When holding a special event in California, organizers must follow the rules regarding alcoholic beverage service set out by California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). This state-run agency oversees the licensing of alcohol service in the state for restaurants, hotels, bars, retail stores, events and caterers. In addition to obtaining the proper license to serve alcohol, event organizers can hire security officers to ensure the rules are being followed and prevent intoxicated guests from causing problems.
What Is An ABC 218 Event Permit?
An ABC 218 event permit allows licensed caterers to serve alcohol at catered events. The license owner must file a request that includes the date, location, sponsor, guest count and hours of the event. If approved, the permit must be kept on-site throughout the event. These permits must be filed at least ten days prior to the event.
When Is An ABC Event Permit Required?
A permit is needed to serve alcohol at any event that is open to the public, which is defined as events that individuals can walk into uninvited. It is also necessary to obtain a permit if the event has an admission cost, whether it is a donation, door charge or ticket or fundraising activities that will be held at the event.
Other events that need permits are those where a licensed caterer is providing alcoholic beverages or drinks will be sold at the bar, such as a “cash bar”. Event permits are generally not required at private events with access restricted to invited guests only.
Are Security Officers Required At Events Where Alcohol Is Served?
Security is required for some types of events where alcohol will be served. For example, adequate security must be used at events with public attendance where Daily Special Liquor Licenses are being used. This generally applies to non-profits that are serving beer or wine at events (1).
Although local, state or federal law may not specifically require security officers at certain events where alcohol is being served, their presence can maintain order among guests and help organizers ensure that rules governing serving alcohol are being followed. Outlined below are some common areas of compliance they can enforce.
The Legal Drinking Age In California
Alcoholic beverages may not be served to or consumed by individuals under the age of 21 in the state of California. Servers must see identification issued by a state, municipal or federal government for anyone who appears to be 30 or younger. This identification must be currently valid and include a photograph, physical description and date of birth.
Hours At Which Alcohol Can Be Served At Events
Alcoholic beverages may not be served between 2:00am and 6:00am. By 2:00am, all drinks must be out of guests’ hands, so it is recommended that event holders stop serving alcohol no later than 1:30am. Security officers will ensure these serving hours are not violated.
Serving Alcohol To Guests Who Appear Intoxicated
Serving alcohol to guests who appear to be intoxicated is a misdemeanor in California. At many events, organizers assign the responsibility for following alcohol-related rules to bartenders or servers. However, guests may become upset if they are denied service for any reason, and security officers can diffuse these situations. Intoxicated guests might also get into arguments among themselves that may turn violent.
Drinking And Driving
It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater in the state of California.
Security officers posted at the exit of events will look for signs that people attempting to drive away from the event are intoxicated. According to statistics posted by the Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, one person died from an alcohol-impaired driving collision every 50 minutes on average in the United States in 2016 (2). Security officers who stop intoxicated people from operating a vehicle can avoid accidents, prevent costly lawsuits and potentially save lives.
The Benefits Of Posting Security Officers At Events With Alcohol
A visible security presence reminds guests that the organizers take safety and security seriously and there will be consequences for misbehaving.
The presence of security officers will reduce the chances of chaos ensuing at events. They can stop people from lingering at or blocking exits or entrances, control lines and prevent access to off-limits areas.
Security officers will prevent uninvited people from entering the event or mistreating staff who enforce guest lists. They can also ensure rules regarding photographing or recording the event are followed.
Protecting Site Property
Intoxicated guests may also cause damage to the property. Some of the problems organizers may encounter include broken fixtures or furniture at the event site, spillages and messes. Vigilant security officers can reduce these incidents.
Reach Out To The Event Security Professionals
If you are holding a special event where alcohol will be served, security officers will ensure the safety of guests, prevent accidents and reduce the organizer’s risk of liability while protecting the property and enforcing its rules. Get in touch with the event security professionals at American Protection Group for help assessing your security needs and developing an appropriate security plan.