Serving Alcohol at your Company Event this Summer? Tips to Mitigate Risk

HR Managers often feel the pressure to host events and activities for employees in the summer, especially during the nice weather. Summer in all its glory presents a time for outdoor events and social gatherings - a time for coworkers to connect in settings other than behind their desks and in conference rooms.

Offering alcoholic drinks at these events can be considered a nice gesture to bring employees together and reward them for their hard work. However, alcohol can also serve as a liability for an employer, especially when not managed effectively. Why? Summertime weather combined with social events can trigger heavy drinking behaviors for some individuals. In outdoor settings, such as a barbecue or cruise outing, people may feel more inclined to avoid setting drinking limits and therefore overindulge.

Despite the potential risks involved with serving alcohol, employers should host social events and gatherings for their employees. However, it is important to keep the following tips in mind to help effectively manage the event:

  • Always serve food. This allows your employees to eat while drinking. This is essential to avoid employees drinking alcohol on an empty stomach.

  • Offer a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to put less of an emphasis on alcohol consumption. This also allows you to provide beverage options for individuals who don’t drink or prefer not to drink at the event.

  • Consider serving wine and beer, not hard alcohol. This may help you manage drinking, overall. Hard alcohol (otherwise known as liquor) can quickly escalate intoxication.

  • Plan several activities.  People tend to drink less if they are active and taking part in fun activities, such as corn hole, bocci ball and badminton.  Not only does this help break the ice, but it’s a fun way for coworkers to mingle and get to know each other in a new light.

  • Have your team proactively manage the event. Don’t let your event become a free-for-all. Of course your employees are adults (and professionals), but it’s important to address potential issues early and have plans in place if someone does drink too much.  Managing the event will allow you to mitigate risk - whether involving alcohol or not.

If you or your team is thinking of offering a heavy drinking management tool to your employees, consider learning more about Annum here. Or, contact us directly at!

Debbie Dexter