Procurement Policies and Procedures


ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES (as of 3/1/2024)

Guidance for Purchasing and Serving Alcohol at Events Hosted by Clemson University


Clemson implemented guidance on purchasing alcohol in August 2023 that allowed us to address State requirements in place at the time [Previous guidance dated 8/31/2023].  Recently the State Attorney General has clarified requirements that apply to Clemson when we purchase, transport and serve alcohol at an official function.  The following procedures are in effect immediately and replace the previous guidance from August.

2. DEFINITIONS (unchanged)
  1. Unlicensed Social Event is defined as an event in the state of S.C. where (a) Clemson is hosting, (b) beer, wine and/or liquor are served (c) there is no charge to the attendees to be at the event or to consume alcohol, and (d) the venue does not have a permanent alcohol license.  Examples are a departmental after-hours gathering, a free tailgate that provides alcohol, or a wedding reception.

  2. Authorized Alcohol Purchaser (AAP) is defined as someone in a college or budget center authorized by the Business Officer to be approved through the Procurement and Business Services department to purchase and transport alcohol under this guidanceThe Business Officer will direct those Authorized Alcohol Purchasers to the Procurement Director to confirm their understanding of the guidance and procedures outlined below. 

3. SCOPE (unchanged)

The following guidance applies to all Unlicensed Social Events in the state of S.C., both on Clemson property and on non-Clemson property. 

Clemson hosted events at out-of-state venues where alcohol is served must comply with local licensing requirements. 

Ticketed events or cash bars hosted by a not-for-profit related organization require a state issued Special Event License; this guidance does not apply to those type of events.  You must seek additional guidance from the University Procurement Director if you are planning to hold such an event to understand specific requirements.  Note the university itself is not eligible for Special Event Licenses.  

  1. Unlicensed Social Events
    1. All alcohol ordering, purchasing and serving of alcohol must be arranged through an approved University contracted caterer or food provider. Here on main campus, Aramark is your single point of contact for all these needs.  If you are off-campus and unsure about contract status, please contact Procurement Services.

    2. End user / department will coordinate with caterer to purchase any alcohol for the Unlicensed Social Event. The caterer is authorized to make the at cost alcohol purchase and transport any alcohol to the event.  There should not be a markup of the alcohol purchase price by any caterer ordering for us.

    3. Caterer will need to arrange for and/or provide bartending services per their contract terms.

    4. Caterer will then invoice the end user / department for the alcohol AT COST for the alcohol purchased for said event. In addition to the “at cost” alcohol invoice, an additional service fee for the catering services/bartending fees will be added to the event invoice.   

    5. Any unused alcohol that was purchased for the event but not used will be returned by the caterer to the vendor they purchased from, if the vendor allows and will provide a credit. Any opened alcohol or items that can not be returned must be poured out.  

    6. For on campus events, Aramark will create a Contract for Alcohol Purchase Price Only (separate from the Bar Package), and the University will pay Aramark from that invoice. In the case of Aramark on campus, Aramark will create invoice the client the cost for the final alcohol purchase and submit a copy of the final (adjusted) alcohol receipt.

    7. For off campus events, departments will need to work with the caterer and Procurement and Business Services to ensure a contract is entered that details appropriate specific pricing and invoicing policies. Further, departments will need to coordinate with the caterer on specific policies regarding return of unused alcohol which may vary caterer to caterer.

  2. Licensed Events
    Guidance for Licensed events where Clemson is charging people to attend, offering a cash bar or other events that include the sale of liquor, wine and/or beer in some manner must still be handled by obtaining a Special Event Permit, preferably by a not-for-profit affiliated entity.  These events require a Special Event Permit from SCDOR that the host is responsible for obtaining.  If you are considering hosting an event where payment is required to attend and alcohol is involved, please contact the Clemson University Procurement Director to get specific instruction and do so at least a month in advance of your event. 
What has changed from prior guidance?

The main change is that the role of the AAP is no longer required as Clemson is no longer required to purchase, deliver and inventory alcohol for Unlicensed Social Events if using an approved and contracted caterer.  Colleges / Division may choose to still utilize an AAP to advise their areas on such events, but these AAPs do NOT need to perform the duties as previously outlined.

What has not changed from prior guidance?

Events requiring a Special Event Permit will continue to need to be handled as one off events under approved permits from ABL.

Updated March 1, 2024

Previous guidance dated August 31, 2023