Before you write me off as a party pooper, I'll start by saying I like to have fun. However, when it comes to alcohol, I can take it or leave it. So, it's hard for me to understand why booze at corporate events has become such an important part of corporate culture. As a new client recently told me "The wine is very important to us."
Okay, I get it, but I don't get how much emphasis is placed on booze. I've seen companies select less than optimal venues as their staff could not forgo alcohol for one day.
The lack of awareness of the checks and balances needed when serving alcohol is of even greater concern. Some companies still fail to realize that, if they serve alcohol before a physically demanding activity, they can be held liable if anyone is injured. Also, there could be liability if an employee injures or kills someone in an accident after leaving a corporate event at which alcohol was served. Laws are getting tougher in many jurisdictions so company practices need to keep pace.
If you're planning to serve alcohol at corporate events, keep the following precautions in mind:
- An open bar with unlimited consumption is not worth the risk. To determine how much alcohol you can safely serve, use:
Blood Alcohol Calculator (USA by State) or
Blood Alcohol Intoxication Calculator (Ontario)
- Hire a certified or Smart Serve (Ontario) bartender to detect potential problems and turn off the tap before things get out of control.
- For large events, provide stations with state-of-the-art, calibrated and portable breathalyzers to enable participants to voluntarily track their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level over the course of the event.
- If your event is in a foreign country, do your homework and know before you go. Some jurisdictions have zero tolerance for driving under the influence (DUI): International Drunk Driving Limits
- Provide taxi chits or book a couple of hotel rooms where employees can sleep it off.
- Purchase alcohol liability insurance. It's available on-line at Special Event Insurance (USA), National Alliance of Special Event Planners (NASEP), Special Event Insurance, Pal Canada or Pal Australia.
Why has alcohol become such an important part of corporate culture? Do YOU have any other tips to add to the list?