A Primer on Underage Drinking
A recent report on Medscape News Today notes that teen drinking is down in 2011 - in fact, underage drinking has fallen to its lowest point in 3 years. This is good news for law enforcement and those in the alcohol industry who have been vigilant in attempting to crack down on underage drinking.
Selling alcohol to minors can result in criminal charges, fines and most likely the loss of your job. For alcohol, it is your legal responsibility to make sure the person is 21 or older. If you intentionally help someone under 21 obtain or attempt to obtain alcohol, it's considered "aiding and abetting." This means you cannot help an underage person buy alcohol, you cannot buy for alcohol for them or give them any alcohol.
Reducing the number of underage drinkers can be as easy as knowing what to look for on a customer's ID. At America's Alcohol Certified Education Association, we provide alcohol server training that teaches prospective bartenders and servers how to quickly identify proper identification as well as spotting intoxicated customers, and knowing just how much alcohol is in a beverage.
With the widespread use of fake IDs, it can be difficult to make sure you're serving to an of-age customer. There are a few guidelines for spotting fake IDs though:
- Compare the person in the picture to the one who is presenting it. Often, this is the biggest clue.
- Feel the ID for cuts in the birthdate and/or picture area. They can be subtle.
- Compare the identification document to the ID checking guide.
- Look for different types of ink on the ID, color contrasts, smudges and misprints.
- Overall, trust your instincts. Servers have the right to refuse sale to anyone for any reason.