Daily Archives: 14/07/2015

French bartender sentenced after customer drinks 56 shots and dies

This news piece was featured in The Independent in May and covered the death of a customer who drank 56 shots and the trial of the bar owner for manslaughter.


A French bar owner is standing trial for manslaughter after one of his customers died after drinking 56 shots of spirits, after he beat the bar’s previous record of 55.

The 56-year old customer, named only as Renaud, was with his 22-year old daughter and some friends in the Le Starter bar in Clermont-Ferrand, in central France in October 2014, when he made his attempt to beat the record.

Renaud drank 44 shots, and according to Renaud’s daughter, was then encouraged to keep going by the landlord of the bar, who whispered “only 12 to go”.

He drank the remaining shots, consuming just over a litre of spirits, and had a cardiac arrest after being carried back to his home. He was rushed to hospital, but died the next day.

The landlord of the bar today stands trial to see if he bears any responsibility for Renaud’s death, after Renaud’s daughter Julie decided to bring the case forward.

Previously, the record was written on a blackboard behind the bar of Le Starter.

A Facebook page calling for the closure of Le Starter, which was set up shortly after Renaud’s death, posted a picture apparently taken in the bar, which has Renaud’s record written on it, with the date that he consumed the fatal amount of alcohol written above.

Julie’s lawyer, Antoine Portal, told BFM TV: “The owner served the father of my client when he was not in a fit state to understand what he was doing.”

“It is not known whether he would still be alive if he had not drunk the last 12 shots, but by downing those last shots, he was left with no chance.”

However, the bar owner’s lawyer, Renaud Portejoie, said: “No one forced the client to take on the challenge.”

Speaking to RMC radio, Portejoie said: “When you are the owner of a bar and an order has been placed, you cannot always check who is drinking what. We cannot stand behind every customer.”

“The customers are responsible for themselves as are their families and friends.”

Speaking to La Montagne, Julie said: “I really feel that in the end the boss bears a real responsibility in all this.”

She added: “I hope we will know the truth, and that this drama will open more people’s eyes to the dangers of alcohol.”

The trial took place and this was the news coverage of the sentencing and verdict:

A French bartender has received a suspended jail sentence after he was convicted of manslaughter for letting a man down 56 shots during a drinking contest that led to his death.

Renaud Prudhomme, 56, broke the in-house shots record last October at Starter, a bar in the central French town of Clermont-Ferrand.

He had spent the evening with his daughter and some friends who helped him home in his inebriated state, but they soon had to phone emergency services. He died in hospital the following day.

Bartender Gilles Crepin, 47, admitted at an earlier hearing that he had made a mistake by displaying the shots record on a noticeboard, encouraging the victim to go too far.

He was given a four-month suspended sentence by a local court on Wednesday and banned from working in a bar for a year.

His lawyer said he would appeal against the ruling.

“It’s a decision guided by emotion and the unconscious desire to set an example,” said Renaud Portejoie, who had called for the case to be thrown out.

Portejoie said his client bore no responsibility, that it was the man’s daughter who had pushed him to break the record and that he had existing respiratory and alcohol abuse problems.

“We can’t ask every customer who buys alcohol to present their medical certificates,” he said.

Antoine Portal, a lawyer for Prudhomme’s daughter, said she was not at the bar at the time of the drinking competition.

“My client is relieved by this decision,” he said of the ruling forbidding Crepin from working as a bartender. “We want to remind some professionals that it is illegal to serve alcohol to clients who are in an advanced state of inebriation.”

A suspended jail sentence after he was convicted of manslaughter.  Wow I am speechless.  What kind of message does this send exactly?  What are your thoughts?