Legality of having alcohol on site

Hey Everyone,

Quick question for those of you with a little more experience with the law. I know lots of coworking offices will stock the fridge with beer or have a keg on site, but I’m trying to figure out if this is something that’s actually legal to do or if it’s just a law that isn’t really enforced. My understanding is that it’s legal as long as anyone who’s over 21 could walk in off the street and ask for a beer. Is that correct?

1- you absolutely cannot SELL alcohol without a license

2 - serving alcohol to minors is generally illegal as well

There’s obviously edge cases, like when a coworking space is connected to a university or other public/semi-public institution. More than anything, though, check your local laws and/or consult a local attorney :slight_smile:

-Alex

···

The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.

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On Feb 25, 2015, 10:24:50 AM, Jensen Yancey [email protected] wrote:


Hey Everyone,

Quick question for those of you with a little more experience with the law. I know lots of coworking offices will stock the fridge with beer or have a keg on site, but I’m trying to figure out if this is something that’s actually legal to do or if it’s just a law that isn’t really enforced. My understanding is that it’s legal as long as anyone who’s over 21 could walk in off the street and ask for a beer. Is that correct?


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Exact laws vary based on where you are but generally (at least in the US and true most other places):

It depends on your local jurisdiction as to whether that is legal or not. Your insurance carrier will no doubt have something to say as well.

···

On Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 10:24 AM, Jensen Yancey [email protected] wrote:

Hey Everyone,

Quick question for those of you with a little more experience with the law. I know lots of coworking offices will stock the fridge with beer or have a keg on site, but I’m trying to figure out if this is something that’s actually legal to do or if it’s just a law that isn’t really enforced. My understanding is that it’s legal as long as anyone who’s over 21 could walk in off the street and ask for a beer. Is that correct?

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


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twb
member, Workantile
@twbrandt

The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.

Join the list: http://coworkingweekly.com

Listen to the podcast: http://dangerouslyawesome.com/podcast

···

On Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 10:24 AM, Jensen Yancey [email protected] wrote:

Hey Everyone,

Quick question for those of you with a little more experience with the law. I know lots of coworking offices will stock the fridge with beer or have a keg on site, but I’m trying to figure out if this is something that’s actually legal to do or if it’s just a law that isn’t really enforced. My understanding is that it’s legal as long as anyone who’s over 21 could walk in off the street and ask for a beer. Is that correct?


Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].
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twb
member, Workantile
@twbrandt

We went though this at the HIVE. It’s more an issue of your local liability rules. Where we live, if you serve someone alcohol, you’re partially responsible for their actions afterwards.

For example, there was a couple here that went to a restaurant, had a few drinks, went to a bar, had a few more drinks then went to a different bar and had three more drinks. They drove drunk afterwards and caused a major accident causing significant property damage. They successfully sued all three establishments for $1 million each for serving them and not ensuring that they were not driving. I’m not saying these individuals are not complete douce bags but I tell this story to illustrate that the liability lies partially with the person serving alcohol.

So, in the case of self - serve alcohol, you could get in a lot of trouble AND you have no way of validating how much they had. Eg. Someone could leave the coworking space with the self serve keg (we used to have one before I started running the place) without actually having touched any booze, go drink their face off at a bar, do something similar to the couple I mentioned above and then come after the coworking space saying that you guys served them alcohol without checking to make sure they were okay to drive.

They don’t need to prove that they drank at your space - it’s your word against theirs because you’re not controlling their access to alcohol.

In our jurisdiction, the way we get around this is BYOB. If someone serves themselves alcohol and does something stupid, no one is liable except themselves.

Hope that helps. We did a lot of research into this because we were thinking about getting a beer vending machine.

···

Aaron Cruikshank

Principal, CRUIKSHANK

Phone: 778.908.4560

email: [email protected]

web: cruikshank.me

twitter: @cruikshank

book a meeting: doodle.com/cruikshank

linkedin: linkedin.com/in/cruikshank

On Feb 25, 2015 7:24 AM, “Jensen Yancey” [email protected] wrote:

Hey Everyone,

Quick question for those of you with a little more experience with the law. I know lots of coworking offices will stock the fridge with beer or have a keg on site, but I’m trying to figure out if this is something that’s actually legal to do or if it’s just a law that isn’t really enforced. My understanding is that it’s legal as long as anyone who’s over 21 could walk in off the street and ask for a beer. Is that correct?

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

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One of the issues we ran into involves when money is involved. It appears, at least as far as our insurance company is concerned, that providing alcohol to members is covered in our policy.

On the other hand, the liquor control board had issues with us having a birthday party, complimentary drinks and a ticket price that was going to a local charity. Once any sort of monetary charge was involved (and I’m not sure membership fees would be excluded from this. Check with a lawyer) and providing alcohol, a liquor license was required or I was going to be charged with a felony. The legal workarounds were: 1) BYOB or 2) have the charity pay $10 to get an event liquor license. Now I know for next time.

Our members stepped up and carried “our” beer and wine around the block, then returned with “their” BYOB drinks they happily shared with others. Still, not a scare I want to have again.

···

On Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 10:33 AM, Aaron Cruikshank [email protected] wrote:

We went though this at the HIVE. It’s more an issue of your local liability rules. Where we live, if you serve someone alcohol, you’re partially responsible for their actions afterwards.

For example, there was a couple here that went to a restaurant, had a few drinks, went to a bar, had a few more drinks then went to a different bar and had three more drinks. They drove drunk afterwards and caused a major accident causing significant property damage. They successfully sued all three establishments for $1 million each for serving them and not ensuring that they were not driving. I’m not saying these individuals are not complete douce bags but I tell this story to illustrate that the liability lies partially with the person serving alcohol.

So, in the case of self - serve alcohol, you could get in a lot of trouble AND you have no way of validating how much they had. Eg. Someone could leave the coworking space with the self serve keg (we used to have one before I started running the place) without actually having touched any booze, go drink their face off at a bar, do something similar to the couple I mentioned above and then come after the coworking space saying that you guys served them alcohol without checking to make sure they were okay to drive.

They don’t need to prove that they drank at your space - it’s your word against theirs because you’re not controlling their access to alcohol.

In our jurisdiction, the way we get around this is BYOB. If someone serves themselves alcohol and does something stupid, no one is liable except themselves.

Hope that helps. We did a lot of research into this because we were thinking about getting a beer vending machine.


Aaron Cruikshank

Principal, CRUIKSHANK

Phone: 778.908.4560

email: [email protected]

web: cruikshank.me

twitter: @cruikshank

book a meeting: doodle.com/cruikshank

linkedin: linkedin.com/in/cruikshank

On Feb 25, 2015 7:24 AM, “Jensen Yancey” [email protected] wrote:

Hey Everyone,

Quick question for those of you with a little more experience with the law. I know lots of coworking offices will stock the fridge with beer or have a keg on site, but I’m trying to figure out if this is something that’s actually legal to do or if it’s just a law that isn’t really enforced. My understanding is that it’s legal as long as anyone who’s over 21 could walk in off the street and ask for a beer. Is that correct?

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

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Glen Ferguson

Cowork Frederick

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Frederick, MD 21701-5630

+1 (301) 732-5165

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@CoworkFrederick