When it comes to your next event, who is going to bring the alcohol? It may seem like a simple question, but the answer may determine how much planning and what procedures you have to put in place to manage your risk. In order to be in compliance with liquor laws and keep guests, volunteers and employees safe, consider carefully who you choose as your supplier of wine, beer and spirits.
Things to consider:
• Review local and state laws pertaining to the sale and service of alcohol. Depending on where you are located you may need to get a special license or permit to serve alcohol at your event.
• Check with the venue to make sure offering alcohol is permitted.
• Consider the ramifications of serving just beer & wine versus serving hard alcohol.
• Investigate whether you need liquor liability coverage, and if so, work with an insurance broker to obtain the proper coverage.
Once you have answers to the above questions, it’s time to decide who you want to provide the alcohol:
Private Individual or Client – If you are hosting a private event (an event that is limited to an invited guest list, all drinks are complimentary, and there is no entry admission) then a private individual, or host can provide the alcohol. However, it is strongly advised, that even at private events, you use a caterer with proper liquor liability insurance to serve the alcohol, so as to reduce your liability.
Planner, Venue or Caterer – In order for a planner, venue or caterer to supply alcohol for a public event in California, they need to have a Type 47 or 48 (full liquor license) or a Type 41 or 42 (beer & wine only license). In addition, they also must have a 58 License (Caterer’s Permit) which allows them to serve alcohol outside their licensed premises.
Wine Shop – A wine shop or liquor store that has a license known as an “off sale” license, is not permitted to cater alcoholic beverages and is not able to apply for California Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) event permits.
Beer Truck or Margarita Truck – a mobile bar must have a Type 68 California Liquor License and be an ABC licensed caterer in order to provide alcohol at an event.