Steps to minimise risk
From a practical point of view, to minimise the risk of breaches of licensing laws, and to avoid the risk of civil liability, licensees must maintain a dedicated focus on ensuring compliance with responsible service of alcohol principles. This could include:
- ensuring that all staff involved with the service and sale of liquor are appropriately trained and are familiar with responsible service of alcohol principles (the licensing authority in your jurisdiction can provide details of training courses and materials available)
- developing written policies and procedures regarding responsible service, and updating and discussing these regularly with staff
- having in place as many harm minimisation measures as possible – for example, the provision of water and non- alcoholic beverages, providing food, and providing contact details for taxi services and local accommodation
- ensuring that if you have special events, any additional staff employed for the event and are appropriately qualified and trained – for example, using liquor service staff who have appropriate hospitality experience, employing security guards where necessary for special events, and not using untrained friends and family members for wine sales and service
- in general, ensuring that you and your staff adopt a professional and serious approach to the service of liquor – the informal approach that may be entirely appropriate in a private setting, and may have been a feature of some cellar doors in years past, will not be appropriate for licensed cellar doors in the present environment.