- How do you control underage drinking in the suites?
- Do you offer liquor for sale in the suites?
While we do allow and monitor alcohol use in our private suites, we do not sell it. All alcohol is provided by our suite holders themselves.
We have it written into our suite license agreements that the suite owner is responsible for monitoring drinking in the suites. Our suite attendants do keep a very close eye on it and can ask for identification if they feel someone is underage. We recently had an issue with a new suite owner and ended up taking all of the alcohol out of their suite for the rest of the event. We do serve liquor in our suites, but it is bottle service only.
Each of our private suites has a designated suite attendant – this person acts as a “butler” in the suite preparing the carved and flambéed food items as well as pouring drinks and clearing plates. Since they are almost always present in the suite, they are able to control drinking by minors. All of our staff must have ProServe training and a certificate – a requirement of the Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission. We can face significant fines for serving minors.
There is a fully stocked bar in every suite, and the clients pay after the event for all that is consumed. We do not do any cash/credit transactions in the suite. Soft beverages and bottled water are included in their suite rental fee.
We do offer liquor for sale via preorder in our suites. The suite captain assigned to the suite is responsible for making sure all patrons that are drinking are of age. If he/she suspects someone is not of age, an ID should be requested.
We have a suite attendent/bartender who controls the liquor in our suites. They are responsible to check ID's. Our suites come with bar packages.
Every jurisdiction is different, and in some states, such as North Carolina, there has to be a licensed bartender to pour all drinks in the suite, so each suite is charged for a server. In most states, however, having the suite owner agree in their suite lease that they are responsible for all legal issues of their guests, including prohibiting all minors for procession or consumption of alcohol, is the first step.
Then the follow up is the suite attendant (who may serve three to five suites) and foodservice manager must still monitor the suites, and if they see a potential situation, card the minor and remove the alcohol.
It is no different than a hosted bar at a private catered event. The caterer still has to monitor pouring and distribution of alcohol and stop any infractions, even though it is a private affair.
We have low-point beer (3.2% alcohol) here in Oklahoma. Because it’s considered food, our suite holders must purchase it directly from OSU Cowboy Dining, our caterer. All other alcohol must be provided by the suite holder. On the club, guests have to purchase alcohol from the bars, so we card everyone, limit a purchase to two alcoholic beverages, and cut people off if they’re visibly drunk.
Our suite attendants and bartenders are extensively trained, and we remind them frequently about carding anyone who looks younger than 30 years of age. We go over key points before every season at the suite owner luncheon. We do sell bottles of liquor and wine, singles and 6-packs of beer.
We typically don't have a problem with underage drinking in the suites. Our suite attendants are assigned four suites per shift, so they roam and check in each suite every 15-20 minutes. We card all individuals under age 30. We have had to remind guests that the drinking age in NC is 21; we still have some parents who believe if they are with their child, that it's ok. If we ask for ID and a guest is underage and drinking, we take the alcohol and contact (email) the suite administrator to let them know what is going on in the suite.
All of our staff attends alcohol awareness and are required to pass a test in order to sell alcohol. Concerts present our biggest issues (it's dark in the arena, no TV's, and the only lighting is emergency lights and a sconce). And it's not just alcohol and underage drinking; it's also drugs (pot smoking) and destruction of property. That's when we involve event security to get a formal document produced.
Basketball (college) is not a problem as it's a non-alcohol event except in suites. There are no liquor sales allowed (beer/wine only), so the guests know that they are getting something no one else can have.
Hockey is beer – lots of beer. We have a good number of rental clients who purchase an in-suite bartender (who is there the entire time and keeps an eye on things). It works very well. We used to require that suite holders purchase a bartender as well, but liquor laws in NC changed several years ago permitting liquor purchase by the bottle.