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View Full Version : Over Served Policy



Dailybrewz
02-21-2015, 07:08 AM
I am working on opening a brewery and was wondering what types of policies are out there to handle guests that become too drunk, or guests that want to order another 7.9 ABV when you are sure that is not a good idea.

jebzter
02-21-2015, 09:22 AM
The law here in CA requires me to cut off any person visibly intoxicated, and if they leave and get in a car accident, we can be liable for damages. Its crazy, but if they are drunk, serve them water and call a cab.

Bainbridge
02-21-2015, 11:41 AM
I don't see how it's particularly 'crazy'. I mean, the buck has to stop somewhere. Overserved asshat, car crash, injuries and fatalities. Would you, as a society, rather have it end with the irresponsible idiot who is a) broke and unable to pay any legal judgements and b) also dead now and unable to face punishment? Or is it better to hold licensees responsible as well, with the idea that, as the first line of defense, they can help prevent these sorts of accidents from happening in the first place? Be nice to live in a world of perfect personal responsibility, but on the whole we are better off spreading the risk. Puts a burden on us sure, but I don't think it's an unacceptable one.

Here in WA it is illegal to serve someone who is "apparently intoxicated". It's illegal to sell them alcohol, or allow them to consume or possess it. So that means that halfway through that pint of Triple IPA you might have to take it away from them. Which is always 'fun'. And for that reason our house policy is anything over 8% comes in 12oz schooners, rare nuclear things come in 5oz tasters. And we don't let people buy more than one beer for themselves at a time, and we don't serve pitchers. That way you've got to come check in with the bar staff if you want another pint. And anyone pounding double IPAs or Tripels gets a very close eye kept on them indeed. Sucks particularly when you have to cut off your more irresponsible regulars or Mug Club members, but sometimes you do. Some people get silly and get a cab. Some people get fighty and get the cops. And some people get 86'd from the place permanently. Have to be no nonsense about it.

Get yourself a daily Incident Log. Part of the end of every shift is either writing "No Incidents", or if something noteworthy happened, writing that down. "So-and-so cut off after one pint, left peacefully with this person" or "So and so came in, apparently intoxicated, refused him service, called taxi" or "So and so came in, appeared fine, served two pints, took a turn at the end of second pint. Removed glass. Refused further service after falling over and trying to make love to a bar stool. Proceeded to (poorly) try and fight Person B. Told 86'd forever, all staff notified." That way, if they leave, drink more, get in an accident, commit some property crime on you, or nearby, or assault someone or something, you have a recollection of them, and evidence, that you didn't overserve them. Comes in handy sometimes for other things too. "Approx 7:45 - Sketchy mo-fo came in, scratchy and eyes dilated, asked for free beer, was denied, got irate, loitered for half an hour, then left. Later, empty bottle of cheap wine found in bathroom. Heard car alarms from neighboring parking lot. Mullet, red shirt, bandaged hand, facial tattoo of a My Little Pony, friend called him "Cletus". Cops called, statement give to Officer X." - Based on a true story.

Plus you can use it to notify staff and management of various problems. Like "Upstairs toilet clogged. AGAIN." or "Tap #6 is really foamy."

Contact your state control board, they'll undoubtedly have some specific guidance to offer too.

ChesterBrew
02-21-2015, 01:19 PM
When I did tours and tasting room duties at a brewery in Delaware, I was required to take mandatory server training, which included policies involving intoxicated patrons. Here in Maryland, it's not mandatory that all tasting room employees be required to take it, only that someone on-premises have done so. I disagree with this notion and will require all of my employees to undergo state training.

In both states, you are not -- in any way, shape or form -- to serve patrons you consider to be intoxicated, either by visible signs (flushed face, slurring, etc.) or by their consumption of alcohol with a given period of time. And, here in MD, we are not required to serve anyone that has an "under 21" license format (vertical) even if the birthdate shows they are over 21 but haven't updated their license (to a horizontal format.)

By the way, dram shop laws in CA were recently changed... here's more info:
http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/california-dram-shop-laws.html

Bainbridge
02-22-2015, 09:44 AM
Huh. EVERYONE who serves has to have a MAST (Mandatory Alcohol Server Training) permit in WA. Love the idiocyncracies. Like how servers can drink on the job in a few states, but are outright banned in most.

TGTimm
02-22-2015, 02:26 PM
I have no idea what the laws are in MI, but here in Oregon, all servers must be trained and have a certificate of training on file at the pub, and must show that they can recognize an intoxicated customer and NOT SERVE THEM. The Incident Log is also legally mandated.

It's not just a good idea, it's the law....

In Oregon, the pub/bar/tavern/restaurant/etc. and the server can be held responsible, both for legal and civil purposes, if an intoxicated customer (or anyone else) does any damage or breaks any laws after being over-served.

I've been to many pubs and brewhouses that limit the higher test beers to single, often small servings.

jebzter
02-23-2015, 02:58 PM
I don't see how it's particularly 'crazy'. I mean, the buck has to stop somewhere. Overserved asshat, car crash, injuries and fatalities. Would you, as a society, rather have it end with the irresponsible idiot who is a) broke and unable to pay any legal judgements and b) also dead now and unable to face punishment? Or is it better to hold licensees responsible as well, with the idea that, as the first line of defense, they can help prevent these sorts of accidents from happening in the first place? Be nice to live in a world of perfect personal responsibility, but on the whole we are better off spreading the risk. Puts a burden on us sure, but I don't think it's an unacceptable one.

Here in WA it is illegal to serve someone who is "apparently intoxicated". It's illegal to sell them alcohol, or allow them to consume or possess it. So that means that halfway through that pint of Triple IPA you might have to take it away from them. Which is always 'fun'. And for that reason our house policy is anything over 8% comes in 12oz schooners, rare nuclear things come in 5oz tasters. And we don't let people buy more than one beer for themselves at a time, and we don't serve pitchers. That way you've got to come check in with the bar staff if you want another pint. And anyone pounding double IPAs or Tripels gets a very close eye kept on them indeed. Sucks particularly when you have to cut off your more irresponsible regulars or Mug Club members, but sometimes you do. Some people get silly and get a cab. Some people get fighty and get the cops. And some people get 86'd from the place permanently. Have to be no nonsense about it.

Get yourself a daily Incident Log. Part of the end of every shift is either writing "No Incidents", or if something noteworthy happened, writing that down. "So-and-so cut off after one pint, left peacefully with this person" or "So and so came in, apparently intoxicated, refused him service, called taxi" or "So and so came in, appeared fine, served two pints, took a turn at the end of second pint. Removed glass. Refused further service after falling over and trying to make love to a bar stool. Proceeded to (poorly) try and fight Person B. Told 86'd forever, all staff notified." That way, if they leave, drink more, get in an accident, commit some property crime on you, or nearby, or assault someone or something, you have a recollection of them, and evidence, that you didn't overserve them. Comes in handy sometimes for other things too. "Approx 7:45 - Sketchy mo-fo came in, scratchy and eyes dilated, asked for free beer, was denied, got irate, loitered for half an hour, then left. Later, empty bottle of cheap wine found in bathroom. Heard car alarms from neighboring parking lot. Mullet, red shirt, bandaged hand, facial tattoo of a My Little Pony, friend called him "Cletus". Cops called, statement give to Officer X." - Based on a true story.

Plus you can use it to notify staff and management of various problems. Like "Upstairs toilet clogged. AGAIN." or "Tap #6 is really foamy."

Contact your state control board, they'll undoubtedly have some specific guidance to offer too.
I have no issues with putting the onus on us(the bars/breweries) to cut people off, suspend my manufacturers permit if we don't do a good job. In the end, the responsibility lies in the hands of the person driving. Its my responsibility to know when enough is enough when I am out having fun, when we start having to only rely on the person serving us, we loose since of that responsibility. And as a former paramedic, I have seen plenty of the aftermath of poor decision making. What is crazy to me is what the lawsuits settle for, it has a tendency to be huge, and unreasonable. Anyways, this could go into a much longer political conversation that this is not the place to have, so I will end my rant on how I feel about the legal system in CA.

Incident logs are a good idea, can't count the number of times things have been forgotten to be addressed for the next shift.

mashpaddled
02-24-2015, 10:23 AM
Your state likely requires your servers (and probably management) to be trained and permitted alcoholic beverage servers by your state ABC. You need to have an employment policy in place with those servers that requires them to conform to their training. The policy must require them to keep and maintain permits and you should periodically check to ensure their permits are active. You should also have a clear policy for completing an incident log and cutting patrons off who appear to be at the limit of service based upon the state's training. You should also have a disciplinary process closely tied to failing to comply with any of the terms of the permit or the policy. You may even make it an immediate terminable offense. The cost of paying the occasional unemployment claim for a server is far cheaper than the liability under your state's dram shop laws. If your state does not require state training then you should try to find a voluntary program in the state or develop your own server training.

4Generalsbrewin
04-28-2016, 10:49 AM
That's what I thought until I had the state walk through. With my microbrewery lic we don't have to have the mast 12 training. Everyone involved with my brewery does and will continue to hold a mast 12 but it's not required for my lic.



Huh. EVERYONE who serves has to have a MAST (Mandatory Alcohol Server Training) permit in WA. Love the idiocyncracies. Like how servers can drink on the job in a few states, but are outright banned in most.