Model Alcohol Management Policies

A guide to responsible business practices for “Daily” licenses, Special Events & Large Venues.

Printable Document

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Each year the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) issues nearly 33,000 “Daily” licenses to non-profit organizations a year. The success of these events is vital to the organizations that sponsor them and to the community. The events provide entertainment and benefit many worthy causes.

However, the uncontrolled sale and service of alcoholic beverages at these events can create serious problems. These problems include intoxication, fights, vandalism, and underage drinking. These problems affect the organization, the alcohol seller/server and the general public. For example, if alcohol is served to a person under age 21, the server can face arrest, fines or community service work. In cases where the minor injuries himself or someone else, the server could face a jail term; and both the server and the organization could be sued civilly. A national survey of adults; showed over 80% of respondents were in favor of alcohol restrictions at concerts and stadiums.

These model policies are designed to help you prevent alcohol-related problems before they occur. The content in this pamphlet are suggestions and does not constitute legal advice by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

If you have any questions about the information in this pamphlet, call your local ABC District Office or contact the LEAD Program at:

NOTE: These model policies were developed in 1992 in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Division of Fairs and Expositions, HOME TEAM, a project of the Public Health Foundation of Los Angeles County, Inc., and members of the California fair industry’s Alcohol Advisory Committee.

Sample Alcohol Management Policies


It is the goal of event management to educate and provide entertainment while ensuring that patrons attending events have an enjoyable visit in a safe environment. The responsible management of alcohol is a key component of achieving this goal. It is the responsibility of every worker to participate in this effort as a team.

Therefore, we encourage every worker to carefully read the following alcohol policies and procedures. They are designed to assist all of us in preventing and reducing problems associated with alcohol use, and to create a safe environment for our patrons.



  • Persons intoxicated at the event may be (ejected/arrested/offered a safe ride). (We recommend this item be discussed with local law enforcement.)
  • Patrons (will/will not) receive a refund if ejected.

Sale of Alcoholic Beverages

  • All servers will be professionally trained in responsible beverage service, required to read our event’s policies and procedures and sign a Server Responsibility Statement as per the attached example.
  • (Event management/Law enforcement) reserves the right to stop or restrict alcohol sales at any time. (We recommend this item be discussed with local law enforcement.)
  • Servers must be at least 21 years of age to sell or serve alcohol.
  • Servers may not consume alcohol while on duty because alcohol impairs your ability to perform your duties.
  • Patrons must be at least 21 years old to be served alcohol.
  • All patrons must show bona fide (legally acceptable) I.D. An I.D. is legally acceptable if it: (We recommend this item be discussed with local law enforcement.)

    Examples of legally acceptable I.D.’s are:

    • Driver’s license
    • State-issued identification card
    • Military identification card
    • Passport

    Examples of unacceptable I.D.’s are:

    • Temporary driver’s licenses
    • Non-photo driver’s licenses
    • Expired driver’s licenses
    • Expired State-issued identification card
    • Receipts for license from DMV
    • Birth certificates
    • School or work I.D. cards
    • Social security card

    You may have a policy that is stricter than the law. (Based on the above, decide what will be acceptable I.D. at your event.)

  • If a patron shows a false I.D., ________ (please insert your own recommended procedure). Below is an example of a policy you may want to adapt for your event: (We recommend you discuss this with local law enforcement.)
    • A false I.D. is any altered, borrowed, stolen, counterfeit or forged I.D.
    • If a false I.D. is presented, immediately contact security.
    • Inform the patron that you are calling security and will temporarily hold the I.D. until security arrives.
    • If the patron chooses to leave without the I.D. before security arrives, the I.D. has become abandoned property.
    • If the patron remains until security arrives, security will make a determination on whether the I.D. is acceptable.
    • If it is determined that the I.D. is false, it will be confiscated by security, and the patron will be detained.

    NOTE: The law says licensees and their agents or employees may seize any I.D. that shows the patron to be under the age of 21 years or that is false. If you seize an I.D. you must give a receipt to the patron and turn the I.D. over to the local police or sheriff’s department within 24 hours of seizure. Seizing an I.D. does not create any civil or criminal liability.

  • Alcohol service will cease at _____ p.m. (We recommend one to two hours before the event closes.)
  • A limit of ______ beers per person, per purchase will be served. (We recommend a maximum of two beers per person, per purchase.)
  • Cups for beer will not exceed ______oz. (We recommend 14-16 oz.)
  • Cups for soft drinks will be a different color than the cups used for alcoholic beverages.
  • Patrons who are either impaired or obviously intoxicated will not be served.


(We recommend you discuss this entire section with local law enforcement.)

  • Minors caught drinking will (describe how event management and law enforcement will deal with minors in possession). An example of a policy you may want to adapt for your event is:
    • Underage drinkers or persons passing alcohol to underage patrons will be informed of the event’s policy and of the law.
    • The underage drinker will be asked to pour out his/her beer.
    • An incident report will be completed.
    • If a patron is observed passing alcohol to an underage patron, after having been informed of the event’s policies and the law, that person and the underage drinker will be ejected from the event and a field interview/report will be completed.
  • All workers and servers are to notify either their supervisor or security when they observe a person who is impaired or obviously intoxicated.
  • Event management will coordinate and communicate with local law enforcement to ensure that policies and procedures will be carried out.
  • Documentation by security, alcohol servers, medical personnel, etc. will be completed and submitted to event management for any actual (or potential) incidents. (A sample incident log is attached.)
  • Persons in possession of unlawful items (e.g., weapons, drugs, false I.D.’s) will be dealt with by security in the following way:

Public Awareness

  • Alcohol policies will be posted at all alcohol stands. Examples of policies that you may want to post are:
    • You must be 21 to purchase alcohol
    • You will be required to show proof of age to be served alcohol
    • There is a limit of (      ) beers per person, per purchase
    • Alcohol service will cease at (      ) p.m.
    • Intoxicated patrons will not be served

    (To ensure a comprehensive and consistent approach, you may want to make the above signs available to the vendors.)

  • Announcements regarding not drinking and driving will be made whenever possible during the event.
  • Any other press, public relations or signage efforts (posters, ride share information for impaired patrons, program inserts, etc.) should be described here.
  • If many of your attendees are non-English speakers, we recommend you make signage available in that language(s).

Server Responsibility Statement

Server: Read and Sign

I understand that our event is dedicated to the safe and responsible sale and service of alcohol.

I will not knowingly serve alcohol to an underage or obviously intoxicated person. I will report any signs of illegal activity to management.

I will not consume alcoholic beverages while on duty.

I have read and understand our policies. I understand that if I follow these policies, management will fully support my decisions.

I also recognize that my failure to follow these policies may result in negative consequences for myself and/or the non-profit organization.



Employee Signature



Incident Log

You may download a copy of form ABC-607 for logging incidents at your business.