How to Reduce Liquor Liability Claims

According to data from The Hanover Group, Beall Brewery Insurance reports, liquor liability ranks in the three most severe craft brewery losses.

Does your craft brewery have a spare $1 million that you could afford to lose?

“From a severity standpoint, liquor liability has more exposure than many other types of claims,” says Richard Beall, principal of Beall Brewery Insurance.

“The best defense is to prevent a claim in the first place,” he adds. “But there are a number of other steps craft breweries can take to try to prepare their defense in advance—in case they do face a liquor liability claim.”

Liquor Liability Claim-Reducing Tactics

Keep a digital eye out. Surveillance camera footage can be invaluable, recording patron behavior and time-stamping arrivals and departures. Because liquor liability claims can take a while to be discovered, it’s important to retain surveillance footage for three years.

Write it down. Train tasting room bartenders and servers to log all incidents as soon as they happen. Workers should describe the incident in as much detail as possible Be sure to include the time in and time out of the patron.

Hold on to that paperwork. In addition to retaining your incident log and surveillance footage, make it a policy to keep sales or credit card receipts and work schedules for at least three years.

The Benefits

It might take some extra work—and some extra storage—but maintaining these records can be a huge benefit for your brewery.

Take the case of one brewery tasting room where a couple of patrons spent a couple of hours in the early evening. After leaving the brewery, they went on to another bar or two, and then hit the road—and another car.

The car crash, which severely injured the driver, occurred at midnight. Because the craft brewery had the patrons’ credit card receipt, the business was able to show how much the pair had drunk at the brewery. They could also show how early in the evening they had left. The case, which resulted in a payout of more than $1 million, did much less damage to the brewery than it otherwise might have. Because of that documentation, it was found to be responsible for just 20% of the total.

Does your brewery have sufficient liquor liability coverage? Does it have an umbrella policy in place, in case it faces a large claim?

If you have questions about your policy, reach out to your insurance agent or contact Beall Brewery Insurance. A customized brewery insurance package tailored to the unique needs and exposures of your brewery can be a lifesaver if your business faces a large claim.

For more than 25 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of niche businesses, such as craft breweries, that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With California offices in Redlands and Newport Beach, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.