Over-serving isn’t serving your Oregon company.
Many of our clients’ boards and event committees are planning now for yearly fundraisers, auctions, company picnics, employee retreats and other parties. During this planning stage, it’s important that you make sure your company is protected for possible claims, including property damage, theft, and, most notably, your Liquor liability. Many people don’t understand that any company who hosts the party can be held liable, and preparing ahead of time can save your company from a significant financial setback.
This is especially important in Oregon as the state has some of the strongest dram shop laws in the nation. “Dram shop” is an old legal term that refers to establishments like restaurants or bars that sell alcohol. And, in Oregon, the strict dram shop laws don’t just apply to taverns anymore. What that means to you is that liability for damage or injury arising from the consumption of alcohol can be assigned to the host of any place where alcohol was available, regardless of who was serving, or whether there was a specific charge for the drink, or drinks included with the entrance fee for the event.
Here are some tips to plan a safe event, and keep the liquor (liability) in the bag!
Hire A Caterer
Many organizations will have their volunteers serve at fundraising events. These volunteers may inadvertently over-serve liquor to attendees due to inexperience or because they are anxious to get people loose with their wallet, effecting donor enthusiasm to gift more funds and bid high on auction items. Unfortunately, these volunteers are often not trained or motivated to pay attention to whether your guests have had one too many. We strongly encourage hiring a caterer or other professional do the serving for your event so you minimize your liability and the chance that your guests will cause a problem or accident on the way home.
Anytime there’s more than 250 people in attendance at your event, the OLCC requires a full liquor liability policy for a permit. This can take some time for your insurance agent to acquire for you, so it’s best not to wait until a few days before event! If possible, call your insurance company a couple of weeks, minimum, before your event to make the proper arrangements.
Use Drink Tickets
If you’re hosting the beverages, we recommend that you limit the number of drinks per guest to 1-2 drink tickets. This automatically limits consumption, as your guests will pace accordingly.
Switch It Up
Consider switching from serving alcoholic beverages, to serving coffee and sparkling soda waters towards the last hour of the event. This allows the event to start winding down and minimizes the likelihood of overindulgence. Plus it gives your guests a chance to clear their head and make a wiser choice about their transportation home.
Enforce Safe Rides
Many of our clients enforce a Safe Ride Home Policy. Communicate with them that you expect them to assign a designated sober driver, or to get a taxi, Uber, or Lyft ride home. Tell them in advance at your office meetings, emails, and even on the invitation. Make it abundantly clear they should find safe rides home.
If you have any questions about your next event, just give ABI Insurance a call! Your current coverage may have limitations and exclusions, so we can advise you on any additional policies you may need. We can help you navigate all the possible risks and walk you through all the precautions to take for a fun and safe event.