10 Tips To Safely Sell or Serve Alcohol At Your Event

Alcohol at any event can be a huge nightmare if you don’t properly prepare. Check out the guidelines below for both indoor and outdoor events.

beer on a table

1. Plan. Plan. Plan.

There is a lot that goes into the planning of an event that is serving or selling alcohol! It is important for you to consult the liquor license (see more about liquor license below) for your event as it will dictate what you can and cannot do at your event.

Some questions you should ask yourself in the planning process:

  • What will the hours of operation be?
  • How many serving stations are necessary?
  • Cash or drink tickets?
  • Beer and wine only, or a full bar?
  • Will there be alcohol-free zones?
  • Is there a plan in place for handling an intoxicated person?
  • Will security staff be on hand?
2. Get a Liquor License.

A license to sell/serve alcohol is often required by either the venue or the city in which the event is taking place. It is very important to check with your local police department or liquor control board for guidance.

3. Have All Servers and Bartenders Complete Alcohol Management Training.

There are many alcohol management training organizations that provide invaluable information about how to serve and sell alcohol responsibly. The type of training should include how to recognize and handle potential intoxicated guests, proper procedures to check identification and techniques to effectively intervene and prevent drunk driving.

If you are hiring a caterer or bartending service, you should require them to provide liquor liability insurance naming you as an additional insured.

4. Make Sure You Have The Proper Insurance Coverage For The Sale Or Serving Of Alcohol.

Most policies do not automatically provide coverage for some alcohol operations. Be sure to call us to verify that your event is properly covered.

5. Complete a Pre-Event Site Inspection.

Statistics show that trip & fall type claims increase at events with alcohol so although always a priority, finding and eliminating hazards that guests may trip and fall over is especially important.

6. Prevent Outside Alcohol From Entering Your Event

It’s hard enough preventing patrons from becoming intoxicated at your event. Make sure they aren’t already intoxicated when they arrive! Intoxicated persons should be denied entry and any outside alcohol should be confiscated.

7. Avoid Having An “Open Bar”.

The average person tends to drink more when alcohol is flowing freely than they would normally. If you must have an open bar, limit its duration, serve smaller portions (half-shots and low alcohol beer), and plan on closing the bar at least an hour prior to the conclusion of your event.

8. Station A Local Uniformed Police Officer At Your Event.

This tends to discourage patrons on their way to becoming intoxicated from trying to purchase additional drinks.

9. Discourage Drinking and Driving.

Encourage the use of designated drivers and other alternative transportation options such as taxicabs or ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. Remember, while your event may be a one time only affair, you have a large responsibility for making sure attendees get home safely.

10. Consider having an alcohol-free event.

Not always a popular suggestion but one that dramatically reduces risk and usually results in a more family-friendly experience!

Still have questions about selling or serving alcohol at your event? Call us at 1-800-567-2685