Advertising & Purchasing

University of Alberta groups must not promote over-consumption or high-risk drinking behaviours at events. The advertising and purchasing guidelines below will help event organizers plan safe events. Event organizers must receive approval for an alcohol event before advertising it. Staff groups request approval through the online application and student groups request approval through BearsDen.

Brand Advertising & Sponsorship

There are specific rules in Alberta about sponsorship, exclusivity agreements, and advertisements promoting a specific brand of liquor at an alcohol event. Such events held under the University of Alberta's institutional license require the prior approval of the AGLC. Please be sure to contact us for approval if you are organizing an event including brand sponsorship. For further details about advertising and sponsorship restrictions in Alberta, please refer to the AGLC Handbook, section 7.

Campus Providers

For events held under the University of Alberta's liquor license (i.e. under the Class C institutional license), alcohol must be ordered from one of two approved campus providers: Classic Fare Catering or Horowitz Events Centre (SU).

  • We recommend that you order your alcohol before you submit your permit application to ensure that the campus outlet has product available.
  • Classic Fare Catering and the Horowitz Events Centre team also have ProServe-trained bartenders for hire for special events.
  • Groups will be required to show the campus provider the completed permit (sent to event organizer once event is approved) or in order to pick up their alcohol order.
  • The proof of purchase (itemized receipt for alcohol) must be present at the event.
  • Departments, faculties, and administrative units should be aware that there are restrictions on spending operating funds on employee functions (see Hospitality, Working Sessions/Meetings, and University Employee Functions Procedure for more information).
Drink Specials

Event organizers may set their own prices for cash bar events (as long as they meet minimum price guidelines) but must not promote over-consumption. Free drinks or discount specials that include more than 1 drink for a single price, such as "all you can drink," "2 for 1," or "4 beers for $20 (when the price of 1 beer is $5.50)" are never allowed. In other words, organizers can advertise multiple drink "specials" on a menu only if the drink price equals what a single drink would cost when divided.

Drinking Games & Pub Crawls

High risk activities that promote over-consumption, such as drinking games and itineraries including more than one bar (i.e. bar-hopping or pub crawls), are not allowed at University of Alberta events and should never be advertised.

Free Drinks

University of Alberta groups must never advertise that an event includes "free" or "complimentary" drinks. Discounted prices may be advertised as long as they are not lower than the minimum prices set by the AGLC. Groups may also advertise that the event ticket price includes a prepaid beverage, but the ad must include the amount of liquor that will be provided to ensure that the drink prices comply with minimum price guidelines.

"Ticket price includes one prepaid drink (1oz highball, 12oz draught beer, or 341 ml bottled beer)."
"Present for priority entrance until 10:30pm and a prepaid highball (1 oz.) or Yellowhead pint (12 oz.) until 11pm."

For more information on advertising rules regarding prepaid drinks, please refer to the AGLC Handbook, section 7.2.4 and 7.2.5.

Minimum Drink Prices

University of Alberta groups must follow the minimum price guidelines set by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis (AGLC) at all events with a cash bar held under the university's institutional liquor licence or AGLC Special Event License. Please note that these prices do not include GST.

The minimum drink prices are:

  • Draught beer: $0.16 per 28.5 ml or 1 oz. (or less)
  • Bottled/Canned Beer, Cider or Coolers: $2.75 per 341 ml bottle or 355 ml can
  • Wine: $0.35 per 28.5 ml or 1 oz.
  • Spirits & liqueurs (i.e. gin, rum, voldka, etc.): $2.75 per 28.5 ml or 1 oz.

Based on the AGLC's standard drink guidelines, this means that a standard drink price must be at least:

  • Draught beer (12 oz.): $1.92
  • Bottled/Canned Beer, Cider or Coolers (341 ml bottle or 355 ml can): $2.75
  • Wine (142 ml or 5 oz.): $1.75
  • Spirits & liqueurs (28.5 ml or 1 oz.): $2.75
Private vs Public Events

Please note that campus alcohol events held under our Class C license must only be advertised if the ad clearly indicates that admission is restricted to University of Alberta staff, students, alumni and their invited guests (including anything advertised on a website, poster, by word of mouth, etc).

Events held under a Private Special Event License must only be advertised directly to members and invited guests, and may only be shared through community channels such as posters or community boards. Alcohol events that are open to the general public and held under the university's license or a Special Event License require approval on a case-by-case basis from the Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis because the University of Alberta's alcohol license is for private events only.

Event organizers should read about AGLC's approval process for public special events if they intend to invite the general public to an alcohol event on campus. This application process must be started in coordination with Insurance & Risk Assessment at least 3 months before an event.

There are several venues on the university's campuses that have appropriate staff and licensing for external groups, but there are also some popular event venues on campus that have a Class C (Post Secondary) license, and must adhere to the "members only" advertising rule. Organizers can review the information about licensed venues on campus but should feel free to contact us about

For more information on advertising rules under Class C licenses, please refer to the AGLC Handbook, section 7.2.

Promotional Giveaways

Alcohol may never be given away as a gift (see the Gift Expenditure Procedure for details) or as a contest prize at a University of Alberta alcohol event. Groups may not use free drinks as a value-added promotion or incentive for an event. Groups may use related merchandise (such as branded t-shirts or glassware) as prizes. Please note that any time groups sell tickets for a chance to win a prize they must first apply online for a raffle license from AGLC. See section 8.4 of the AGLC Licensee Handbook for more details.

Example of a legal promotional giveaway: The first 100 tickets sold include a free t-shirt.

Example of a legal raffle: Buy a ticket for a chance to win a pair of donated tickets as a fundraiser for a student group (if the student group has obtained a raffle license).

Please note: For raffles where ticket sales will be worth more than $10,000, there is a more complex license application process. It takes two weeks to be approved and many groups are not considered eligible for these licenses, depending on their purpose and activities.

Purchasing Guidelines

Alcohol orders should be calculated by planning for a maximum of one drink per hour per guest, multiplied by the number of hours that drinks are being served. Event organizers are also encouraged to consider Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, which stipulate no more than 3-4 drinks per person on a single occasion. So, for example, an organizer might order the equivalent of 150 drinks for an event for 50 people, if the bar will be open for 3 hours.

Standard drink sizes according to the AGLC are:

  • 341 ml or 12 oz. of beer, cider, or cooler
  • 142 ml or 5 oz. of wine
  • 28.5 ml or 1 oz. of spirits & liquers (i.e. gin, rum, voldka, etc.)

Event organizers must ensure that non-alcoholic beverages (and food) are available throughout the event. Non-alcoholic beverages should be provided free of charge to designated drivers.

Departments, faculties, and administrative units should be aware that there are restrictions on spending operating funds on employee functions (see Hospitality, Working Sessions/Meetings and University Employee Functions Procedure for more information).

Responsible Advertising

Advertising for alcohol events must not be targeted at minors, encourage excessive drinking or promote any kind of irresponsible consumption or service of alcohol. Images in advertisements must not include minors, depict illegal or dangerous scenes, or contain an unreasonable quantity of alcohol.

Samples & Tastings

Product sampling can only take place under the University of Alberta's license if an event is by invitation only (no public advertising) and is a non-sale event (host bar). The group organizing the event will need to apply for permission to hold the alcohol event as usual through the appropriate University of Alberta application (staff groups complete the online application and registered student groups must complete the BearsDen event application).

Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis has very specific requirements in place for liquor tastings. The company that provides the alcohol must keep a record of the activities and in many cases needs to have a representative present at the event. There are also maximum tasting size stipulations for the samples (eg. no more than 4 oz. of beer or 1 oz. of wine). See the AGLC Handbook section 8.5-8.6 or contact us for more information.