I. Purpose

The purpose of this Alcohol Service Policy is to clarify the procedures and parameters for hosting an event with alcohol. This policy applies to all University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) departments, divisions, schools, colleges, units, faculty, staff, students, and any external entity or individuals serving alcohol on CU Boulder property. This includes events on an off-premise location if CU Boulder is funding any part of the cost of the event.

II. Policy

This policy governs how alcohol events may occur consistent with Regent Law and the CU Boulder Alcohol Service Policy Procedures.  The Vice Chancellor for Infrastructure and Sustainability is responsible for implementing this policy.

Any event with alcohol service and consumption must comply with this policy, the related procedures and applicable with state, municipal, and federal laws and regulations; Regent Laws and Policies; Administrative Policy Statements, and CU Boulder campus policies.

III. Definitions

  1. "Alcohol" means any alcoholic beverage, including beer, wine, spirituous liquor, hard seltzer and hard cider.
  2. "Campus Manager of Alcohol Service" means the staff member on the CU Boulder campus designated to approve applications for events where alcohol will be served.
  3. "Event" means any gathering on CU Boulder Property, including but not limited to conferences, fundraising events, receptions, pregame events, meals, or meetings. This definition also includes events that occur off University Property (including private residences) if CU Boulder is funding any part of the cost of the Event.
    1. “Event” does not include:
      1. A gathering of ten or fewer people in a staff or faculty member’s office. "Office" as used in this section does not include laboratory space or a departmental library or conference space.
      2. Normal business operations at The Connection in the University Memorial Center.
      3. Normal business operations conducted by a third-party vendor at the Folsom Field Athletic complex, CU Events Center and Prentup Soccer Field licensed to serve alcohol.
      4. Any off-campus gathering in a Licensed Premise.
  4. "Event Coordinator" means the CU Boulder employee who schedules the event and ensures compliance with all campus policies regarding alcohol and the State liquor code, applicable municipal code, and University policies for Private Events in public facilities where alcohol is present.  A non-CU Boulder employee cannot be the Event Coordinator.
  5. "Licensed Premise" means a specific location where the sale and service of alcohol for consumption on the location has been authorized under Colorado law. See the Alcohol Service Policy Procedures for current list of licensed premises. 
  6. "Private Event" means an event where alcohol being served is not open to the general public. In order to be a Private Event, the event must satisfy all of the following conditions:
    1. It must be by invitation only. Individual invitations are sent to specific attendees. This does not include an event where attendees register in response to an announcement of the event.
    2. A printed list of invited guests must be used to identify attendees at the entrance of the event to ensure that only invited attendees enter.
    3. The CU Boulder entity must not advertise the event as open to the public.
    4. The alcohol is free.  This does not include CU Boulder-sponsored events where the admission charge, registration fee or other charge for participation is the same regardless of whether or not the attendee consumes alcohol.
  7. "Sale of Alcohol" means that alcohol is served or delivered for dollar value.
    1. Alcohol is considered “for sale” at any event where alcohol is served:
      1. At a cash bar; or
      2. Alcohol is exchanged for drink tickets that have been purchased or for other evidence of payment; or
      3. Payment of a registration fee allows an individual to attend the event and be served alcohol; or
      4. A monetary collection takes place at the event to cover the costs of the alcohol; or
      5. Any donations of alcohol prior or during the event for the sale of alcohol.
  8. "Special Event Permit" means a permit issued by the Colorado Department of Revenue, Liquor Enforcement Division that authorizes the sale and service of alcohol at a specific location for a specific date and time for a large gathering of attendees.
  9. "University Property" means any property owned, leased, licensed or otherwise under the control of CU Boulder.

IV. Procedures 

Scheduling an Event Where Alcohol will be Served

  1. Any event where alcohol is served and consumed must be scheduled by a CU entity as provided in this policy using the DocuSign Event with Alcohol Authorization Form.

    1. This includes events scheduled in Special Use Facilities as defined in the Campus Use of University Facilities Policy.

  2. Events that have Special Event Permits must satisfy all requirements in the policy and procedures.
  3. The CU entity must receive appropriate approved documentation required for the event to take place.
  4. The CU Event Coordinator must enter scheduled events with alcohol into EMS Campus (or any future campus central scheduling) software system.

Required Parameters When Hosting an Event with Alcohol

a. Allowed Hours for Sale of Alcohol

  1. CU Boulder will only permit alcohol service in unlicensed premises between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. on the scheduled and pre-approved day.
  2. When alcohol service must end is dependent upon the length of the event:

Length of Event

When Alcohol Service Must End

1 hour

No last call

1 hour and 15 minutes

No last call

1 hour and 30 minutes

15 minutes prior to end

1 hour and 45 minutes

15 minutes prior to end

2 hours

30 minutes prior to end

2 hours and 30 minutes

30 minutes prior to end

3 hours

30 minutes prior to end

3 hours and 30 minutes

45 minutes prior to end

5 hours

1 hour prior to end

If the duration of the event is in between two listed durations, alcohol service must end at the shorter “last call” listed.  For example, if the event duration is 1 hour and 50 minutes, alcohol service must end 15 minutes prior to the end of the event.

  1. Alcohol service and consumption may only occur at the following events:
  1. An event at a Licensed Premise.
    1. Service of alcohol at the event must be in accordance with the liquor license for the Licensed Premise.  Licensed premises are:
      1. Folsom Field Athletic Complex (beer, wine and hard liquor)
      2. The Mary Rippon Theatre and portions of the University Theatre and Hellems Hall (beer and wine)
      3. The University Memorial Center (beer, wine and hard liquor).
      4. Coors Events Center (beer, wine and hard liquor)
      5. Macky Auditorium (beer and wine)
      6. Fiske Planetarium (beer, wine and hard liquor)
      7. Koenig Alumni Center (beer and wine)
  2. An event covered by a Special Event Permit.
    1. Service of alcohol at the event must be in accordance with and follow state conditions with the Special Event Permit for the location of the event.
  3. A private event where:
    1. The alcohol is provided free of charge, or
    2. The event is a CU Boulder Department sponsored event and the admission charge, registration fee or other charge for participation is the same regardless of whether or not the attendee consumes alcohol.

      c.   Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverage Requirements

  1. Food, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages must be available during any event.  Examples include reception foods, meals or sandwiches. Three proteins per person must be available throughout the entire duration of alcohol service.

d.   Source of Alcohol Being Served

  1. Alcohol may be purchased from a Colorado-licensed wholesaler, brewpub, retailer, vintner’s restaurant, limited winery, or liquor-licensed drugstore.
  2. Any of the entities listed in (i) above may donate alcohol to the event as long as the donated alcohol is used for hospitality or fund-raising purposes, and is not sold by the drink.
  3. A wholesaler may donate alcohol to a Special Event Permittee at no cost if such alcohol is used for hospitality or fundraising purposes, including resale by the drink.  The wholesaler shall provide an invoice documenting the donation of alcohol to the permittee, and should ensure all applicable state excise taxes are paid pursuant to section 44-3-503, C.R.S.
  4. Private or non-licensed sources of alcohol may not be served at the event.

    e. Area where Alcohol is Served

    1. The area where alcohol is served must be defined and clearly marked using readily identifiable barriers such as fencing and/or stanchions.
    2. For outdoor events, fencing/barriers shall follow building and fire codes. (See Campus Use of University Facilities Policy)
    3. The following signage must be a minimum of 8 ½” x 11” and must be posted at each entrance and exit.  No alcohol beyond this point; No One Under 21; PRIVATE EVENT; and Thank you for not tipping

  f.   Service of Alcohol

  1. No one under 21 years of age may be served or consume alcohol at any event.
  2. Any event serving alcohol pursuant to a State of Colorado Special Event Permit must follow the Special Event Permit requirements.  See Section V.
  3. Self-service of alcohol is prohibited.  Event attendees may not pour their own alcohol or be given direct access to coolers, kegs, bottles or containers containing alcohol or bottles or cans of alcohol.
  4. Event organizers must use wristbands to identify those old enough to drink alcohol. At a private event, organizers can use a nametag, wristband, or other means of identifying persons who have checked in at the entrance.
  5. Event organizers may use tickets or other means to limit or monitor the number of alcoholic drinks consumed.
  6. Event organizers should develop a "get home safe" booth for guests to call taxis, designated driver, or another safe ride home.
  7. No one may be served more than two drinks at any time.
  8. Drinking-oriented games and shots are prohibited.  
  9. BYOA (Bring your own alcohol) is prohibited on campus.

       g.   Servers of Alcohol

  1. Shall be trained to serve alcohol (TIPS Certification) if the event is taking place under a Special Event Permit.
  2. Shall be 21 years of age or older.
  3. Shall not serve anyone who is visibly intoxicated.
  4. Shall not consume alcohol before or while they are on the job.
  5. Shall properly wristband and verify that only persons 21 years of age and older are being served alcohol.

Event Monitoring and Security

  1. Each entrance and exit to the event must be monitored so that alcohol is not brought into or carried out of the event. 
  2. Proper signage must be posted at entrance and exit(s): No alcohol beyond this point; No One Under 21; PRIVATE EVENT; and Thank you for not tipping
  3. A printed list of invited attendees must be on site and utilized to identify attendees at the entrance to assure that only invited attendees enter. Only those individuals on this printed list of invited attendees will be permitted to enter the event.
  4. CUPD will determine security needs on a case-by-case basis.  CUPD will communicate directly with the Event Coordinator regarding event-specific security needs. Events may require a Community Safety Official (CSO) or CUPD staffing.
  5. Events in a private residence do not require security.

Special Event Permits

  1. The Colorado Department of Revenue, Liquor Enforcement Division (Liquor Enforcement) issues Special Event Permits, not CU Boulder.  A Special Event Permit creates a temporary Licensed Premise where alcohol may be sold, served, and consumed.
  2. A Special Event Permit is issued for a specific location and is not valid for any other location nor can the location be changed or altered once the Liquor Enforcement Division approves the Special Event Permit.
  3. Multiple locations will not be authorized under a single permit.
  4. Liquor Enforcement allots a finite number of Special Event Permits each calendar year to CU Boulder.
  5. Liquor Enforcement makes independent approval decisions for each event each calendar year.  Prior approvals do not guarantee approval in subsequent years.
  6. The Campus Manager of Alcohol Service, not individual CU Boulder departments, must submit all Special Event Permit applications to Liquor Enforcement directly.

Applying for a Special Event Permit

  1. The following entities may apply for a Special Event Permit at CU Boulder:
    1. University Departments are eligible to apply for a Special Event Permit, though may only apply through the Campus Manager of Alcohol Service and must use CU Boulder’s application process.
    2. Non-profit organizations must use CU Boulder’s process and may seek a Special Event Permit in collaboration with a CU Boulder affiliate.  A non-profit organization is one that has been granted 501(c)(3) tax exempt status by the United States Internal Revenue Service, including:
      1. a social, fraternal, political, athletic, and patriotic organization;
      2. a chartered local branch or chapter of a national association or society;
      3. a religious or philanthropic institution;
      4. a political candidate.
  2. The Event Coordinator must complete the Special Event Permit application process as directed by the Campus Manager of Alcohol Service.
  3. The Campus Manager of Alcohol Service, Risk Management, CUPD, and University Counsel must review and assess every Special Event Permit application. 
    1. Assessment factors include the following:
      1. The benefit to the campus from the event.
      2. The potential risk/liability to CU Boulder of the event.
      3. Any other applications that have been requested or approved.
  4. The Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or approved designee must approve each Special Event Permit application before submission to Liquor Enforcement.

V. Other Laws, Regulations, Policies, Administrative Policy Statements and Resources

  1. An event where alcohol is served must comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations; Regent Law and Policy, campus policies, and Administrative Policy Statements.
  2. This Alcohol Service Policy overrides any existing CU Boulder, department, school, college, or building policy or practice conflicting with this policy.
  3. Any applicable federal, state, or local law, Regent Law or policy shall control over this policy in the event of any conflict.
  4. The Campus Manager of Alcohol Service facilitates classes for TIPS certification.  Please visit the website to view https://www.colorado.edu/eventsplanning/tips-alcohol-service-classes or contact the Campus Manager of Alcohol Service at campusalcoholagent@colorado.edu  for additional information.
  5. This Alcohol Service Policy cross-references the Procurement Service Center Procedural Statement on Alcoholic Beverages for University Events, which must be followed when CU Boulder funds purchase alcohol.
  6. Resources and applicable policies include but is not limited to:

Revised Effective Date

May 23, 2023

Original Effective Date

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Approved By

Philip P. DiStefano, Chancellor


Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs