There are several matters to take into consideration when planning to serve alcohol at an event – it can be expensive, time-consuming, and risky.

First, question if alcohol is necessary and to what extent? Is the event based on alcohol or is alcohol a minor component to an otherwise great event?

Secondly, ask “by serving alcohol am I excluding possible attendees or members?” The majority of campus is not of legal age to drink and will not feel included.

If you decide that serving alcohol is something your group would like to do, you must go to the SAIL Office at least 4 weeks prior to your event to meet with a staff member to review any needs, requirements, and approvals.

What You Must Know

The following are a few highlights to keep in mind when planning:


Advertisements on flyers, facebook, banners, etc, that mention alcohol (“free beer”) or encourage increased consumption (“Happy Hours”) are prohibited.

  • Kegs are allowed with prior approval from SAIL because only a certain amount of kegs are allowed to be ordered per week/weekend.
  • Keg costs vary from $200-$400. Distributors may buy back any untapped kegs.
  • You must provide 12 oz. clear cups.
  • Alcohol must be ordered through Aramark Catering Services. Students are not permitted to place alcohol orders for events.
  • If you wish to sell alcohol, a town permit will be required; visit the SAIL office 2 months prior to your event.
  • Students are not permitted to serve alcohol under any circumstances.
  • Aramark will charge for a bartender which can cost $200 or more.

**In total, serving alcohol can cost your group $750-$1,100.

Event Management
  • Wristbands must be used at events where alcohol is being served – including senior events. Wristbands can cost about $30-50.
  • The SAIL Office can work with you to order particular styles. Imprinted wristbands need to be ordered at least one month in advance of the event which can cost $50-100.
  • If the event is outside, a beer garden (a secure area with snow fencing) may be required.
  • Events must be staffed fully. At a minimum you will need 4 students who will be responsible for checking I.D.’s, distributing wristbands, and monitoring the area.
  • You will need a Public Safety and Norton Police Detail during your event.
  • All organizers of the event must be and remain sober for the entirety of the event.
  • You must provide food and non-alcoholic drinks. One keg means that you should plan to spend $300-400 on food/drinks. Food must be substantial, candy and chips are not acceptable.

The Law

Although Wheaton College is a private institution, we are legally required to abide by all state and federal laws, which include:

  • Must be 21 years or older to consume alcohol.
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed on public grounds (resident hallways, Dimple) without a permit
  • Supplying underage minors with alcohol is prohibited.
  • Possession, selling, and using marijuana and other drugs is prohibited.