Alcoholic Beverage Sales and Service, and Venue Liquor Licensing
Responsible University Officer: University Controller
Responsible University Officer: Vice President for University Services
Policy Owner: Executive Director of Contract Administration
Policy Owner: Director of Risk Management and Insurance
Policy Contact: Leslie Bowman, Ann Martin


Alcoholic beverage sales and/or service on University owned or operated property by University and non-University entities must be conducted as outlined below.

Sales and Service of Alcoholic Beverages

Sales of alcoholic beverages are only permitted via an authorized caterer or at a licensed venue.

Service, without sales, of alcoholic beverages is permitted in only two situations.

  1. If event meets criteria established by Risk Management as a "private University departmental event" (see definitions) or
  2. A department or Non-University entity is using an authorized caterer to serve the alcoholic beverages

University units and non-University entities must obtain advance approval from Risk Management prior to holding an event where alcoholic beverages will be sold or served by an authorized caterer or at a "private University departmental event."

Venue Liquor Licensing

University units pursuing Venue Liquor Licensing must submit a University Application for Alcohol License form to the University’s Alcohol License Oversight Committee (ALOC) to be considered for a State of Minnesota liquor license. The State issues alcoholic beverage licenses for the sale and service of alcohol for specific geographically defined venues. See Administrative Procedure: Applying for Alcohol License.

Applications will be considered if:

  • the sale and service of alcoholic beverages cannot be adequately managed through the use of an authorized caterer;
  • the requesting unit is able to justify the programmatic or business need for the license;
  • there is a structure in place or planned to support the sales and service of alcohol (e.g., inventory control, adequate security measures); and
  • the Unit has controls in place to prevent sales to minors.

The ALOC will review alcohol licenses every three years, see form: Application for Alcohol License Review/Renewal.

The Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety has the authority to revoke an alcohol license.

Alcoholic Beverage Purchase and Expenses

Purchase of alcohol by University departments:

Units may purchase, for use or consumption, alcoholic beverages under the following conditions:

  • the activity or event for which the expense is incurred must have a legitimate University business purpose (e.g., faculty recruitment or donor relations activities);
  • the alcoholic beverages must be paid for with University non-sponsored private funds only, and they must be allowable on the intended source of funds. See University Fund Types; and
  • the expenditure and the circumstances for the consumption of alcoholic beverages must not jeopardize the University’s reputation, or the health and welfare of those involved.

The payment of alcoholic beverage expenses must be correctly coded to comply with OMB Uniform Guidance requirements as explained in Administrative Procedure: Documenting Hospitality and Special Expenses.

Purchase of Alcohol for Licensed Venues

Units operating a licensed venue must comply with the following when purchasing alcoholic beverages for sale and service in that licensed venue:

Special Situations

Campuses, departments and colleges are not allowed to establish their own separate policies in lieu of this University-wide policy.


In unusual circumstances, an exception to this policy may be granted. Units must submit a request to the Office of Risk Management for consideration. Any exceptions granted will be documented in writing.


To implement Board of Regents Policy: Alcoholic Beverages on Campus. This policy specifies requirements for alcoholic beverage sales and service, application and authorization of University alcohol licensure and the process for monitoring compliance with State laws related to alcohol on University of Minnesota campuses. As a public institution, the University must demonstrate appropriate use of funds entrusted to it by various constituencies and assure that special expenses do not personally benefit University employees.

Adherence to these requirements will reduce the risks associated with the consumption of alcoholic beverages and provide a safe and healthy environment for students, staff, and visitors. Also to comply with Internal Revenue Service guidance regarding alcoholic beverage expense reimbursements and to satisfy restrictions imposed by funding agencies.

Primary Contact(s)
Leslie Bowman,
Executive Director of Contract Administration
Fax: 612-626-7655
Questions about or Requests for Approval to Serve Alcoholic Beverages
Office of Risk Management & Insurance


Alcoholic Beverage Sale
Any form of monetary exchange for alcohol including, but not limited to, an event registration fee, entry fee, beverage ticket, cash bar, etc. Fee does not need to be in direct exchange for the alcoholic beverage.
Alcoholic Beverage Service
Alcohol provided to attendees without monetary charge.
Authorized caterer with Permit or authorized caterer
A non-University caterer with a valid, state-issued "Caterer's Permit with Alcohol," and the required liquor liability insurance.
Food & Beverage (F&B) Vendor
A Management Company under contract to the University to operate food and beverages. F&B Vendors are contracted following normal University purchasing contract processes through University Contract Administration and University Purchasing Services. (On the Twin Cities campus athletics venues and Arboretum the F&B Vendor will be ARAMARK during the term of their contract with the University.)
Gross Sales
All sales revenues resulting from alcohol sales including sales tax.
Licensed Venue
University facility or geographically defined space where events are held that has been issued a State of Minnesota alcohol license.
Net Sales
All sales revenues resulting from alcohol sales less sales tax.
Non-University Entity
A group or individual not a part of the University, as well as University employees using University real estate for personal use and student organizations not covered by the University's liability insurance.
Private University Departmental Event
An event held by and for a University department (college, center, department, or unit), such as a departmental retirement party or a gathering of faculty to meet with a new recruit. For purposes of this policy, "private University departmental events" are events limited to employees and guests, are not open to the public, and may serve but not sell alcoholic beverages.
A University employee, or leased employee, 21 years of age or older, responsible for verifying the accuracy and count, accepting, storing, and securing of alcohol products delivered by the licensed wholesaler. The Receiver is also responsible for signing the invoice/delivery ticket, and delivering the signed invoice/delivery ticket to the Designated Representative or approved designee.
Any organizational entity within the University that has budgetary authority. Includes, but is not limited to campus, colleges, departments, centers, institutes, campus life programs, registered student organizations (RSO), etc. [RSOs cannot apply for a liquor license.]


Alcohol License Oversight Committee
Review applications for alcohol licensure at a University venue and provide recommendations to the President. The ALOC is comprised of the Executive Director of Contract Administration and representation from the Office of the General Counsel, Office of Risk Management and Insurance, Office of Student Affairs, and the Office of the President.
Chancellor, Vice President, Provost or Senior Vice President
Approve in writing University applications for alcohol license submitted by colleges or units.
Licensed Venue Designated Representative
Designated Representative is a University of Minnesota point of contact at each Licensed Venue who has the positional authority, and working knowledge of this policy and associated procedures. This employee is responsible to resolve issues of policy, procedure, accounting, purchase authorization or other alcohol related issues for that Licensed Venue.
Complete request forms to hold events where alcohol may be served on campus. Comply with the terms and conditions of this policy and procedures. Responsible to ensure alcoholic beverage expenses are documented in accordance with appropriate standards.
Office of the General Counsel
Review and approve transactions for legal compliance in accordance with Administrative Policy: Legal Review of Contracts and Transactions. Provide representation to serve on the Alcohol License Oversight Committee. Assist Units in completing the State of Minnesota application.
Office of Risk Management and Insurance
Identify and evaluate risks, arrange for the purchase of commercial property and liability insurance policies, processes claims and manages all retained or self-insured programs. Review and approve applications for serving alcoholic beverages on campus. Provide representation to serve on the Alcohol License Oversight Committee. Determine whether a unit’s event meets the criteria of a Private University Departmental Event and thus does not require an Authorized Caterer.
Office of Student Affairs
Monitor alcohol use among members of the University of Minnesota with a primary focus on student alcohol use. The Vice Provost for Student Affairs or designee serves on the Alcohol License Oversight Committee.
University Contract Administration
Provide system-wide administration of campus food and beverage contracts. Oversee purchase and handling of alcoholic beverages at University’s Licensed Venues. The Executive Director of Contract Administration chairs the Alcohol License Oversight Committee.
Provide guidance and assistance to departments in evaluating and determining the allowability of expenses in various situations.
University President
Assign designee to serve on the Alcohol License Oversight Committee. Annually or as needed, submit approved applications for alcohol licensure at University venues for Board of Regents review and action. Approve or delegate responsibility to approve any exceptions to this policy in alignment with Board policies.
Vice President for University Services
Oversee administration of alcoholic beverage sales, service and licensing across the University system. Ensure appropriate purchasing and handling processes are in place. Ensure appropriate environmental health and public safety services are available for events where alcoholic beverages are available in accordance with applicable law for sale and/or service.


December 2014 - Reference to A-21 changed to OMB Uniform Guidance in Policy Statement.
February 2013 - New Policy, Comprehensive Review: 1. Consolidates all alcohol-related policy information into this one policy. 2. Specifies the conditions under which alcohol may be served or sold at events, including private University departmental events, on University property. 3. Clarifies the process for applying for a State-issued alcoholic beverage license.

Document Feedback

Date Revised

February 2013

Date Effective

February 2013