Guidelines for Alcohol Purchased with University Funds

University events that involve the service of alcohol purchased with university funds or using university resources must comply with the following guidelines.

  1. All university events on or off campus where alcohol is served are subject to the university Social Host Policy.
  2. All on-campus events where alcohol is served must register with and be approved by the Office of the Dean of Students. All off-campus events where students will or may be in attendance must also register and be approved.
  3. If the event involves the direct or indirect sale of alcohol, it must take place on licensed premises (e.g., a restaurant with a liquor license) or the alcohol must be purchased, transported and served by a vendor that has a liquor license and an off-premises catering permit allowing it to sell alcohol.
  4. If the event does not involve the direct or indirect sale of alcohol, the recommended procedure is to use the vendors Soiree Partners/Dreadnought Wines to purchase and transport the alcohol to the event.

These guidelines are further detailed below. Note that some scenarios require planning at least one month in advance of the event, so please familiarize yourself with these guidelines and the timelines involved.

All university events on campus where alcohol is served and off campus where students may or will be in attendance are subject to the university Social Host Policy and must be staffed by at least one person who has received Social Host Training. All staff and faculty who are on the exempt payroll are eligible to become Social Hosts. You must complete the Social Host Responsibility Session, offered through University Police, to become a Social Host. Please contact University Police at 8-2323 to arrange a session.

The Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students is responsible for the registration and approval of all university social events on campus where alcohol is served and off-campus events where students will or may be in attendance:

According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), a “sale” may be indirect as well as direct. A direct sale is a cash bar. Some examples of indirect sales are: (i) charging an entrance fee or selling tickets to an event where alcohol is served; (ii) requiring a donation or exchange of something of value as a requirement to attend an event where alcohol is served.

  • Determine if your event involves the direct or indirect sale of alcohol. You can contact the Office of the General Counsel for assistance if you’re not sure, x8-3747.
  • If your event involves the sale of alcohol: (i) the event must be held at a venue that has a liquor license, e.g., a restaurant, bar, winery, brewery, etc., or (ii) you must use a vendor that has a liquor license and an off-premises catering permit to purchase, transport and serve the alcohol.

Off-Premises Catering Permits. Certain venues that have a liquor license also possess an off-site catering permit that allows them to sell/serve alcohol on others’ premises (e.g. a restaurant with a liquor license and off-site catering permit may serve/sell alcohol on CMU premises).

Events with off-premises caterers must be planned well in advance due to PLCB requirements:  (i) the vendor must register the event with the PLCB at least 30 days in advance of the event; and (ii) the vendor must notify the PA State Police of the event at least 7 days before the event.

  • The event may not last longer than 5 hours and must end by midnight.
  • Food must be served. You can use a different vendor, for instance, Chartwells, CMU’s preferred on-campus caterer, to provide the food.
  • The off-premises catering vendor must provide an insurance certificate showing $1 million of liquor liability coverage.

If your event does not involve the sale of alcohol, the preferred option is to use the vendors Soiree Partners and Dreadnought Wines to purchase and transport the alcohol. If bartenders are being hired, the Carnegie Mellon event coordinator should hire RAMP certified and fully insured bartenders to serve the alcohol. (See UCO website for current list).  If a department chooses Chartwells, CMU’s preferred on-campus caterer, they will coordinate the hiring of bartenders, when necessary. 

  1. Contact Soiree Partners/Dreadnought: Carrie Robertson, 412-391-1709, to coordinate the purchase, transport, and storage of alcohol for the event.
  2. Soiree Partners/Dreadnought will send an estimate for the order. The final order must be confirmed with Soiree Partners/Dreadnought at least 3 weeks prior to the event date.
  3. After completing the Event Contract from Soiree, have it reviewed and signed by University Contracts prior to the event. (Please use Carnegie Mellon University as the “Client Name” and complete the Party Responsible for Billing i.e. PCard holder.)
  4. P-Cards may be used for these purchases, in line with university and departmental policies. However, be advised that there is a 4% fee on State Store and beer products if a credit card is used.
    1. Soiree Partners delivers for all alcoholic beverages ordered: wine, beer, and/or liquor. Soiree Partners will also order the applicable beer and/or liquor for the event.
    2. Dreadnought Wines will order the applicable wine for the event.
    3. Your approved social host event registration form (if required) must be attached to your PCard report.
    4. The estimate must paid at least 2 weeks prior to the event.
    5. Soiree Partners/Dreadnought will help coordinate the delivery for the event.
    6. After the event, Soiree Partners/Dreadnought will pick up any unused liquor or wine and issue a P-card credit.  Beer cannot be returned.