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Home - Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

Liquor Laws

Frequently Asked Questions (Continued)

May I furnish, sell and serve alcoholic beverages to my own guests at group events?  If so, what kind of permits will I need?
Yes. You and your guests can be accommodated several ways.

  • Single event permits

If you want to sell liquor (distilled spirits, wine, flavored malt beverages, and full-strength beer) at your event (i.e. a "cash bar", or alcohol "included in the price of admission" situations), or your event will be open to the general public, you must obtain a state single event permit from the DABC.  There are some limitations associated with these permits:

  • They need to be applied for in well in advance because the DABC Commission only issues them once a month at its regular meeting.
  • They are only available to bona fide corporations, partnerships, limited liability corporations, incorporated associations, churches, and political organizations that have been in existence for at least one year prior to the date of application. They are also available to recognized subordinate lodges, chapters, or other local units of these entities.
  • Qualifying organizations may apply for a permit type that allows either:
    • Up to 4 permits per calendar year for a time period that that does not exceed 120 consecutive hours (5 days) for each permit; or
    • Up to 12 permits per calendar year for a time period that does not exceed 72 consecutive hours each (3 days) for each permit.
  • Each permit costs $125.00; requires you to get the written consent of the local jurisdiction where the event will be held; and that you obtain a $1000 cash or surety bond in the amount of $1000.00 for the duration of the event.

If you only want to sell beer at your event, you will need a state temporary special event beer permit. Temporary event permits for the sale of beer (3.2%) are issued by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission for on-premise consumption at a temporary event that does not last longer than 30 days. Permits are issued by the commission once a month. Application must be made by the 10th of each month.. Each permit costs $100, requires you to get the written consent of the local jurisdiction where the event will be held; and that you obtain a $1,000 cash or surety bond in the amount of $1,000.00 for the duration of the event.

If you do not charge your guests for the alcoholic beverages and do not charge for admission to an event where alcohol is provided (i.e. a "hosted bar"), and your event is not open to the general public, then you will not need a permit from the DABC or from a local jurisdiction to serve liquor and beer at your event. State law requires no permit for a "privately hosted event or private social function" which is defined as:

"A specific social, business, or recreational event for which an entire room, area, or hall has been leased or rented, in advance by an identified group, and the event or function is limited in attendance to people who have been specifically designated and their guests." [It] does not include events or functions to which the general public is invited, whether for an admission fee or not."

Group events in restaurants or clubs. If you hold your event on the premises of a licensed restaurant or club, you have the choice of having the establishment serve your guests alcohol under the restaurant's or club's own license from their own alcoholic beverage inventory. Of course, all of the laws relating to alcoholic beverage service in restaurants and clubs would apply. Or, you could choose to lease or rent all or a portion of the restaurant or club for the day or night, and then sell liquor and beer you have separately purchased for your group under a single event permit and temporary beer permit. Or you could furnish your alcohol to your guests without charge under the "privately hosted event" or social function exception. Either way, the restaurant or club will likely charge your group a "set-up" or "corkage fee" for each bottle of alcohol opened on its premises.

Group events in unlicensed locations. If you lease space at a location that has no alcoholic beverage license, you must either obtain a single event permit and temporary beer permit to sell alcohol to your group, or conduct the event under the "privately hosted event" exception and furnish the alcohol to your private guests without charge.

If I rent a building under the name of my organization, or my own name, for use as a hospitality house or center, may I serve alcoholic beverages?
Yes. Again, you may sell liquor and beer under a single event permit issued by the state DABC, or beer under a temporary special event beer permit issued by the local jurisdiction. Or you may furnish alcoholic beverages without charge to your private guests without a permit.

May we operate our hospitality house or center without a permit under the "privately hosted event" exception if we have a limited guest list, but the house or center is open for the entire day, and our guests may come and go as they please?
Yes, as long as admission is limited to those on your guest list and their guests, and the house or center is not open to the general public.

Can our organization host an event at a private residence without a permit?
Yes, if you comply with the requirements of the "privately hosted event" exception.

If I serve alcoholic beverages under the "privately hosted event" exception, does Utah impose any restrictions on the hours of serving alcoholic beverages?
If the event is held on the premises of a club or tavern, no alcoholic beverages are allowed to be consumed after 1 a.m. and before 10 a.m. The State of Utah does not impose any limitation on when alcoholic beverages may be served at privately hosted events in other locations. However, local ordinances may restrict noise levels, etc. after certain hours.

If our group hires a caterer to provide all food and beverages, may we have them obtain the permits and purchase the alcohol for us?
No. If you choose to sell alcoholic beverages under a single event permit or beer under a temporary beer permit, your organization is responsible for getting your own permit(s). A caterer may assist you in getting the permit, but the caterer may not hold the permit in its own name. Also, caterers in Utah are not licensed or authorized to sell or resell alcoholic beverages. However, a caterer may purchase alcoholic beverages as your group's agent with monies advanced to them by the group.

Certain on-premise caterers at hotels, resorts, convention centers, or sports arenas may hold an on-premise banquet and catering license. If so, alcohol may be provided for contracted banquets under the manner of service of a cash bar, hosted bar or at a meal function (such as a dinner) where the drinks may be paid for by your guests or you may run a tab for the entire group, and pay for the alcoholic beverages at the end of the function.

May I purchase beer in kegs so that I can serve beer on draft rather than in bottles or cans?
Utah has a keg beer law that prohibits anyone other than a licensed beer retailer from possessing beer (3.2%) in containers larger than two liters. Thus, if you want to serve beer on draft, you will have to obtain a temporary beer permit for the sale and service of beer.

Once you obtain the permit, you may purchase beer in kegs from a local Utah beer wholesaler.

Utah law limits the sale of full strength (heavy) beer to bottles and cans not exceeding one (1) liter. Thus, the State does not stock or sell heavy beer in kegs, and full strength beer may not be dispensed on draft.

Accredited foreign diplomatic missions may possess and dispense their own heavy beer from kegs under certain restrictions.

>> More information on privately hosted events hosted by accredited foreign diplomatic missions.