Craft Brewery – Do I need Liquor Liability Insurance?

Do you own or run a Craft Brewery or Micro Brewery in South Carolina? Do you ever serve your product directly to your customers?  If you answered yes to both questions, then you need Liquor Liability Insurance.    Whether you are serving a craft brew or a high gravity beer, Liquor Liability will help protect you and your brewery!

What is Liquor Liability Insurance?

Liquor Liability protects your business and its assests should an interested party sue your business for damages related to their intoxication.

South Carolina Courts Crack Down on Serving the Intoxicated

It is common knowledge that those holding liquor permits in South Carolina cannot sell alcohol to those who are younger than 21 or already intoxicated.  (See S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-580.)

What if you cannot tell an individual is already intoxicated? The South Carolina Supreme Court in Hartfield v. The Getaway Lounge & Grill, Inc. (see here for the case law summary) held that a business may be found liable for the actions of a customer, even without evidence that the customer was visibly drunk.  This increased burden on any beer, wine, or liquor business must be taken into consideration.  Buy Liquor Liability Insurance to transfer this risk and set up good business practices in-house to prevent claims.

SC State Law Required?

No, South Carolina does not require this insurance, but you may need it to do business with other establishments, and you definitely need it to protect yourself!  A recent example is a beer tasting was held at a popular Columbia, SC venue where some craft brewers handed out samples.  Before this could occur, the venue required the brewers to show proof of liquor liability insurance to serve those samples.

How do you get Liquor Liability Insurance?

A good Brewery Insurance policy will have limits built into the policy form or has it so coverage can be easily added onto the policy.  You can also purchase this as a separate policy in some non-standard markets.

How much Liquor Liability Insurance does my Brewery need?

You are only doing tastings and the consumption limit per guest is 48 ounces of beer, right?  So you’re thinking you don’t need that much, just the bare minimum.  NOT SO FAST!  We live in a very litigious society and South Carolina is known for lawsuits against businesses of all sizes.  Start with at least $1M in limit.