Alcoholic Beverage Service at Special Events – Are You Following the Law?

iStock_000010753481XSmallContrary to popular belief, Alcohol Awareness Cards ARE required for anyone selling or serving alcoholic beverages for any length of time, including special one-time events and the TAM® Card is the one you should have. We often receive calls asking if TAM Cards are needed for individuals who will be working to sell or serve alcoholic beverages for festivals, special weekend events, and similar situations. Even if you will only be working in this type of position for a short period of time, an Alcohol Awareness Card is still mandatory.

Taking it a step further, new and veteran TAM® Card holders alike should know that ID Checking, even at special events, is a huge responsibility. Room service, banquets, conventions, race tracks, quinceañeras, weddings, festivals, company picnics and celebrations, concession stands, and the list goes on! ID Checking at special events is absolutely imperative – are you following the letter of the law?

A recent news story out of Reno concerns ID checking at a local “wine walk” festival. An alarming 84% of businesses failed alcohol compliance checks during the event (KOLO). A common practice at many festivals and special events, such as this one, is to check for participant ID during event registration. The participant may receive a special arm band, badge, stamp, beverage glass, or other item that identifies them as a registered participant of legal drinking age. However, an event wristband does not relieve servers from verifying a customer is of age.

In the case of the recent Reno wine walk, purchase of a wristband and special wine glass was used to identify participants and allow them to sample wine from a variety of area restaurants. In cases such as this, it would be very easy for one individual of legal drinking age to purchase a wristband, but then give the wristband to an underage drinker. This scenario illustrates why it is important to ALWAYS check identification and should serve as a reminder that just because a participant may have a special event pass, that does not relieve the server from checking for photo ID.

The same holds true for special events such as weddings and other banquet events. Even if a wedding reception is “adults only”, a bartender should follow procedure to card anyone who appears to be 30 years of age or younger. It is better to be safe than sorry, and helps to keep underage guests safe.

For more information on TAM® Card Requirements, refer to our blog post, “Need a TAM® Card for the Busy Summer Season? A Rundown on Requirements.” Remember, remain vigilant, and always practice the Techniques of Alcohol Management in order to provide responsible beverage service. What other advice would you give regarding alcoholic beverage service during special events?

Resources

84% of Businesses Fail Underage Alcohol Compliance Check During Wine Walk – Kolo 8 News Now

© 2013 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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