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Catering without a liquor license

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I am a start-up caterer and cannot afford to get a liquor license just yet. Is there a way that I can still fulfill client needs for liquor for events? For instance, I can contract out with a liquor supplier, but how can I serve the liquor at the event? Are there bartenders that I can hire through hospitality agencies that would be licensed so that I do not need to be?

If anyone can advise, I would appreciate it!!!

Thanks
post #2 of 24
Liquor laws in the U.S. vary by state and by, to a certain extent, by city.

Best to check with your local Alcoholic Beverage Control agency for all the rules and regulations.
post #3 of 24
I recently discovered that where I am (Tasmania, Australia) I'm able to serve liquor without a license as long as it's paid for as a lump sum as part of a catering package, as opposed to punters paying for individual drinks. All waiting staff must have their Responsible Serving of Alcohol certificate tho.

Liquor Coffee's and, suprisingly, mulled wine can be served and sold at any restaurant without a license.
post #4 of 24
OK- I'm not a pro, but I've done this, so I'll butt in here.

When our Rotary Club has a party, we buy the wine/beer/booze from a local liquor retailer. He delivers it, provides barware, a professional bartender, and THE DRAM SHOP INSURANCE. What's more, he will take back unopened bottles for full credit

Our parties typically run 40-80 people, so it's a pretty nice sale for him. If your catering gig is for 30-40 people or more, I would bet you could find a similar package near you, probably offered by a fairly large retailer.

(Unless you're in Pennsylvania) :(

Mike
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #5 of 24
I am saying pretty much the same as Mike- see if your liquor supplier with host the bar for you. There are one's here in CA that will- they set up the bar, stock it and they collect the money for each drink. They usually put up a banner to advertise themselves, and you don't make any profit off it- but you have no outlay either- liquor, mixers, cups, bartender, etc.... it is all provided by the supplier. Good luck!
Bon Vive' !
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Bon Vive' !
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post #6 of 24
What Jayme describes is a little different than what I detailed- he is bringing in a retailer as an independent caterer- running a cash bar, in effect.

The Rotary usually has an open bar, so we buy the adult beverages outright and the retailer throws in the bartender, barware, and insurance.

Notice I capitalized THE DRAM SHOP INSURANCE because that is vital to protect you the caterer, and the host of the party you're catering for. If a guest gets sloshed :beer: at the affair and wipes out a family of seven while he's trying to drive home, probably both you and the host will be sued out of your gourds.

Get a certificate of such insurance in advance, just like you require from a general contractor doing work for you on your property.

Mike
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all of the feedback!
post #8 of 24
Tis hard work with out a licence, trust me. I know :)
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm sure it will be hard, unfortunately, until the business grows, I don't have the funds for the license or additional insurance coverage. Hopefully, my business will boom and I can fill those needs ASAP! :lips:
post #10 of 24

CateringGuy.com is in New York City, so i can speak to you about the local laws. New York State does not allow the serving of Alcohol without a permit/license. (period).

If you want to sell liquor, it must be sold with food, and you must have an existing on-premise license in order to file for an "off premise extension". However, with that

said, you can file for a ONE DAY PERMIT for Beer and Wine only (takes about 4 weeks and fees apply). If your Client is seeking "Spirits" or hard liquor then i can only recommend you find or partner with an establishment

that has a on-premise license and is willing to extend this off premise for you and your clients, simply by profit sharing from what is sold by the bar.

 

Some of our clients include event planners, party promoters, etc. and they all need to "partner" with someone in order to have this Law covered. Sponsors usually will request

for two things, the Permit and the Liability coverage, they are two separate requirements and bartenders who take a bar tending course, do not qualify as "licensed", they are

merely servers with knowledge on drink mixing and rules of serving to legal aged guests etc.

 

FYI: the NYS ABC states if they provide you a permit for Beer and Wine, then that is all you are allowed to serve at the venue, it is considered illegal to bring in retail hard liquor

and serve it, regardless if you charge for it. Once you file for this permit, and it is detailed, you are putting the spot light on your event, so don't risk the fines and trouble you

will be in if you get caught.

 

Be smart, find a Partner who has all these bases covered, and i am sure they will enjoy the additional profits while allowing you to make some as well.

 

hope this helps, CateringGuy

post #11 of 24

Ditto Missouri.  thanks for responding Cateringguy.  Good first post! 

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #12 of 24

Florida the same "one can't DISPENSE alcoholic beverages without license. And here in particular, as it is a sue state(people sue for any reason) plenty of liability insurance required to protect ones self.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #13 of 24

In California, as a "Type 41" license (beer & wine) holder, my understanding is NO catering of beer, wine, or spirits without a Type 47 or Type 48 license is permitted (there ARE other licenses for fraternal organizations and non-profits). AND a "day permit" is also required

 

A "Type 47" allows the serving of alcoholic beverages WITH food service, a "Type 48" is a "bar license" no food service necessary

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #14 of 24

in Australia there is a requirement which is RSA certificate for a owner or even a bartender to be able to work or even serve alcohol. And if someone is indeed found out serving alcohol or selling alcohol without any licenses whatsoever, they are ban and even get to jail with it.

 

post #15 of 24

Dear Catering Guy,

 

This is helpful.  I just started my own bartending business here in NYC and the liquor authority told me that I have to be an "employee" of the catering company or whomever has the liquor license in order to pour for them.  I am not sure their definition of "employee"... from my understanding, you had to be a direct employee working for them only...; However, they did say that they do not regulate the subcontracting of services to other vendors.  

 

I am acting as a staffing agency and many agencies alike create vendor partnerships where they can serve under their caterer's license.  Do you know how this is done?  You had mentioned the partnering with an establishment and I even asked NYS ABC about this and they said the laws were to circumvent people like us from using someone else's license to pour and that you had to work directly for them...  If i were to contract with that establishment, I would have to work under their name and not my own company's name as it would be their license.

 

I am not understanding it all properly and bottom line, they told me basically I couldn't serve period but millions of others are doing it so how is it being done??

 

Thanks!

Jill

post #16 of 24

When I was doing Private gigs in New York,  As long as it was a private party in guest home and He or She purchased the liquor elsewhere for private consumption and not for sale. .You and your staff could dispense it. You could charge for all mixers, glassware , bar fruit etc. There were also 1 day licenses available from the state at a fee. I did many parties like this on Long Island and elsewhere.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #17 of 24

ctyler, this may be totally off base, because it applies to Canada, however, you may find such a loop hole in your state. Up here, the customer can buy a one-time special event license at the local liquor distribution branch office (government liquor store), and anyone with a "Serving It Right" certificate can pour / mix / serve it. A way around this is if the host of the party buys all the liquor and hires you (with your certificate) to just serve it, or they make it self-service (provided there is no charge to the attending guests, and it is on private property). You can charge a "corkage fee" per drink or per bottle served, or just up your labor charge for the event. Even hotels here do this for banquets - usually weddings - where the organizer wants to bring in his own wine. i used to own a small hotel and catering company many years ago, and that's all we did. I couldn't afford a liquor license either. made us WAY more popular than the other caterers, because our customers didn't have to pay the outrageous amounts for liquor, and they could bring anything they liked, including their home-made hooch.

post #18 of 24

Hi all,

 

I am also a new corporation owner, the 2 businesses the corporation is running are catering alcohol to private events, partnering with food caterers at their events, hosting private events, etc. I was curious on this topic as to the laws surrounding the catering of alcoholic beverages and wine. 

In my state, Maryland, a liquor license is required for the serving of alcoholic beverages plus the server (bartender, mixologist, wine sommelier) must be TIPS certified. If a private event (in home, yacht, backyard pool, etc.) and the alcohol is apart of a lump sum invoice, the server also in the lump sum invoice, no license is required as far as I found out. If anyone has any insight on catering ONLY the alcohol and providing the certified mixologists/sommeliers at private events I would greatly appreciate it. 

I have been a bartender for 5 years, I'm a USBG member undergoing the Master Bartender's training to become Master Bartender certified. I am also going to be accredited by the American Wine Sommelier's Association. I would like to provide the best of the best mixologists/sommeliers to make any private event outstanding! My bartenders are beautiful, fun, willing to dress to any request, sign confidentiality agreements, and work any hours. What we will do for the liquor/beer only events is bring the bar, set up, provide everything, and break down. The invoice will include everything as a lump sum, tipping the bartender/sommelier is seperate. That business is called, "On The Fly", LLC. The wine business provides sommeliers to perform tastings, socials, and wine knowledge. We work with distributors who import the best of the best wines from all over the world. We can bring the wine or serve from the cellar of the host. That business is called, "Wine Not?", LLC. 

Can anyone add to the knowledge of catering only alcohol/wine and the servers? I'm not talking about the one day license either, I know about that in my state is only for non-profits, etc.

 

Thanks

post #19 of 24

I suggest you check with the ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) that has jurisdiction over your service area. They make and enforce the rules.

 

What anyone else says, suggests, or advises is moot!

 

In California, based on my experience, one MUST be a restaurant or caterer with a Type 47 license AND apply for a one-time license for EVERY off-site event.

 

BTA, WTHDIK?

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #20 of 24

In New York there are many licenses. Beer, wine and cider only, Full alcohol, CTR a caterer license. A DL 1 day license. An RL restaurant only. As far as caterers the licenses are granted by the room, so if there is 5 rooms there are 5 licenses. It used to be to get some licenses you had to serve food. Since I am not in NY anymore, I do not know if this still applies, but it was a joke. Some places had a dozen eggs and some frozen burgers and thats it.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #21 of 24

Thank you very much for these informations.

 

 

Chef Elle

post #22 of 24

New York City requires all event hosts of public events to obtain a liquor permit. MyCityCatering.com offers an extension for its license to any event and requires the host to purchase a per person bar catering menu. You can select drink and food to support the permit requirements. The good thing is MYC does all the paperwork and provides insurance for the venues (COI). Sponsors can provide their product to the caterer for service and branding needs.

post #23 of 24

in Nevads Clark county if you are catering a event with alcohol you need to get a catering permit signed by the sheriffs departmebnt. to obtain a permit you will need to go to the sheriffs dept to obtain this permit you will need to take your license that' states you are permuted to do catering.and a check for 35 dollars you will need a new permit for each event.  MY ADVICE IF YOU ARE NEW AND UNINSURED stay away from alcohol you can be held liable for many things people do when they get drunk. there are several liquor catering companies in the valley contract one to do your bars negotiate a special industry price with them and use that mark down for your profit untill you get more business and established then pass that savings on to your client as an incentive,

post #24 of 24


Only if he supplies the liquor and pays you to serve it(This is a gray area in some states but legal) In a public place no at their home yes

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
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