Beer Festival 101: Protecting Your Organization

Beer festivals are frequent (and welcome) occurrences throughout the year. So much so, in fact, that breweries might be forgiven for thinking they must be simple to organize.

But if you’ve participated in—or put together—a beer festival, you already know that such an event is far from simple. And event planning is both a science and an art (and that luck really helps make things run smoothly!).

Whether you’re an old hand at beer festivals, or you plan to make this the year you dip your toe in the festival waters, it’s a great idea to review the points that can help you organize an event successfully—and ensure that your business emerges at the other end unscathed.

For this first in a series of festival-related posts, it won’t surprise you to see that we’re focusing on insurance.

Insurance for Beer Festival Organizers

  • Is your guild organizing a beer festival? Before proceeding too far with your planning, make sure you check on the Directors and Officers policy that protects your guild board members.
  • Consider where you will hold the festival. If it will be at or near a brewpub, it’s possible that company’s liability insurance may cover the festival.
  • Do you need an Event Policy, or does your brewery insurance agent have other suggestions to ensure that your guild is protected?
  • Remember that any company you contract with—for instance, a company providing portable bathrooms for the duration of the event—should add your organization to their insurance as an additional insured.
  • Obtain certificates of insurance, adding your guild as an additional insured to general liability and business auto coverage, from all vendors that are not providing beer. (Your general liability and liquor liability policies should cover brewery participants.)
  • Consider additional coverages such as damage to rented premises, medical expenses, and umbrella.
  • Double and triple check your general liability and liquor liability coverage and costs for the event.

Protection for Beer Festival Participants

  • Be sure the festival follows all laws and regulations. What do you know about the festival host? Do you know how your host impacts your own rights and responsibilities? (For instance, if a nonprofit hosts a beer festival, only that nonprofit can receive any portion of alcohol sales. Additionally, the brewery may not require employees to volunteer at the festival, nor can it pay employees to work the event. Requirements differ if, for instance, a management company hosts the event.
  • Are you renting a vehicle—or are employees using their own vehicles—to transport product to a beer festival? Be sure your brewery insurance package includes hired and non-owned vehicles.
  • Your liquor liability coverage may provide the protection you need in case festival-goers overimbibe and damage property, other people, or themselves. But be sure to properly train brewery employees working the event. They should be able to recognize the signs of intoxication. In addition, they should know how to stop service to an intoxicated person.
  • Be sure to read the festival contract very carefully before signing. You don’t want a contractual obligation to cover risks that your brewery insurance doesn’t cover.

Our number one tip? Go over the details of your event carefully with your brewery insurance agent. The last thing you want is for an incident to occur, and only then do you realize that you don’t really have enough coverage.

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.