wine to be delivered. A sale or delivery may not occur until the names and addresses have been certified to the licensee.

(d) The sales are limited to 40 liters annually per family.

(e) Deliveries shall be made by the licensee, directly to the home address, as certified by the purchasing priest, clergyman or rabbi.


The provisions of this § 11.82 adopted October 10, 1952; amended September 29, 1978, effective September 30, 1978, 8 Pa.B. 2689. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (4213).

Alcohol laws of the United States discusses exemptions for underag drinking for religious purposes.

Religion and Prohibition

During Prohibition there were exemptions for sacramental wine and other religious uses of alcohol. The Eighteenth Amendment, which took effect in 1920, doesn't say anything about those exemptions. It just says that the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors within the United States is banned. It was federal legislation that exempted religious uses from the laws.

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