In the State of Wisconsin, all bartenders and servers of alcoholic beverages MUST acquire an ‘Operator’s License,’ otherwise known as a Bartender’s License. Thus, a Responsible Beverage Server Training Course is mandatory.
Although the license is mandatory on the state level, once you receive an operator’s license, it is only valid in the municipality where you received it. That means, if you would like to bartend in multiple municipalities, or you plan on moving from one to another, you will have to go through licensing twice.
This page was updated August 28, 2023.
Minimum Qualifications to Receive a Wisconsin Operator’s License
In order to qualify for a license to sell or serve alcohol in Wisconsin, you must meet the following requirements:
- Must be 18 years old
- Cannot have been convicted of a felony or be a “habitual law offender”
- Complete an approved responsible beverage server training course (explained below)
Responsible Beverage Server Training Courses for Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue has approved a handful of Responsible Beverage Server training course providers. These providers can be broken up into two categories: Classroom Instruction Providers and Online Instruction Providers.
As you will see below, many of the approved companies provide both classroom and online courses, making it easy to get licensed in whatever format you prefer.
Our suggestion: Go with the online option as it is quick, cheap, easy, and you are able to get licensed from the comfort of your home. We suggest going with the option from Serving Alcohol as they are the only approved Wisconsin alcohol training provider endorsed by the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association. Learn more here.
Online Instruction Providers
Once you finish your training from one of the above approved course providers, you will take your certificate to your municipality to apply for your finalized operator’s license.
Minimum age to sell or serve alcohol beverages in Wisconsin
The minimum age to sell or serve alcoholic beverages in Wisconsin is 18 years old.
How long is a bartender’s license good for in Wisconsin?
According to Wisconsin’s Department of Revenue’s Alcohol enforcement division, an operator’s license is good for either one or two years depending on your individual municipality.
Other Requirements That May Be Helpful:
- Driver’s License or Passport
- Good Communication Skills
- Be able to stand long periods of time
- Knowledge of basic drink recipes
For more information, please contact your local City Clerk’s office.