In short; A person is intoxicated if their speech, balance, behaviour OR coordination is noticeably affected by the consumption of liquor.
Noticeably is the word that is highlighted here as therein lies the rub. Noticeably means basically that it’s obvious, which does sometimes require an experienced eye to discern.*
On a vertical scale where the bottom of the scale is sobriety and the top of the scale is paralytic drunk, in the hospital getting one’s stomach pumped kind of thing, the definition of intoxication is just a few rings down from the top notch.
Below the line of intoxication though is “merry”, a zone where patrons are having a great time, they’re no doubt feeling the effects of the alcohol but are not exhibiting any clearly noticeable signs as per the definition. This is the zone that via right psychological and physiological management of patrons they can be assisted to not go out of in the wrong direction.
We seek to do this firstly because its the law to not allow them to reach intoxication, but secondly because it’s generally bad business to do so. Why bad business? Because it’s bad hospitality for a number of reasons, one of which is that it leads to probable regrets the next day from over consumption via the effects of hangovers, ultimately leads to burn out i.e. non-sustainability of drinking culture in individuals, and also makes the venue more unsafe as well as the venue’s surrounds, which leads to all types of problems as well as pressure on the industry from the community represented by it’s government’s officials.
But how do we assist patrons from crossing this line without them complaining of living in a nanny state or accusing us of being over-bearing?
With the right knowledge and tools it’s quite easy to do. The reality is that most patrons appreciate the assistance, you can tell this cause they say ‘thank you’ and directly compliment the venue on providing it. The small handful that don’t appreciate it usually get managed by their friends or colleagues either by peer example or by them directly instructing their friends. Others who even still don’t want to comply just have to be dealt with like anyone else who reaches intoxication. From experience though we do see these people ultimately come around to enjoying the added hospitality they’re receiving.
The way in which we provide Special Alcohol Management Service (SAMS) to drinking patrons is to be mindful of their physiology e.g. that alcohol is dehydrating them and the effects of that, and to be mindful of their psychology e.g. that we can control their mood by the way in which we interact with them. By doing both these things effectively then it naturally follows that the benefits to the venue will be forthcoming.
*Some examples of what noticeably affected Speech, Balance, Behaviour, Coordination looks like;
SPEECH – Slur words, talk in rambling or unintelligible sentences, are incoherent or muddled in their speech
BALANCE – Are unsteady on their feet, stumble or bump into people or objects, sway uncontrollably or cannot stand or walk straight
BEHAVIOUR – Become rude, aggressive, or offensive, are unable to concentrate or follow instructions, become boisterous or pester others.
COORDINATION – Fumble to light a cigarette, have difficulty in counting money or paying, spill or drop drink, have difficulty in opening or closing doors