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How to Become a Bartender in Indiana

Posted by:

James Clark | October 24, 2018

If you’re comfortable around people and don’t mind working long hours at night, you could be up for a pretty exciting and successful career in bartending. Being a bartender in Indiana, however, requires more than just enthusiasm. Though, you better not lose that charm since it’ll be valuable as you build connections or climb up the ladder in the alcohol service industry.

In any case, Indy alcohol laws are known to be stricter than others, and you will need to complete training before qualifying to serve drinks in the state. Simply put, Indiana requires aspiring bartenders to undergo a training process which is specifically designed based off of local state laws and regulations. The prospect must also earn their license before they can operate as bartenders anywhere in the state.

Indiana Bartending Requirements

The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission has strict and comprehensive laws for serving alcohol in the state. From age requirements to serving limits, the state rules here nearly covers everything that involves alcohol.

The Excise Police also encourage servers or the security staff to verify the age of anyone appearing under 26, through any of the state issued identifications before they are allowed to drink. This, along with other requirements are ALL necessary if you want to find a rewarding career in Indiana’s flourishing liquor and food business.

Most importantly, the state has designed a bartender training for everyone who wants to work as liquor servers in Indiana. That all-important license is only issued once training has been completed as required.

What is an Indiana Bartender License?

While almost all states; and especially the employers, appreciate prior training for the job and its related aspects, a license is not mandatory everywhere. Indiana is one of the select states that regulates the people associated with the alcohol business.

Any person can apply for the license with an Employee Permit Form 43. Once they have submitted the form, they can get employment and work for 30 days on the basis of the receipt they got from the application. They would need their state-issuedlicense to continue working once the initial 30 days are done.

Steps to Become an Indiana Bartender

Being a licensed bartender is one thing, but you’ll need much more than that to succeed. This is especially true in Indiana, because not only does the state have strict rules and regulations even on, but also because it has a very successful alcohol industry.

This means that it’s going to take more than just the knowledge of mixing different drinks to stand out. You’ll need people skills, dedication, and more. To make it clear, we’re listing you a step by step guide to how you can have a fruitful bartending career in Indiana.

1. Meet the Minimum Bartender Requirements

If you plan on taking up a bartending job in the state of Indiana, make sure you meet all the requirements before you seek employment. It starts with your age. Although you can work in an alcohol serving establishment if you are at least 19 years of age, you will not be eligible to serve drinks till you are at least 21. 

The next stage is to complete a training program approved by the Indiana State Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC). Once that’s done, apply for an employee permit which you can download easily through ATC’s website. It is important to note that you must complete your training within 120 days of your employment to be eligible for the license.

2. Get an Indiana Bartender License

As mentioned, you cannot operate in the state of Indiana as a bartender without a license. 

A prior alcohol server training is one of the biggest requirements for bartending license. You can either take admission in one of the ATC approved training schools or get it online from a certified vendor. There are two types of this course, Indiana Off-Premises Alcohol Seller/Server and Indiana On-Premises Alcohol Seller/Server. The classes are short and don’t cost much. They, however, have to be completed within 120 days of your application.

Once that’s done, fill up the employee permit form and submit it with the required fee. If your application is approved, you will have your permit within a couple of days, and you can get employment as a bartender anywhere you want in the state.

3. Practice Your Skills

Success in the industry requires a lot of practice. It will not just come with a license; you need to have basic knowledge about the different kinds of drinks, their ingredients, and an idea of what unique flavors you can create with them.

Additionally, you should be aware of the different drinking lingos used for alcohol. For instance, what does ‘on the rocks mean,’ and what is ‘neat.’ Bars also have their particular language, for example, the most expensive drinks in the bar are called ‘top-shelf’ drinks.

You should also keep experimenting with different flavors and create your own combinations. The more knowledge you have of your beverages, the more you will succeed in the industry. Finally, take advantage of whatever resources are available online, especially something like this FREE alcohol/server guide.

4. Make Connections

A bartender gets to meet numerous people every day. You must make connections with the right people when the opportunity presents itself. Exchange numbers with those who might be able to help you get better opportunities in the future.

Just don’t forget to treat all customers with the same respect and professionalism. You best avoid making an impression that you’re being picky. Otherwise, that’s going to have a negative effect on you and the business’ reputation.

On the other hand, be open to exploring better opportunities. If you feel the bar two streets down the block will help you grow more, weigh your options carefully and make a decision that you know you are comfortable with. Besides maintaining a good working relationship with your employer, try to develop a relationship with other people in the business as well. 

Another important thing is to have an eye on how the business is performing as a whole. Are they receiving a respectable number of customers, what is their financial situation, and what are their plans for the future? This will help you make the right decision regarding when it is time to move on and whether you should stay put.

Best Cities in Indiana for Bartending

Alcohol service is a big industry in the state of Indiana. Therefore, if you are a licensed bartender, you can easily find employment in one of its cities. Below are some of the best places for bartending in state.

  1. Indianapolis
  2. Fort Wayne
  3. Evansville
  4. South Bend
  5. Carmel

A bartending career in Indiana can be very rewarding for those who are out there to get it. The training adds an extra layer of challenge, but it’s clearly all for your own good. It doesn’t even have to slow you down, since you can now easily take this process online in line with your own pace and schedule. Ultimately, it all comes down to your readiness and willingness to take charge of your own career. If you have the right attitude as well as the ample knowledge as an alcohol server in the state, you’ll have no problems building towards a fruitful and extended bartending career in Indiana.