Experience with serving alcohol?

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Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby lionsburg » Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:37 pm

Hi folks,

We're starting to put together some camp plans for 2013 and the subject of serving alcohol came up. I know there are many camps which do this and have (or appear to have) success in providing a good camp experience to the general burner populace.

I'd like to hear people's experience and advice about doing this.

The biggest question I have is how do you plan for the amount of booze you need to bring? And were would be a good place to purchase alcohol in quantity?

Thanks in advance,

-- Michael
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby trilobyte » Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:41 pm

I'm giving this a nudge over to the Preparation -> Food & Drink board, since that's a better fit for questions about preparation. In addition to the responses you may get in this thread, you may care to read some of the other threads in the board, playa bars are a fairly popular topic.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby Savannah » Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:09 pm

There is a three page thread called "Cheap Booze" on page one of the Food & Drink forum. Start there for booze in quantity stories . . . feel free to bump that thread with a question if you don't see it addressed.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby Bounce530 » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:51 pm

The most important thing is to make sure your bartenders CARD anybody that is the slightest bit in question of age.
Hang a "no one under 21...etc" sign and be sure to ask everybody if they are legal to drink in the state of NV, and are over the age of 21. If they are not clear in the answers then they are carded or not served and asked to leave the bar.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby Trishntek » Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:53 pm

If someone enters obviously intoxicated, just give them a cup of mixer and no alcohol. They won't notice and still get hydrated.

Indeed card everyone. We had security at the entrance carding everyone. They would simply tell them, "Keep your card out, you will need it at the bar." And they would indeed get checked at the bar. Consistency is the key. If you question EVERYBODY's age, then nobody can complain,,, or everybody complains, but they will encourage each other once they understand it is the LEO. Dump the blame on their big shoulders and we are all in "it" together. We can comply to the point of gaining Law Enforcement's respect and everything goes good.

We had a couple of issues Monday night opening which put us on Asshole Alert. I believe we were tested and passed their Sting Attempt. Big signs and obvious compliance keeps them off your back.

Another way to look at your stock would be to let the booze set your limits. For instance, allow yourself One bottle of liquor per each kind per day,,, or every two days. The amount of booze you ration out through the week dictates your hours of operation.

Plan on $50-$100 per day for ice if you plan on blended drinks and/or shaved ice. Other places specialize on one particular libation. Our first year we just had vodka lemonade in a cooler.

Bagged nuts, jerky, dried fruit in a single serving package is the best way to prevent dust exposure. Besides, serving food products can only be from original packaging unless you get a food server permit from the Nevada State Health Dept. This would even include the lime wedge for a gin n tonic. Fresh squeezed is considered food service also.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby EspressoDude » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:13 am

Trishntek wrote: Fresh squeezed is considered food service also.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby Lowz » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:30 am

Bounce530 wrote: be sure to ask everybody if they are legal to drink in the state of NV, (..) If they are not clear in the answers then they are carded or not served and asked to leave the bar.

why that ? The answer won't change anything :
- if they are good liars, they will be served
- if they are undercovers cops they are allowed to lie, (aren't they ?)
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:59 am

Lowz wrote:
Bounce530 wrote: be sure to ask everybody if they are legal to drink in the state of NV, (..) If they are not clear in the answers then they are carded or not served and asked to leave the bar.

why that ? The answer won't change anything :
- if they are good liars, they will be served
- if they are undercovers cops they are allowed to lie, (aren't they ?)

If I understand this right (and keep in mind that I've been camping with bars since 2006, although I was never the lead) by Nevada law, by their lying, they are breaking the law and you have done what you need to.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:34 am

Trishntek wrote:If someone enters obviously intoxicated, just give them a cup of mixer and no alcohol. They won't notice and still get hydrated.


Fumufumu. When I was a bartender (especially during the later years), I wasn't supposed to serve alcohol to drunks. But that was the law, and it was because they might go driving like that.

I don't think it's against playa code to get drunks drunker. They'll just fall down, and that's only ~6 feet.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby Trishntek » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:40 am

Ugly Dougly wrote:
Trishntek wrote:If someone enters obviously intoxicated, just give them a cup of mixer and no alcohol. They won't notice and still get hydrated.


Fumufumu. When I was a bartender (especially during the later years), I wasn't supposed to serve alcohol to drunks. But that was the law, and it was because they might go driving like that.

I don't think it's against playa code to get drunks drunker. They'll just fall down, and that's only ~6 feet.

The only problem with that is they crash on my turf and then I gotta drag 'em outa the way! Then, when they wake up, I feel obliged to give 'em water and something to eat,,, then allofasudden I've got another, annnnd another,,, etc.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:02 am

...and controversy in eleven, ten, nine posts!
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby Elorrum » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:32 am

Slight drift here to say Thank you to retrofrolic for a delightful non-alcoholic slushy that tasted like blueberry but was told a secret about it not having blueberries.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:14 pm

So we sit them down in a wheelbarrow, feed them a Mojo, then wheel their inert body to center camp, where they'll be no tribble at all.


Seriously, though, point taken.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby lionsburg » Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:21 am

All the advice is appreciate and thanks for replying..

Thanks trilobyte for bumping this post into the appropriate forum.

The "Cheap Booze" thread looks to be over here for those interested (thanks Savannah) -
http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?f=276&t=50874

So what I'm taking away from the biggest two pieces of advice so far is -

- Make sure you card people or at least be very vigilant about asking if the person is 21 or older. Either way, consistency is the key.
- Be gentle (however you want to defined that) with the intoxicated.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby lionsburg » Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:24 am

Ugly Dougly wrote:So we sit them down in a wheelbarrow, feed them a Mojo, then wheel their inert body to center camp, where they'll be no tribble at all.


Uh, don't tribbles reproduce quickly.. or is that only when space wheat is involved? :)
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:44 am

Elorrum wrote:Slight drift here to say Thank you to retrofrolic for a delightful non-alcoholic slushy that tasted like blueberry but was told a secret about it not having blueberries.



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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby Lowz » Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:35 am

theCryptofishist wrote:
Lowz wrote:
Bounce530 wrote: be sure to ask everybody if they are legal to drink in the state of NV, (..) If they are not clear in the answers then they are carded or not served and asked to leave the bar.

why that ? The answer won't change anything :
- if they are good liars, they will be served
- if they are undercovers cops they are allowed to lie, (aren't they ?)

If I understand this right (and keep in mind that I've been camping with bars since 2006, although I was never the lead) by Nevada law, by their lying, they are breaking the law and you have done what you need to.

Well it seems that The Pershing County Sheriffs disagreed! http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?t=34829#p564507 but it won't be the first time that a fine would be given without a legal cause..

Also from the same thread
Jack Rabbit Speaks: V14:#23:07.15.10
- It is a misdemeanor to serve alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 years old in Nevada. The law still applies if the alcohol is gifted as opposed to sold. Theme camps are considered public space and subject to enforcement of this law. (NRS 202.055) In 2001 the Nevada State Supreme Court limited the application of NRS 202.055 to only servers who had actual or constructive knowledge that the person seeking the alcohol was under 21. This means that you must card someone who looks underage. Conversely, if someone looks of age you are not required to card him or her.
(..)

Enforcement of the laws is either done by carding the person outright, or through undercover sting operations. None of this is new and not terribly different from most other state laws.

But what can you do to #1 Avoid illegally serving minors?, #2 Avoid being cited, or #3 If cited, demonstrate the due diligence against serving minors you used when operating a bar on the playa?

1) Don't serve anyone without ID who appears underage.
2) Ask for ID for anyone who appears underage. Learn to read it properly and determine by the date of birth if the person is old enough to drink.
3) Post "No Minors Allowed - No Minors Served" signs to discourage minors from committing a misdemeanor by loitering, requesting, or consuming alcohol at your bar.
4) Do not allow minors to loiter at your bar: ask them to leave.
5) Confer with a co-server -- get a second opinion -- when a patron appears "youthfully" over 21.
6) Work together - if you have refused to serve a patron because they do not appear to be of legal age, notify all your bar servers of your decision. There may be undercover operatives working with local law enforcement that attempt to be served more than once.


So if someone lied to you but looked underage, you are in troubles..
Last edited by Lowz on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby ygmir » Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:39 am

Ugly Dougly wrote:So we sit them down in a wheelbarrow, feed them a Mojo, then wheel their inert body to center camp, where they'll be no tribble at all.


Seriously, though, point taken.



Oh Mr. Scott.......you didn't................

lionsburg wrote:
Ugly Dougly wrote:So we sit them down in a wheelbarrow, feed them a Mojo, then wheel their inert body to center camp, where they'll be no tribble at all.


Uh, don't tribbles reproduce quickly.. or is that only when space wheat is involved? :)


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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby TomServo » Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:58 am

Card em all! Let god sort them out..
Keep it simple!....I'm just doing Bloody Marys and its still a lot of booze...but easier to calculate.
Keep your ice scoop OUT of the ice container!
Don't serve visitors unless they bring their Own cup. Sometimes people forget, or lose their cups, so maybe make em work for it? Like sing a song or shout out poetry upside down.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby ygmir » Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:16 am

TomServo wrote:Card em all! Let god sort them out..
Keep it simple!....I'm just doing Bloody Marys and its still a lot of booze...but easier to calculate.
Keep your ice scoop OUT of the ice container!
Don't serve visitors unless they bring their Own cup. Sometimes people forget, or lose their cups, so maybe make em work for it? Like sing a song or shout out poetry upside down.


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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby thisisthatwhichis » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:19 am

I would recommend asking for ID where possible, but not everyone carries their ID. We ran a bar for 5 yrs and rarely carded, but always asked everyone the "Are you over 21 and legal to drink" questions. A "YES" answer was the only thing we accepted. We had stings on us just about every year and passed because the LEO minor can't violate this law to entrap you.

- It is a misdemeanor for a minor to pass him or herself off as being of age. (NRS 202.040)


Still it doesn't hurt to card anyone that looks questionable.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby BeachBum » Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:55 pm

Trishntek wrote:
...
Indeed card everyone. We had security at the entrance carding everyone. They would simply tell them, "Keep your card out, you will need it at the bar." And they would indeed get checked at the bar. Consistency is the key. If you question EVERYBODY's age, then nobody can complain,,, or everybody complains, but they will encourage each other once they understand it is the LEO. Dump the blame on their big shoulders and we are all in "it" together. We can comply to the point of gaining Law Enforcement's respect and everything goes good.

We had a couple of issues Monday night opening which put us on Asshole Alert. I believe we were tested and passed their Sting Attempt. Big signs and obvious compliance keeps them off your back.
...


And, Trishnteck wrote in another thread:
Trishntek wrote:
They seem to be stepping it up in the bars too. This year, we had a rather clean-cut 30something, 6'3" guy with a cute YOUNG LOOKING blonde. They both had nice, clean costumes and seemed very "neat".

They came to our bar and I was bouncer at the time. I was very proud of our bartender team as they refused BOTH of them drinks without I.D. They proceeded to offer just about anything you can imagine to get a drink. After they finally got the message and walked away, I shadowed them for a bit. Suffice it to say, they did not act like burners upon departure.


Trishntek,

Regarding experiences with serving alcohol, It's a shame that we need to go to these levels to protect ourselves from this behavior by the police. In Nevada, what is illegal is to KNOWINGLY (emphasis added by me) supply alcohol to someone under 21. This is substantially different from California law, where serving someone under 21 is "strict liability", i.e., you serve someone under 21, you're guilty. In Nevada, probably to avoid having to shut down any of the revenue generating gambling casinos, you must have actual knowledge that the person is under 21 ("I'm turning 21 tomorrow, can I have a drink?") or constructive knowledge that the person is under 21 (not carding/directly asking the age of someone who looks very young, or them saying "I'm a freshman at ...").

It's not legal for the police to trick someone into accidentally serve someone under 21 (see cite 1 below), but that's what happens on the playa. Such as your experience, Trishntek, where a obviously older gentleman was probably trying to trick/con you and your bartenders into serving his compatriot "girlfriend" by people generally expecting the girlfriend to be in the same approximate age group as the guy.

I had a similar experience in 2011, maybe by the same officer. As I was getting changed under our shade structure for the man burn a larger gentleman, obviously around 30 at minimum, with a beard and in a very plain "house dress", very aggressively demanded to let him serve himself a beer, constantly coming towards me as I backed up and backed up and backed up. He was saying, "It's OK, I'm a nurse". If I chickened out and acceded to his bullying behavior, I would have been cited for the Nevada Alcoholic Beverages law (NRS 202-055) even though he was obviously well over 21, and I wasn't in violation of knowingly "Leaves or deposits any alcoholic beverage in any place with the intent that it will be procured by any person under 21 " (I would have no intent for this to happen). This was confirmed by another post on eplaya last year after the burn, who said they got cited by the same officer in a house dress for allowing him to have alcohol. I feel guilty that I didn't join this board at that time to tell the other poster about my experience with the same officer, and what the law actually stated.

Cites:
1) What I believe to be the Nevada Supreme Court precedent for the definition of KNOWINGLY relating to being tricked into accidentally serving someone under 21: GARCIA v. SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT COUNTY OF PERSHING, http://caselaw.findlaw.com/nv-supreme-court/1405100.html (Pershing County sent a 20 year old guy with a goatee and a hat looking between 24 and 27 into bars, the NV Supreme Court said it was not legal to trick someone into accidentally serving alcohol). If anyone has legal experience, or can provide a better cite, please do so.

2) Nevada Alcoholic Beverages law: NRS 202.055 http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-202.html#NRS202Sec015

"NRS 202.055 Sale or furnishing of alcoholic beverage to minor; aiding minor to purchase or procure alcoholic beverage; policy to prevent minor from obtaining alcoholic beverage through use of Internet.
1.  Every person who knowingly:
(a) Sells, gives or otherwise furnishes an alcoholic beverage to any person under 21 years of age;
(b) Leaves or deposits any alcoholic beverage in any place with the intent that it will be procured by any person under 21 years of age;  or
..."

(And, note, I am a fairly conservative middle aged guy who does not do anything illegal. I normally have much respect for the police, it's a very tough job.)
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby Trishntek » Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:08 pm

I appreciate all you say and "the letter of the law", etc. But I'm not obliged to GIVE ANYBODY ANYTHING and when they come up with a bunch of expectations, I honestly do not care if they are of majority age.

That aside, I have no compunction to hang my ass out for the sake of someone stupid enough to not carry an I.D. when they know good and well they need to carry one.

That does not necessarily mean I never hang my ass out for the sake of stupidity,,, but it is my stupidity!
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby BeachBum » Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:20 am

Yep, I agree with you, there's absolutely no need to give anyone anything, and anyone who looks young needing to carry ID to be served. Our camp chose to basically just serve our myriad of friends this year, and we especially didn't serve anyone who felt "entitled" or who didn't know enough about BM to bring their own cup. It's just a shame that we feel that we have to go past what the law actually requires due to some of the LEOs having an interpretation of the law, and what is legal for them to do, that goes far beyond what the laws actually state or allow. (ref: read cite 1 in my previous post for examples, or other examples stated on these boards over the previous few years)
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby teardropper » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:26 pm

In our little neighborhood bar (& bowl), overserving sometimes would lead to going to sleep, or, passing out. I always maintained I wasn't responsible for what they did the whole day before they got to my place. Wouldn't think 3 or 4 White Russians would do THAT. Small bar? I kept a couple small blankets so they wouldn't get too cold laying out on the playa by the street. Doesn't bother me. Big bar, big rules. Little bars, who cares. They won't go home, we bring 'em to bed with us. Love those little virgins... Just friendlier, you know. :-)

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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby maladroit » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:49 am

If someone asking for alcohol looks young and doesn't have an ID, odds are pretty good they're a cop.

One came up to me on the shipwreck and pestered me for five minutes. Practically the second word out of his mouth was lying about his age, and when that didn't work, his "friend" ninja'd out of the shadows and lied some more. I told him he had the fountain of youth and he'd be so grateful in 10 years, but he needed to go get his ID. Never saw him again...
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby teardropper » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:06 am

I have refused to serve quite a few young folks. Absolutely none were the least offended at all or tried to talk me out of it. All swore they would start carrying it and understood why they weren't being served which leads me to believe they never sent vice to my little bar. These young people accepted it, even when a little drunk, with grace. So they couldn'ta been cops....
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby 9ah » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:57 am

Pretty sure none of you served me as I don't think I made it to your bars... BUT I tend to leave my ID at camp when I travel seeing as though I need it to fly home after the burn. It's not much fun trying to get through security without a valid ID. I carry a photocopy of my ID and take a photo of me holding my ID (standing in the outfit for the day). Worse case I don't get served. That's what I get for looking 20. :?

I'm planning on ordering a non-DL ID shortly. :D
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby Teo del Fuego » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:15 pm

I think it is silly and a bit adverse to the whole Burning Man experience for a bar to card EVERYONE. Card just those who appear to be close to the 21 age limit. I'm 51 and I am not carrying around my drivers license in my tutu, or whatever costume I happen to have on. If I were 25, I would be so thrilled to be that young that I would gladly hang my license from a lanyard around my neck.
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Re: Experience with serving alcohol?

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:54 pm

I think its silly and a bit adverse (really? I think that? I'm not comfortable with the phrasing "and a bit adverse", oh well) to have to pay thousands of dollars in fines for a camp mate not carding a 20 year old before giving him a drink because he got out of the routine of asking everyone for a card. Better to ask a question needlessly on auto-pilot than to have your holiday ruined like that.

Plus, you can always not drink at places that won't serve you without id.
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