Maine Liquor Laws?

I was wondering if anyone knew how the Maine Liquor Laws worked if you are getting married somewhere that doesn't have a license? The coordinator there told me that if oeioke serve themselves no license is needed, but if it is being "dispensed" then a bartender with a license needs to be there? She said if people can get their own beer and wine then there's no need to hire a bartender?

Has anyone had any experience with a wedding at a private residence or at a place that is not traditionally a wedding venue (we're getting married at a marina.)
Thanks ladies!

Re: Maine Liquor Laws?

  • edited December 2011
    We are getting married at a private place that does not have a caterer associated with the venue so we must hire on our own. We were told that we must hire a licensed bartender, we can buy our own alcohol but we must have someone licensed to handout the alcohol. My understanding wasn't that there was an issure between if people are grabbing their own drinks or being served but that if someone drives home drunk and wants to sue the venue the bartender's insurance would be responsible....hope that helps!
  • edited December 2011
    Bartenders don't get licenses in Maine, bars do.  This includes catering companies which have bartenders as part of their staff.  Also, bartenders aren't individually insured for liability, it isn't a requirement of the state.  If you a hire a private bartender through a company then the company's insurance would cover the liability of the bartender on the litigation side of things.  If the bartender were to "over serve", then the bartender and the company you hired them through are criminally responsible for personal injury as a result of over serving and can be charged.  People have sued the bartender responsible, but I am not sure what the results of these cases were.  If no one is hired to serve the drinks and you have signed any document that releases your venue of liability in the event of personal injury then the person is held liable, otherwise the venue could be liable as well.  Also, if there are any minors in attendance that are found in possession of alcohol then all adults over the age of 18 can be considered criminally responsible or if it can be determined that one person or group of people provided the alcohol for the event then they would be held responsible.

    I would guess that this would be considered a "Qualified Catering Service" according to Maine's Liquor Laws.  See Chapter 1, Section 16 for specifics.

    Hope this helps!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • babystretchbabystretch member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    We are also having an outdoor wedding (in a field, at a family farm) in Maine and have the same bartender questions.  Our caterer can provide the bartenders- but also has to provide the liquor. Once the bar is closed, the liquor/beer/wine provided by the caterer can not be served.  We were wondering if we could provide qualified bartenders (plenty of experience) and buy our own liquor/beer/wine.  Without the caterer being liable- even though they are there, cleaning up glasses, etc. 
  • ArynLArynL member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I just got off the phone with the liquor commissioner.
    Here are your options (and mine):
    You can purchase and GIVE AWAY liquor at your residence/reception site AS LONG AS NO MONEY IS INVOLVED!!! no tips, no charging. You can hire or have a friend play bartender, but they can not SELL alcohol. With this option, YOU are liable for anyone who drinks too much and any consequences of that. NO ONE ELSE IS LIABLE even if someone else served- its YOUR event.
    You can have a licensed caterer come in and bartend. You pay them, they buy the alcohol and charge. THEY are completely liable for any over drinking and consequences.
    207-624-7220 option 2, Diane can help with any other questions.

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