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Policies and and Practices for Alcohol at Wisconsin Festivals & Events

Wisconsin loves its outdoor summer festivals. Unfortunately, underage and binge drinking can be occurrences at summer festivals and outdoor events operating under temporary “Class B” or Class “B” licenses in Wisconsin. To determine which evidence-based policies and practices are being used by festivals, outdoor events, and other temporary licensees in your community, use the following Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project (WisAPP) resources:

Festival Assessment Form

Use this form to gather information on how effective organizations are at preventing underage drinking and sales to obviously intoxicated people—then use the information to educate the organizations and make festivals safer.

Download the festival assessment form (PDF)

Instructions on Scoring Festival Assessments

Assessing festivals is a task perfect for hands-on volunteers who want to get outside. Here are instructions on how to score the Festival Assessment Form.

Download the instructions on scoring festival assessments (PDF)

Municipalities may attach conditions to temporary licenses to reduce underage and binge drinking. The license conditions can ensure that the organization sponsoring each event implements specific strategies or else risks losing its license to sell alcohol beverages the following year. When alcohol beverage sales are essential to the operation and success of a festival, appending license conditions allows the festival to proceed while implementing policies that support community health and safety.

Even if a municipality has not attached license conditions to the temporary licenses, a community can still keep an eye on what is happening at its summer festivals and outdoor events. In the absence of clearly stated license conditions, some communities have found that policies that reduce underage drinking are more widely adopted voluntarily, but policies that reduce binge drinking are less frequently implemented. Gathering information can be useful to determine which organizations are being most effective at preventing underage drinking and sales to obviously intoxicated people.

Four policies and practices that prevent and reduce underage drinking

  1. ID checks at the entrance to serving area
  2. Wrist bands to identify attendees ages 21 or older
  3. Keeping people under age 21 out of the area where alcohol is sold or consumed, for example by using a secure perimeter (fence) around the serving area
  4. Distinguishable cups that allow for easy identification of alcohol vs alcohol-free beverages

Eight policies and practices that prevent and reduce binge drinking

  1. Limiting the number of beverages that can be purchased at a time
  2. Limit size of beverages served to single servings 12 oz or smaller of beer and other fermented malt beverages (e.g., hard seltzers & “wine” coolers), and 5 oz or smaller of wine
  3. No discount alcohol pricing
  4. No sales to obviously intoxicated individuals
  5. Prohibiting servers from drinking
  6. Food and alcohol-free beverages available where alcohol is sold
  7. Limit locations where signs may be displayed
  8. Ending alcohol sales one hour before closing