Champagne Estate Sales – Cheers or Tears of Liability?

With estate sale competition heightened, many estate sale companies are creating a new social gathering and interest around their client’s estate sales by hosting “Champagne Estate Sales“.  These sale events include the consumption of alcohol while you shop, how fun right?  What about the liability?

Combining shopping and champagne has been around for years, but a social host may be liable if an attendee or a guest is injured due to alcohol consumption.

people toasting during a champagne event

When am I responsible?

The laws vary depending on the State you’re in, but most states will impose the laws if you as a host are deemed “reckless”

Unless you’re licensed to sell liquor, you’re likely not liable under Dram Shop laws, which hold bars responsible for alcohol related injuries.  You may however be responsible for alcohol related injuries at estate sales if:

  • The alcohol is served to a minor
  • You do not monitor and recognize the level of your guest’s intoxication

While many estate sale professionals do not agree with the Champagne estate sale event, and would never consider it, there are many others that continue to hold them on a regular basis.

A little prevention can go a long way, here are some preventive measures to implement when it comes to social business events such as these:

Obviously the focus of the gathering is estate sales, but if you choose to provide drinks, stick to the non-alcoholic beverages, this eliminates you investing the time and resources to monitor the crowd, your employees, and any client or company liability.

An estate sale is an estate sale not a party, don’t do it, it’s not worth it.  Simone Kelly with Grasons Co., an Orange County estate sale company.

However, if you choose to focus your estate sale on entertaining with alcohol while you shop, there are many things you can do to minimize the possibilities for client and company liability.

  • Hire an alcohol licensed catering company, their servers can monitor the alcohol intake and cut off attendees when it’s necessary.
  • Make sure no alcohol is served to minors or your employees
  • Discourage excessive drinking and stop serving if anyone appears visibly intoxicated

Check with your state on the laws, and regulations prior to implementing such risky new ideas.  When it comes to all the estate sale company responsibilities, one has to wonder if this added responsibility and liability is even worth it.

Readers: Have you attended an estate sale that served alcohol?

Professionals: Have you or would you consider serving alcohol at an estate sale or would you consider it a liability.


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