Model Association Alcohol Service Policy

3 min

In an effort to minimize the potential liability of the ABC Association (the “Association”) and its members for injuries caused to third parties by individuals who consume alcohol[1] at Association-sponsored and related events, the following rules must be followed at all Association functions:[2]

  1. Association members may not directly purchase, supply, serve, or otherwise furnish other members or guests with alcohol at or in connection with Association functions. Instead, professional bartenders (unrelated to the Association or its members), such as hotel staff or catering company employees, must be retained to serve alcohol at Association functions.

  2. The bartender(s) retained to serve drinks must be provided with written instructions that they are not permitted to serve alcohol to any guest they believe (or should believe) is intoxicated.

  3. Reasonable efforts must be made to obtain the agreement of the hotel or catering company providing bartender service to indemnify and hold harmless the Association and its members for all liabilities arising from the hotel or catering company’s sale or service of alcohol to a guest.[3]

  4. Taxi cab service must be provided for visibly intoxicated guests, making sure they are provided with cab fare, if necessary.

  5. Self-service alcohol, such as unmonitored tables of alcohol or kegs of beer, is strictly prohibited.

  6. An adequate selection of nonalcoholic beverages must be provided for the bartender(s) to provide to guests who choose not to drink, or who are becoming intoxicated. In addition, the function hosts should set up self- service stations with ice, water and soda, so that guests can freshen their drinks without adding more alcohol.

  7. A sufficient quantity of food should be served to slow down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Food should be placed at the entrance to the function so that guests are encouraged to eat first, rather than consume alcohol on an empty stomach.

  8. Alcohol may be served for a reasonable time period only, not to exceed four hours. “Last call” must be given (and enforced) at least thirty (30) minutes before the end of the function. At such time, coffee, soda and dessert may be served.

  9. Assure that sufficient social host liquor liability insurance coverage exists for the function.

Any material breach of this policy by any Association member shall result in appropriate sanctions to be determined and enforced by the Association’s ____________________, in its sole discretion.

Any questions about this policy, its interpretation or enforcement should be directed to the Association’s ________________.

[1]  As used herein, the term “alcohol” is intended to include alcohol and any alcoholic beverages (e.g., wine, champagne, beer, mixed drinks).

[2]  As used herein, the term “function” is intended to include meetings, conferences and other events sponsored by the Association, as well as informal gatherings such as “hospitality suites” hosted by Association members in connection with Association-sponsored events.

[3]  Such an agreement could be worded as follows:

  • Hotel shall be responsible for exercising reasonable care in its service of alcohol to attendees at all functions that are catered or otherwise serviced by Hotel. Hotel also shall be responsible for adhering to federal, state and local laws regarding the sale and service of alcoholic beverages and shall not serve alcohol to attendees that either are noticeably intoxicated or are underage.

  • Hotel shall indemnify, defend and hold harmless Association, its directors, officers, employees, agents, and members from and against any and all losses, damages, claims, expenses and liabilities of any kind, including costs of defense thereof, caused by or arising from Hotel’s sale or service of alcoholic beverages. Hotel shall maintain sufficient commercial host liability insurance to meet its obligations under this Section (specify minimum insurance coverage scope and limits).