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South Dakota Municipal League

Special Events Involving Alcoholic Beverages
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

By Kristina Peterson, Director of Underwriting, SDPAA

It’s that time for preparations to begin for celebrations, parades, street dances and other festivities in your area. While discussions of the event may be underway, if your event involves alcohol, there are extra steps to be taken to make sure everyone has fun and stays safe.

Members may choose to provide alcohol themselves or may consider contracting out the alcohol services. We recommend teaming up with a local business with a liquor license to provide the alcohol and services. Any vendor should provide evidence of liability coverage of at least $1,000,000 to you, the Member, and show the Member added as an additional insured. We also recommend having a contract in place with hold harmless/indemnification language. Sample documents can be found on our website:

When alcohol is being provided by Members, employees and volunteers should be trained and up to date on the entity’s policies and procedures, and be trained in the acceptable forms of ID in South Dakota. Generally acceptable forms of ID include:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • State issued identification card
  • Military ID
  • Current passport
Entities may wish to enroll employees and/or volunteers in the SD Responsible Serving of Alcohol Certification Course, to ensure proper procedures are followed. This course teaches state laws regarding alcohol service, how to recognize fake IDs and techniques for providing a safe environment for attendees. The course is offered online through Professional Server Certification Corporation. More information can be found on their website:

In addition to properly checking IDs and clearly identifying those that meet the legal age limit, Members should provide adequate security at the event by hiring a private security firm or work with local law enforcement to provide a safe environment for the event. Law enforcement resources can be limited and Members may choose to provide additional employees and volunteers who have been trained and/or certified to help law enforcement ensure underage individuals are not consuming alcohol at the event.

We also recommend alcohol tents at those events whose attendance includes individuals of all ages. Trained and/or certified Member employees and/or volunteers should check ID’s, and supervise the beverage tents, beer gardens and/or areas alcohol is allowed.

Overall, for special events with alcohol, SDPAA recommends the following:
  • Policies & Procedures have been established for the event.
  • Verify any required permits for serving alcohol have been obtained.
  • Verify event sponsors and promoters who serve alcohol have adequate liquor liability insurance and the public entity is named as additional insured on the policy.
When developing policies and procedures for events with alcohol, the following topics should be reviewed and addressed:
  • Denying entry of intoxicated persons to the event.
  • Prohibiting attendees from bringing alcohol to the event.
  • Limiting the size of containers in which alcohol is served.
  • Checking photo IDs to verify legal ages.
  • Establishing a limit of no more than two drinks per person.
  • Designating times for beginning and ending of alcohol sales.
  • Serving food at the event to help absorb alcohol.
  • Encouraging designated drivers and arranging for alternative modes of transportation for those who may become intoxicated.
  • Prohibiting sales to people who are obviously intoxicated.
  • Providing security or law enforcement personnel to deal with intoxicated or unruly attendees.
  • Making sure those who serve alcohol meet age requirements, and prohibit them from consuming alcohol during their work shift.
  • Training those who serve liquor in alcohol awareness techniques, state law requirements, and how to deal with intoxicated persons.
As always, SDPAA is available to discuss your event. Member-run, third party, with or without alcohol, we are here to assist with loss control measures and provide sample language or recommendations for your event. Contact our office at 800.658.3633 to discuss your event with a staff member.

208 Island Drive - Ft. Pierre, SD 57532 - 605.224.8654