Changes regarding alcohol at WisCon parties

WisCon 40 Chair

After examining our insurance policy and our contract with the hotel, WisCon is making some changes to the way alcohol is served at parties in convention spaces.  Here are the main points:

Party hosts can no longer directly serve alcoholic beverages to their guests.  Instead, they will be able to provide (sealed, legally purchased) bottles to a hotel bartender on the sixth floor who will serve them.  The bartender will be on duty during some of the party hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights during the convention.  The Parties Coordinator will be working with party hosts to determine exactly which hours those will be.

As always, alcohol will be available for purchase from the hotel at the bar on the first floor, in the Governor’s Club, and at the bar on the second floor during special events (such as the Dessert Salon and the Karaoke Party).

Why are these changes happening?

This is the best way to satisfy the constraints of our insurance policy, our contract with the hotel, and the hotel’s liquor license.  This ensures that alcohol is served at the convention in a way that is aboveboard and, most importantly, safe.

What about homebrew?

Unfortunately, the hotel’s liquor license does not allow it to serve homebrew.  The same goes for premixed cocktails (although the bartender will be able to mix drinks).

How does this affect room parties?

Parties held in private hotel rooms are unaffected.  Parties held in rooms that receive the sixth floor discount may have some additional, minor restrictions.

2 thoughts on “Changes regarding alcohol at WisCon parties”

  1. the end of an era. aka, no homebrew for you. and it sucks. not just because wiscon attendees will no longer be able to enjoy my homebrew, but because this truly changes the tenor of the parties at wiscon. once upon a time, the entire 6th floor was a party. loud rooms, quiet rooms, wet rooms, dry rooms, crafty rooms, talky rooms, dancy rooms, etc. the *entire* floor was a party. one could wander from room to room and find the party flavor that suited them best. but no more. and that, i think, is unfortunate.

    i also don’t like the implication that homebrew is illegal (you point out that party hosts can provide “sealed, legally purchased” bottles to a hotel bartender), or the implication that homebrew is unsafe and somehow not aboveboard: “[the new policy] ensures that alcohol is served at the convention in a way that is aboveboard and, most importantly, safe.”

    i truly enjoyed brewing and serving to the of-age attendees of wiscon for the past decade. thank you to all who came to my parties. i’ll miss ya.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Kristopher. We know that your homebrew was the highlight of parties for many a WisCon attendee.

      A few points of clarification. The change to the entire (or nearly entire) sixth floor being a party zone happened a few years ago when the Concourse renovated and had fewer salon rooms available for parties. WisCon chose to use the second floor precisely so that we didn’t have to limit the number of parties. This space, where the Concourse’s liquor license restricts hosts from providing alcohol, is becoming a good venue for hosts and party-goers who wish to have an alcohol-lite/-free experience for any variety of reasons.

      The new alcohol policy as laid out in the post above in no way limits anyone’s ability to serve homebrew if you’re hosting a private room party. As we note, “Parties held in private hotel rooms are unaffected.” The updated policy applies to parties that are officially scheduled as part of WisCon’s programming.

      It’s unfortunate that you’ve interpreted the comment about making sure that alcohol is served in a way that is “safe” to imply we and the Concourse don’t find homebrew safe. If that were the case, it would have been called out in the section dedicated to “homebrew.”

      Ultimately, ensuring that alcohol is served in a way that’s safe comes back to your reminiscence of when the sixth floor did seem like a party from one end to the other. One entire floor of the hotel turning into a massive party with an alcoholic smorsgabord is not a safe environment for everyone. For one thing, with everyone pressed onto one floor for all parties, the hallway would become over-crowded despite our best blue tape efforts, making mobility hard for any number of WisCon members. And for another, by now turning all dispensing of alcohol over to the Concourse’s licensed professional bartenders on staff, we know they’ll be watching out to make sure they don’t serve minors or anyone who’s already well intoxicated — because they are, by law, required to do so.

      We still welcome parties at WisCon. We want people to have fun at parties at WisCon. But in order to maintain the parties as an enjoyable space for as many members as possible, that absolutely means that we need to take what steps we can to ensure that alcohol is served safely and responsibly.

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