Most alcohol products websites often keep three dropdowns and force users to select the date, month and year. They then calculate the age, and redirect the user accordingly, which I believe is tedious.

Is there a rule that says you should ask for one's date of birth? Or is it because some may not understand the question-"are you of required legal drinking age" and they would be redirected to the site by mistake?

I find the second option much more effortless.

  • Does it also check this calendar selection vs. a user's IP I wonder? i.e. in the US a 20 year old wouldn't be allowed access but in most other countries they would be OK. Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 8:48
  • This is a Smashing Magazine article on this topic. Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 19:16

5 Answers 5


I think that your question holds the answer: it would be easier! Perhaps too easy. I think they have chosen a slow and less effective system so that young people won't just easily pop in on the website - at least that is what alcohol-websites tell themselves.

In this instance the lack of ease of use is a safeguard protecting them of too many accusations if some youth drinks too much Bacardi and dies. "Well we tried by making the website less accessible!"

  • yes, you have a point there. It makes sense. They have to make the website not easily accessible considering how it affects a person.
    – Rahul
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 10:07

In the US, alcohol advertising is regulated by state and federal guidelines, as well as industry standards for self-regulation. For example, the Distilled Spirits Council has a set of guidelines for responsible digital marketing. Here's what they say about age verification:

Age affirmation is a process or a mechanism by which users provide their full date of birth (month, day and year) and, when appropriate, country of residence to affirm they are of legal purchase age. Age affirmation mechanisms may vary depending upon available technology and examples could include, among other things, an age affirmation page, an email or instant messaging age affirmation, or the use of a site’s “registered user” database of users of legal purchase age.

Why this standard and not an "easier" method? If I had to speculate, it would be so that all advertisers would have a clear, obvious method for verifying age that would both meet legal standards and prevent less-responsible advertisers from trying to game the system.

If the age verification process were not crystal clear, and an underage drinker injured himself or others after visiting an alcohol company's website, that could open the advertiser up to legal liability. With a form that the user has to complete and submit, then the alcohol advertiser could argue that they have done their due diligence and met their legal and ethical responsibilities.


Because they feel like one is less likely to lie doing the more in depth version.

Another option could be that they dynamically change that based on the market their product is in or where your browser is.

However the most likely reason is that they don't have usability experts and they conform to the standard which is less than ideal


It's a fair way to get people to say their full birthday. So in the future you can segment them by age, congratulate them on their birthdays (and offer something) or know their zodiac sign for whatever purposes.

  • + This. More user data.
    – PhillipW
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 20:47

Actually it is what their legal department says "meets the requirements" for age verification.

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