Underage drinking refers to the consumption of beverage alcohol, defined as defined as a can or bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a wine cooler, a shot of liquor, or a mixed drink with liquor in it, by persons 20 years of age and younger.
Since 1988, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws that make it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase or publicly possess alcoholic beverages. While each state’s law varies and may contain exceptions (e.g., religious ceremonies) it is generally considered illegal for anyone under 21 to consume alcohol.