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If you operate a winery, distillery, brewery or cidery, you want to show your patrons a good time. You also need to pay attention to key patron safety issues that could result in expensive lawsuits. You can reduce your liability with risk management protocols that focus on common threats in the craft beverages industry.
A Family Friendly Environment
Although businesses that serve alcoholic beverages focus on an adult clientele, these locations can also be popular destinations for families. Therefore, it’s important to consider the potential risks involving children and possibly even dogs on the premises.
Serving alcohol to minors is an obvious issue that you need to avoid. In addition to implementing policies regarding IDs, make sure you’re avoiding mix-ups that could lead to children accidentally drinking alcoholic beverages. It’s happened before, and more than once. According to Reuters, the parents of a toddler in Michigan filed a lawsuit against an Applebee’s restaurant alleging that one of the employees served their child an alcoholic beverage instead of apple juice, leading to a BAC of 0.10. Eater’s describes a similar lawsuit involving a Mexican restaurant in Detroit that allegedly served a four-year-old a regular strawberry daiquiri instead of a non-alcoholic one.
Accidental underage drinking isn’t the only danger to watch for. If the parents are distracted, the kids may explore the area, engage in roughhousing and accidentally injure themselves. Assess the area for possible hazards.
Alcohol Liability and Dram Shop Laws
Even for patrons who are old enough to drink legally, overconsumption can be an issue. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, one in four people admitted to binge drinking in 2019. Every year, 95,000 people in the U.S. die from alcohol-related causes.
In some cases, the business that supplied the alcohol may be held liable. The National Conference of State Legislatures says that at least 30 states have dram shop laws that mean that licensed establishments can be held liable for selling or serving alcohol to individuals who go on to causes injuries or death.
Know your state’s laws and implement policies to reduce your liability.
Many craft beverage businesses offer tours to patrons. This can be a great way to increase interest in your business, but it can also expose patrons to hazards that they wouldn’t normally encounter.
Consider what dangers a curious patron could encounter. For example, do you have equipment or high pressure valves that could result in injury if misused? Do you use cleaning supplies that could cause injury? Keep an eye on patrons and make sure potential hazards are clearly marked.
Slip and Fall Incidents
Slips and fall incidents are another risk. According to the National Safety Council, more than eight million people required emergency room care for fall-related injuries in 2019.
Many objects that are common in businesses can become tripping hazards, including cords and chains intended to prevent theft. Changes in elevation and puddles of liquid can also contribute to injuries. Your patrons could be injured while on a tour of the operations, in the bathroom or simply walking to their table.
Walk the paths your patrons might take and carefully assess the potential risks. Take precautions to prevent slips falls, such as:
- Keeping pathways clear of tripping hazards
- Providing good lighting
- Using paint and signs to provide warning as needed, particularly in any area with an elevation change
- Keeping areas clean and maintaining sweep logs
The Bottom Line on Patron Safety
By examining your business with patron safety in mind, you can minimize the risk of injury, but the risk is never zero.
Propel can provide a customized insurance plan to help you manage your risks and protect your business. Contact us to learn more.
As a classically trained chef and insurance expert in the craft beverage industry, Jason has honed his palate for flavors as well as his skills in risk assessment. And he prides himself on his expertise in delivering the quality of service and knowledge, carefully crafted and tested over time, that his clients expect and deserve.
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