Sale of Alcoholic Beverages to Non-Members
No holder of a club permit can sell or give alcoholic beverages to any person who is not a bona fide member of the club. Club membership also includes visiting members and members of an affiliated organization or association auxiliary. The only legal exception to the law is that a non-member may purchase his/her own alcoholic beverages during an approved guest day.
A fraternal or social club is permitted to apply for and receive a catering permit. A club that possesses a catering permit is entitled to cater to an event away from the club permit premise for their members only. However, non-members may be served at that event if the club uses a guest day as designated below.
Each fraternal or social club is permitted to designate seven (7) days per month as a guest day. During this authorized guest day, alcoholic beverages may be purchased by guests of the club as well as members. The main intent of the guest day when it was established by law was to allow clubs to recruit new membership and show the benefits of club membership to interested citizens. The Commission has an established procedure in place which must be followed in order to hold an authorized guest day. The club must contact the Excise Police office which has jurisdiction and request permission to hold a guest day. An authorized guest day may be requested on any day of the year. An Excise Officer will then mail, fax or email a club card listing the date requested. This card must be posted conspicuously on the premises during the day designated as Guest Day. Since the cards are sometimes sent second class mail, this request needs to be made at least ten (10) days in advance. You do not have official permission to hold this Guest Day unless the card is posted at the premises.
This is a practice that allows for registration of non-member guests. The club maintains a sign-in book and members are permitted to sign-in a non-member guest. The guest book should include the date, name of guest and signature of host member at the very least. Provision for guest books should be a policy that is made a part of the club by-laws. The purposes of the guest book are to allow friends and family access to the club facility and to monitor the purchase of alcoholic beverages by members for guests. The guest-member ratio is suggested by the Commission to be kept at near a one-to-one ratio. A club must keep a guest book in accordance with I.C. 7.1-3-20-8.6. The guest book policy does not allow the purchase of alcoholic beverages by non-members. Only an approved guest day authority allows for non-members to purchase alcoholic beverages.
Since the Commission regulates the distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages only, non-members may enter, loiter, and eat in the club facility without any sanctions. In addition, a non-member may pay for food or non-alcoholic drinks they wish to purchase.
Times When Sales Lawful
A club may sell and serve alcoholic beverages Monday thru Sunday, from 7:00 am, local time, to 3:00 am, local time the following morning. The club has thirty (30) minutes to clear the bar service after legal service hours. At 3:30 am, Monday thru Sunday, all alcoholic beverage consumption shall have ceased and all alcoholic beverage containers cleared away from areas of consumption. A club may be open for all other activities during the hours at which the club chooses to operate.
A club is prohibited from leasing or renting its bar facilities to an outside organization or persons. Non-members or members who rent a room other than the bar area may bring alcoholic beverages which have been purchased from someone other than the club into that room. A violation would occur if the club sold alcoholic beverages to a non-member who rented a room in the club’s facilities. A club may prepare food and provide services other than those related to alcoholic beverages to non-members. A club member may rent a room or rooms for special occasions and the club may furnish the alcoholic beverages. The member must pay for all alcoholic beverages either prior to or immediately after the event has concluded. There can be no cash bar for non-members unless a guest day authority has been obtained.
This list is intended as a guide to answer commonly asked questions for club members and officers. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the State Excise Police district office in your area.