How To Serve Alcohol Responsibly

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Bartending Basics: Supplies & Tools

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 Serving Alcohol?
  • 0:40 Legal Considerations
  • 1:15 Carding
  • 2:45 Recognizing Intoxication
  • 4:00 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian has an MBA and is a real estate investor, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

In this lesson, we'll briefly review the steps a food and beverage establishment can take to serve alcohol responsibly by ensuring that customers are of legal drinking age and are not served while intoxicated.

Serving Alcohol?

Jerry's Burger Joint has just completed its expansion to build a bar and been approved for a state alcohol license. Although Jerry is excited about the prospects of being able to legally serve alcohol to customers, as the owner he recognizes that he now has an extra duty of care to be responsible to his customers and the law.

Let's take a look at a few of the general legal considerations involved in serving alcohol in a food and beverage environment, including protocols for verifying that customers are of legal drinking age as well as what to do when a customer appears intoxicated.

Legal Considerations

When Jerry obtained an alcohol license and started serving drinks, his business took on an additional potential liability. Thirty states in the US have laws that hold alcohol licensees liable for selling alcohol to customers who then become injured, killed, or cause harm to others because they are intoxicated.

When minors are involved the penalties can become even more severe. A general liability insurance policy will not cover issues arriving from the alcohol portion of the business; additional coverage through a liquor liability policy or rider is necessary.


The legal drinking age is 21 in every state in the US. Jerry's must ensure that its staff is careful to ensure that minors are not served alcohol. Just asking for an ID card isn't enough; the staff must take active steps to ensure that the ID is legitimate and belongs to the customer. The safest course of action for the business is to enforce a policy that customers will not be served alcohol without a positive proof of identification.

Fake IDs are a common concern, especially in establishments like Jerry's that tend to have a lot of young customers. There are a few tips that staff can use to detect fake IDs. The first is to only accept government-issued photo IDs, such as driver's licenses, passports, and military IDs. School IDs, birth certificates, Social Security cards, and other non-governmental IDs can be easily faked and are difficult to verify.

Check the quality of the printing or the card itself to see if it is an actual document. Check the date of birth to confirm the person is at least 21. Finally, compare the information on the card to the person's appearance and confirm that it is actually the person.

If the ID appears to be fake, the staff may keep the ID for as long as it takes to verify the person's age and notify the police. Careful documentation of the person's behavior, the fake ID, as well as any staff or other witnesses involved, will aid in the law enforcement investigation.

Recognizing Intoxication

The staff of Jerry's Burger Joint will inevitably have to deal with customers who have had too much to drink and pose a danger to themselves or others. It's illegal for a customer to remain on the premises or consume alcoholic beverages if visibly intoxicated.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account