What Are Your Legal Responsibilities When Serving Alcohol at a Private Event?

If you are planning to host a private event and serve alcohol, it is important to understand your legal responsibilities. In some cases, ignorance of your duties as the host could result in liability.

In the following post, we will discuss the regulations and legal issues regarding alcohol service at private events. 

Age and Alcohol

At any event, public or private, no one under the age of 21 is permitted to purchase alcohol. However, some of the laws regarding alcohol consumption by those who are under the age of 21 are complex.

For instance, any adult is legally permitted to work as an alcohol server. This includes adults aged 18 to 20.

Additionally, people of any age are legally permitted to consume alcohol in a residence if a parent or guardian is present. While minors are permitted to consume alcohol in these settings, they are prohibited from having “personal possession” of alcohol.

In almost all cases, when you’re hosting a private event, you should keep alcohol out of the hands of those who are under 21 years of age.

The Nature of the Private Event

The legal responsibilities of the hosts of a private event will differ based on the nature of the event. It will also depend on how alcohol is being served at the event.

Some types of events require the hosts to file for a liquor license while others do not. You will need to apply for a liquor license to serve alcohol at an event where:

  • Alcoholic drinks are being sold commercially
  • Alcoholic drinks are available and payment is required for attendance

Events that rely on donations are also subject to liquor licensing laws. However, not every private event requires a liquor license.

No liquor license is necessary at private events in which alcohol is available, but no donations or payments are required. To avoid liquor licensing requirements, no service or product can be sold as part of the event.

For instance, many wedding receptions feature alcoholic beverages. No liquor license is necessary in these cases because no money is changing hands and no donations are taken.

For the best legal representation in the Portland/Vancouver Metro area, reach out to the experts at the Harlan Law Firm. Our skilled legal specialists have handled cases of all types.

If you have questions regarding the legality of alcohol service at private events, do not hesitate to call our firm. Contact the Harlan Law Firm for your case evaluation today!