Experiences involving alcohol in Hawaii
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
I plan to include alcohol during my experience. Is there anything that I should consider?
Yes. If you plan to include alcohol during your Experience, we encourage you to please keep your safety, and that of your Guests, front of mind.
Safe Experiences do not involve providing alcohol to a Guest:
- Who is under 21;
- Who will be driving or operating any type of vehicle;
- Who looks or acts inebriated;
- Who has informed you that they are ill or has a drinking problem; or
- Until after any portion of an Experience involving physical activity (like yoga, swimming, hiking, biking) or activities that involve operating machinery has been completed.
In addition, if you are hosting an Experience in Honolulu, it is important to note that City and County of Honolulu does not allow the unpermitted consumption of alcohol in or on any street or sidewalk, public park, public playground or public off-street parking area.
Do I need a license if I sell alcohol to my guests at my home, at a private venue or outdoors?
To sell alcohol to your guests, you need a license under the Hawai‘i Intoxicating Liquor Law or you need to hire a caterer that is licensed by the Honolulu Liquor Control Commission. For a variety of reasons, permanent licenses are not generally available to sell alcohol at a private residence.
Selling alcohol includes situations where:
- You sell alcohol to your guest (by, for example, charging guests for a glass of wine that you serve yourself); or
- You sell alcohol to your guest indirectly by including a charge for the wine that you serve to your guest in your Experience price.
What if my Experience is BYOB and I want to allow guests to bring their own alcohol?
If your experience is in your private home and not open to the general public, hosting a BYOB experience likely does not require a license under the Hawai‘i Intoxicating Liquor Law.
What if I want to serve complimentary alcohol to guests?
As of the date when we posted this article, you may not need a license under the Hawai‘i Intoxicating Liquor Law if you are not selling alcohol to your guests. This means you may not need a license to serve alcohol to your guests at a party if the alcohol is free of charge, your guests can bring and consume their own alcohol, and you only allows guests pre-booked through the app.
This is a tricky area, and we encourage you to check with the Honolulu Liquor Commission office or speak with a lawyer to make sure that you are correctly interpreting and following the local law.
If you plan to sell alcohol directly for the service of alcohol itself or indirectly as included in your Experience price, you need a Special License from the Honolulu Liquor Commission. There are a number of steps that you need to complete before being approved for a Special License. The Honolulu Liquor Commission (with jurisdiction on the island of Oahu) has put together a Special Liquor License Application Checklist to walk you through the process. The Checklist identifies the required forms and offers the guidance on the application process.
If you are applying for a Special License in another county (i.e., Kauai, Maui or Hawai‘i County), you will need to review the Special License rules specific to those counties.
It’s important to note that City and County of Honolulu, Department of Parks and Recreation (“DPR”) does not allow the unpermitted consumption of alcohol in city parks. If you plan to host in a public park, you will need to obtain a permit from DPR and a Special License from the Honolulu Liquor Commission. DPR permits for private events in public parks are generally limited to designated special events throughout the year and are otherwise very difficult (if not impossible) to obtain.
What if my experience takes place at a bar?
You would be unlikely to run afoul of regulations if you take your guests to your favorite local bars that are licensed under the Hawai‘i Intoxicating Liquor Law. You can even pay for a first round of drinks there and include the cost in your Experience price.I brew my own beer or produce my own wine. What do I need to keep in mind?
The Hawai‘i Intoxicating Liquor Law allows for homebrewers to make beer or wine for their own personal or family use subject to certain quantity limits (100 gallons of beer/200 gallons of wine). However, a license is required to make beer and/or wine if it is intended for sale. Similarly, under federal law, homebrewers may make beer or wine for their own family or personal use, and not for sale, without a license.
You may teach guests how to brew beer or wine at your own home, but you shouldn’t charge for assisting guests in brewing their own batch. In addition, you may serve guests a complimentary taste of your home-brew as part of such an Experience. However, you may not sell guests any of your home-brewed beer or wine.
We encourage you to check with your Honolulu Liquor Commission (or the Kauai, Maui or Hawai‘i County liquor commissions if your Experience is on an outer island) or speak with a lawyer to make sure you are following the law.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).