Washington Liquor Board Considers Extending Hours of Alcohol Sales

As part of our initiative to drive responsible alcohol sales, and provide certified alcohol servers with information in the industry, we've been following a new proposal that will extend alcohol service past 2:00 a.m.

Washington state law says that alcohol cannot be sold past 2:00 a.m., but soon local governments may be able to change that time, according to a new proposal from Seattle's Mayor and City Council. The proposal would allow local governments to decide what time bars should stop selling alcohol. The hours would allow establishments to sell alcohol between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. at their discretion.

The proposal's advocates say the change would help the city’s nightlife industry, and argue there are public safety merits to not closing bars at the same time - which puts a high volume of drunk drivers on the roads all at once.

However, some owners say they don't want later hours because nothing good happens after 2:00 a.m. Federal Way Police Chief Brian Wilson warned, "There could be higher levels of intoxication associated with longer hours of operation, more drunk drivers on the road during peak early morning commute times, and greater demand for law enforcement services over that extended period of time."

Many opponents say that changing this law will cause a burden on law enforcement due to limited department staffing during those hours.

What does this mean for staff with a class 12 permit? It would potentially mean longer shifts, and more sales. It could mean more tips - but not necessarily better tips. It will require MAST permit holders to be more vigilant about not overserving customers and about making sure their clients have access to transportation if they've been drinking.

To get your liquor permit, take our online alcohol server training from the comfort of your own home. Visit www.aacea.com for more information.

Cocktail Competition Gives Bartenders a Shot

Tales of the Cocktail is in it's tenth year this year. The New Orleans cocktail festival offers a challenge for any certified bartender who knows their stuff. This coming July (25-29) bartenders will have a chance to face off, to create the best drink among their competitors. It's five days of cocktails, cuisine and culture. Annually held in New Orleans, this international event has something for cocktail professionals and enthusiasts alike with seminars, dinners, competitions and tasting rooms where brands showcase their latest products.

Around the country, contestants are lining up their shots and creating delicious craft cocktails to please judges and tasters alike. Famous drinks such as the Absinthe Frappe, the Ramos Gin Fizz, the Obituary Cocktail, the Hurricane, the Hand Grenade and many others started with the imagination and creativity of New Orleans bartenders. To commemorate this grand tradition, “Tales of the Cocktail” was conceived in 2003 and has rapidly grown into one of the city’s favorite celebrations.

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At America’s Alcohol Certified Education Association, we are committed to responsible alcohol sales and service. We provide online class 12 permits and online class 13 permits. If you need to get your mandatory alcohol server training certificate, choose online alcohol classes that you can take from the comfort of your own home with AACEA.

Alcohol in Movies linked to Underage Drinking

At America's Alcohol Certified Education Association, we are committed to responsible alcohol sales and service. Part of this is an attempt to make an impact on underage drinking. We found a particularly concerning report the other day stating that alcohol in movies has been linked to underage drinking. This large US study says that "Stars who knock back whiskey, wine, or beer in a movie are an invisible but potent force in prompting youngersters to experiment with alcohol or binge-drinking..."

The study says this is a bigger risk for teen drinking that just having booze in the household. Reports on the survey said:

The youngsters were surveyed on what big movies they had seen, whether they drank alcohol or owned merchandise with a liquor brand on it, and were also asked questions about their personality, school and home life.

...The researchers then measured the amount of exposure to alcohol in movies, determined by a character's actual or implied consumption of a drink or purchase of it.

High exposure to alcohol consumption in films was ranked as the third biggest factor in the onset of drinking and the fourth biggest factor in the progression to binge drinking.

61% of Hollywood movies use some kind of product placement. Though producers are not allowed to use tobacco placements, they face no restrictions on product placement when it comes to alcohol. Alcohol consumption and branding in movies is mainly presented in positive sitiuations, with no negative affects, "which consolidates both the adolescent's identify as a drink and brand allegiance" the study warns.

The best line of defense in underage drinking, for now, falls to alcohol servers. Many states require alcohol servers permits, which include training on how to spot fake ID's and curb underage drinking. To get your Washington State alcohol servers permit, take one of our online alcohol classes to become certified. Find out more at www.aacea.com.

The Effects of I-1183: Big Liquor Retailers Move to Washington

Large liquor retailers are looking to move into Washington state, now that I-1183 has taken the state out of the liquor business. These businesses - like Total Wine & More, and Liquor depot - are trying to get a foothold early, so they'll be posed to start selling June 1, when I-1183 takes effect. Retailers are worried about the effect of these large liquor giants; stating they fear for their sales. The increase in stores that sell alcohol could mean an increase in the need for certified alcohol servers.

In addition, retailers are worried about prices. Washington state liquor buyers may see the price of liquor climb, due to new fees mandated by the new law. There will be a 10% distributor fee imposed on alcohol sellers. The biggest worry, though is the 17% fee for retailers. Washington already has higher taxes on liquor sales to consumers than it does to restaurants who serve. The fees are meant to help conpensate the state for losing the profits they would otherwise see at state-owned liquor stores. These larger liquor chains may be able to offset the price increase where smaller sellers cannot.

The prospect of higher prices has distillers and distributors worried about making a profit while not driving away customers under the new system. Extra taxes could cause clients to trade down to less expensive liquors. The drop in demand would be disastrous for the state's fledgling distilleries. However, specialty wine and beer shops are hoping for the best, since they are able to offer more boutique wines, and help customers choose the right selection.

Mandatory Alcohol Server Training (MAST) is required by law for managers, bartenders and other employees who serve or sell alcohol. If you need your servers permit, check out our online alcohol server training, and get your alcohol servers permit from the comfort of your own home. Find out more at www.aacea.com.

Iowa Youths help Combat Underage Drinking

Iowa Youths are helping to combat underage drinking in their state - pushing for stiffer laws. These measures include changing Iowa's Minor-In-Posession law to include consumption, and adding a "social host" law, barring any adult from allowing minors to drink alcohol on their property. In that case, parents and other adults who allow minors to drink on their property or under their supervision would be guilty of a misdemeanor and could face fines.

Students say the changes would extend penalties to adults, which would encourage them to be more vigilant against underage drinking in their homes.

The DesMoines register reports:

The state’s current law on possession of alcohol by minors covers only physical possession of an alcoholic beverage, meaning that a person could simply drop a container holding alcohol to avoid a charge, advocates said. By expanding the law to include consumption, a young person could be charged with a violation if he failed a breath or blood-alcohol test.
Measures like these would help those in the alcohol industry - certified bartenders and certified alcohol servers - to ensure that everyone in their community is responsible for the task of cutting down on underage drinking.

America’s Alcohol Certified Education Association is dedicated to promoting responsible alcohol sales and service through our course pack. If you’re looking for your Washington State alcohol server‘s permit, check out our online alcohol certification that allows you to get your permit from the comfort of your own home. Find out more today at www.aacea.com.

Starbucks Adds Alcohol to its Menu

After experimenting with adding Alcohol to the menu in 6 of it's West Coast stores, coffee giant, Starbucks is looking to add wine and beer to the menus of 25 different stores nationwide. Starbucks has 10700 cafés at this time - they are not considering adding wine and beer to the entire chain. At the six stores that now sell alcohol in Seattle and Portland, beer is $5 and glasses of wine are $7 - $9.

What does this mean for the Starbucks staff?

Because Washington and Oregon both require mandatory alcohol server training for anyone who works in a licensed establishment - meaning an establishment that is licensed to sell and/or serve alcohol on the premises. This requirement means that Starbucks employees who work in locations that sell beer and wine will need to complete mandatory alcohol server training to carry a valid alcohol server permit.

It also means the coffee company is looking to add more small plates to the food menu, to help entice people to come, stay, and relax. Servers in locations that serve alcohol may expect more customers with food requests, more late-night customers, and a somewhat different client base. As always, servers will need to be aware of their client base - especially on the lookout for underage drinking and anybody who seems intoxicated.

To get your online alcohol server training from the comfort of your own home, visit www.aacea.com.

Rewarding Designated Drivers

Designated drivers are being rewarded for their sobriety by bars in Massachusetts. In an initiative to cut down on drunk driving, patrons who announce that they are the designated driver in their party receive free sodas from participating establishments. One of these establishments, Tinker's Son Pub in Norwell MA, began rewarding its designated drivers a year ago, after hearing about the initiative's success in other pubs in the area.

Participating restaurants post a sticker near the door announcing their participation in the program. Many certified bartenders and certified alcohol servers ask large groups if they’ve designated a sober driver for the night. Police in the Norwell area encouraged this measure after a fatal holiday crash in 2002.

At America's Alcohol Certified Education Association, we applaud this measure to cut down on drunk driving, which takes the lives of thousands of people every year. In fact, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported in 2007 that nearly 18,000 highway deaths were "alcohol-related." It's up to alcohol servers to help cut down on the number of fatal alcohol-related accidents by providing responsible alcohol service and sales.

If you're looking for mandatory alcohol server training, AACEA provides online alcohol server training, which you can take from the comfort of your own home in only 3 hours. Start the New Year off right, with a program tailored to your needs. Find out more about our MAST classes at www.aacea.com.

The Impact of Alcohol on Aggressiveness

A new study notes that aggressiveness while intoxicated could be due to a "here and now" trait within drinkers that regulates the ability to consider the future consequences of current actions.

The study notes that alcohol would make present-focused people more aggressive. However, people without that trait don't get any more aggressive when drunk than they would when they're sober. If you carefully consider the consequences of your actions, it is unlikely getting drunk is going to make you any more aggressive than you usually are. Scientists who used the study to measure aggression noted that if drinkers are more present-thinking and not future-thinking, they may want to consider decreasing their alcohol consumption.

This study comes in the wake of another recent study showing how alcohol dulls the "alarm" in your brain that monitors mistakes. In these situations, the brain's "alarm signal" in response to errors was much less pronounced in those who had consumed alcohol. In addition, those in the alcohol group were no less likely to realize when they had made a mistake than participants in the other groups, indicating that alcohol's reduction of the brain's "alarm signal" did not occur simply because those in the alcohol group were unaware of their errors. The findings also showed that those who had consumed alcohol were less likely to slow down and be more careful in the task following errors.

It's important to know how alcohol affects the brain - especially when it comes to issues like your brain's alarm system, and the effects on aggression. At Americas Alcohol Certified Education Association, we teach each of our alcohol server trainees how to spot the effects of alcohol on their clients, as well as ways in which alcohol can affect us all. Our Online alcohol program can even be taken from the comfort of your own home. Find out more today at www.aacea.com.

Boozy Bears: Dangerous to Underage Drinkers

Responsible alcohol sales includes being aware of underage drinking. Certified alcohol servers are constantly on the look out for minors who are trying to buy or consume alcohol. However, it's not always easy to spot underage drinking.

A recent report on KFOR.com says that a new trend in underage drinking is "Boozy Bears". The substance is a mix of Gummi Bears and vodka, and can be incredibly dangerous for teens looking to experiment with alcohol. Since the alcohol is clear, the bears don't change color - making this new craze an almost imperceptible way to imbibe.

The danger lies in the way the bears are consumed - many students swallow them whole, letting these "boozy bears" disintegrate once they've hit the stomach. The result is not immediate - but the buzz does come on strong. Many teens have cited the substance as a "sudden effect" and "much more intoxicating than you ever thought it would be."

In the article on KFOR, sources reported that vodka seems to the most common among teens because it's clear and doesn't give off strong odors. The Oklahoma teens cited in the article also mentioned energy drinks or soda as mixers for alcohol and beer. The report cites the internet as one of the prime ways that teens are gaining access to alcohol. In fact, an online survey conducted by Teen Research Unlimited for the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc. found that millions of teens across the country have bought, or know other minors who have purchased alcohol via the Internet. Specifically, more than half a million teenagers admitted to have purchased alcohol from online alcohol shops and more than 3 million minors said they have a friend who has obtained alcohol in the same way.

Alcohol servers need to constantly be on the lookout for underage drinking - staying ahead of the trends helps. AACEA is committed to providing alcohol server training focused on responsible alcohol service. For more information, or to find out how you can become a certified alcohol server, visit www.aacea.com.

How Privatization of Alcohol Could Affect Washington State

If you are a Washington state resident and a registered voter (and even if you aren't), you have probably heard about initiative 1183 regarding privatization of the state alcohol system, passed last Tuesday. For those in the hospitality industry, it is important to stay informed on measures that affect how we do business. That's why we've been keeping tabs on the discussion on initiative 1183 and how it could affect the alcohol industry in Washington. The campaign for initiative 1183 was one of the most expensive campaigns in state history and there are a lot of issues on the line.

On the initiative, a Huffington Post article writes:

"...Dubbed the 'Costco initiative' [this bill will] end state-run liquor stores in [Washington]. Sales in the state are currently only through stores run by the state's Liquor Control Board, a Prohibition-era policy. ...The new law would allow any store over 10,000 square feet to sell alcohol, along with continuing to allow the small contract stores under the current system to sell.... Convenience stores and gas stations would not be able to sell alcohol, however..."
The Moderate voice provided an interesting view on the subject, saying:
"The initiative would take Washington state out of both the distribution and retail sales business.... Washington state buys liquor from the source (or its representative), manages a central distribution warehouse, and sells liquor (and wine) in both state-run and contract liquor stores. Most of the public angst about I-1183 relates to retail sales, although the primary money behind the “vote no” campaign [was] from distributors, the middlemen in this deal... ...The most thorough examination of data over time (1950-2000), determined that 'Privatization had a significant permanent effect on the sale of spirits, but the effect was not large enough to affect total sales' and 'There was no significant effect on the number of fatal motor vehicle traffic accidents.'"
State-run liquor store employees, however, have cause to be concerned, as state-run liquor stores have 680 full-time employees and 714 hourly employees, who will no longer be employed by Washington state-run liquor stores after June 1. The new initiative also means layoffs for shipping companies like Kent-based Pozzi Trucking. They are one of four shipping companies delivering liquor to state stores.

At AACEA, we’re committed to bringing you news on issues like these in the hospitality and beverage industry. AACEA provides online alcohol server training and bartending certification classes. To get your mandatory alcohol server training certificate today vist www.aacea.com. Each month, AACEA raffles off $100 to one of our MAST students - sign up today and be eligible to win.

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