University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Alcoholic Beverage Sales and Service, and Venue Liquor Licensing

Policy Statement

Alcoholic beverage sales and/or service on University owned or operated property by University and non-University entities is prohibited, except 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.

  • If event meets criteria established by Risk Management as a "private University departmental event" (see definitions) or
  • 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." Alcoholic beverage sales and/or service is prohibited unless Risk Management approves the Alcohol Use Application prior to the event.  This policy applies to Student Groups, including  all Campus Life Program events and Registered Student Organization events on University owned, leased or operated property.                     

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 (DOCX).

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

Operation of Licensed Venues

The University Unit may sell and/or serve alcoholic beverages only within the premises designated in the liquor license issued by the State of Minnesota ("Licensed Venue"). Sale, service, and carrying of alcoholic beverages outside of the boundaries of the Licensed Venue is strictly prohibited.

The University Unit must operate the Licensed Venue in accordance with the University Unit's Application for Alcohol License (initial and review/renewal), the Board of Regents' resolution approving such Application for Alcohol License, and the liquor license issued by the State of Minnesota.

The hours of sale of alcoholic beverages in the Licensed Venue will be established by the University Unit managing the Licensed Venue and reviewed and approved by the ALOC. Sale of alcoholic beverages will stop at least 30 minutes before the Licensed Venue closes. Alcoholic beverages will not be sold or served during the following times:

  • 1:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Monday through Sunday
  • After the Licensed Venue closes

At all times during the alcohol service hours, the University Unit will provide for food service in amounts sufficient for all attendees at an event.

The University Unit will post the liquor license in a conspicuous place in the Licensed Venue, positioned so it can be seen by most patrons.

The University Unit will also conspicuously post the sign provided by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Alcohol Enforcement, which incorporates the following information: (i) that the Licensed Venue is prohibited by law to sell or serve alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 years of age or anyone who is obviously intoxicated, (ii) the maximum criminal penalties for driving a vehicle or committing vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol, and (iii) warning of the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

If a Food & Beverage Vendor (and not the University Unit managing the Licensed Venue) is providing alcohol sales and service to the Licensed Venue pursuant to a contract between the University and the      Food & Beverage Vendor, the Food & Beverage Vendor is responsible for complying with this policy and its associated Appendices and Procedures in performance of its contract obligations.

Licensed Venue Managers and Servers

The Licensed Venue manager is responsible for the conduct of persons at the Licensed Venue and sobriety and order in the Licensed Venue. Any sale or service of alcoholic beverages from the Licensed Venue by any server, barkeeper or other employee must be deemed the act of the manager as well as that of the person actually making the sale or service.

The University Unit's managers, employees, agents and contractors selling or serving alcoholic beverages (managers, supervisors, bartenders, servers, catering staff) must complete an approved liquor service training program (e.g. TIPS®). The training must be completed (i) prior to selling or serving by the employee or manager; and (ii) annually thereafter. The University Unit will maintain documentation evidencing such training. -

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 comply with the requirements as explained in Administrative Policies: Hospitality and Entertainment of non-Employees and Processing, Documenting, and Approving Financial and Accounting Transactions.

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:

Inspections of Licensed Venues

Licensed Venue operation is subject to inspections by representatives of the University’s Department of Building Codes; the University of Minnesota Police Department or local law enforcement; the University Unit's designated representative; and the State of Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety, Alcohol Enforcement Office.

The UMPD or local law enforcement will design, plan, and train for compliance checks of Licensed Venues and conduct them periodically. UMPD or local law enforcement will present reports of such checks to the University Unit, with copies to University Services.

Special Situations

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

State Law

In addition to the requirements contained in this Policy, its Appendices, and Procedures, the University Unit managing the Licensed Venue (defined below) will comply with Minnesota Statutes Chapter 340A and Minnesota Rules Chapter 7515 relating to retail sale, distribution and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the Licensed Venue. For assistance with these Procedures, please contact the policy contacts.

Reason for Policy

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)Amy Keran, Director of Contract Administration612-624-0010Fax: 612-626-7655
[email protected]
Questions about or Requests for Approval to Serve Alcoholic BeveragesOffice of Risk Management & Insurance612-624-5884[email protected]
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Associate Vice President and Controller
  • Vice President for University Services
  • Interim Associate Vice President Auxiliary Services
  • Director of Risk Management and Insurance
  • Amy Keran
    Director, Contract Administration
  • Ann Martin
    Associate Director of Risk Management and 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 and liquor gross receipt 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 and liquor gross receipt 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.

Private University Departmental Event

An event held by and for a University department (college, center, department, or unit), such as a 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. The purpose for the events must be in compliance with Administrative Policies: Hospitality and Entertainment of Non-Employees or Business Expenses.


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 groups, etc.


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 Office of the President and representation from the Office of the General Counsel, Office of Risk Management and Insurance, Office for Student Affairs, and Contract Administration. .

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. This person is also charged with the responsibility of assuring all policies and procedures related to alcohol at a Licensed Venue are being followed.


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 Board of Regents 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.


Provide guidance and assistance to departments in evaluating and determining the allowability of expenses in various situations.

University of Minnesota Police or Local Law Enforcement

Design, plan, and train for compliance checks of Licensed Venues and conduct them periodically. Present reports of such checks to the University Unit, with copies to University Services.

University President

Assign designee to serve on and convene the Alcohol License Oversight Committee. Resolve conflicts regarding licensure requests. 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. The Office of the President chairs the Alcohol License Oversight Committee.

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.



February 2021 - Comprehensive Review, Minor Revisions. Added licenses for Northrop Auditorium, Les Bolstad Golf Course, Morris Student Center and Duluth Kirby Center. Transfers leadership of ALOC Committee from Contract Administration to the President’s Office.


July 2015 - Comprehensive Review, Major Revision. Provides new requirements (rules) for the handling and service of alcohol at licensed venues. These requirements include training, conduct, hours of service, and the eligibility of individuals who will be serving the alcohol. Specifies that inspections and compliance checks will be conducted periodically by either Environmental Health and Safety or law enforcement.


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.