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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.

Drunk Facebooking: A Serious Issue

Part of being a responsible alcohol server is to make sure you're not over-serving, or serving alcohol to minors. This includes checking ID, and verifying acceptable ID, and knowing when to say no to over-intoxicated customers. One recent study shows that underage drinking or problem drinking - which are both very serious problems - can also possibly be curbed through Facebook.

A recent study found that college-age students who frequently posted photos or status updates about being drunk were more likely to experience alcohol related problems - showing that they either drank too much or drank in unhealthy situations. Amid concerns of privacy violations, schools and universities have discussed this finding - especially since the research could help schools identify students who may need counseling through alcohol-related situations.

A Reuters Article on the subject says:

Dr. Megan Moreno from the University of Wisconsin-Madison led a team of researchers from her university and the University of Washington in Seattle who surveyed the Facebook pages, including photos and posts, of 224 undergrads with publicly-available profiles.

About two-thirds of those students had no references to alcohol or drinking on their pages. The rest of the pages mentioned or had pictures of social, non-problematic drinking or more serious and risky alcohol use, including riding in a car while drunk or getting in trouble related to drinking.

The researchers brought all the students in for a 10-question screening test used to determine who is at risk for problem drinking. That test assesses the frequency of drinking and binge drinking as well as negative consequences from alcohol use.

Close to six in ten of the students whose Facebook pages had references to drunkenness and other dangerous drinking scored above the cutoff showing a risk for alcohol abuse and dependence, as well as other drinking-related problems.

That compared to 38 percent of students who had more minor references to alcohol and 23 percent of those who didn't mention alcohol or drinking at all, according to findings published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

In addition, close to one in five Facebook-implicated risky drinkers said they had an alcohol-related injury in the previous year.

Moreno and her colleagues theorized that this kind of Facebook "evidence" could be used as a red-flag, where school residential assistants and counselors could either talk with the student or the student's parents. However, as Dr. James Niels Rosenquist, a social media researcher and psychiatrist from Massachusetts General Hospital stated, this kind of information only shows a very small snapshot into a person's life - and it may not be enough evidence to show who may need to be screened for alcohol related issues.

One way to help curb underage drinking is to require any person serving alcohol to go through alcohol server training. If you need your mandatory alcohol server training, or server permit, visit www.aacea.com. We offer a full range of classes to help you learn how to become a better bartender and how to be a responsible server.

Four Loko Cans Now Required to Show Alcohol Content

Four Loko - a caffeinated malt beverage - has been banned by Washington State Liquor Control after many college-age students were hospitalized because of the drink. The contrasting effects of caffeine and alcohol are said to somewhat cancel each other out, leading to higher consumption of the product. Those who are not used to drinking alochol may over-consume, causing alcohol-related injury.

As an alcohol vendor, and as a part of being a responsible alcohol server, it's important to know that products like these have been banned. It's also important to know the effects of what Four Loko can do, and the average alcohol content in a can.

Known among college students as "blackout in a can" this controversial product has been banned in other states, including Michigan for the same reason. A push is currently underway in New York and Oregon for a statewide sales ban. In one report, Four Loko manufacturer Phusion Projects defended its product, saying that can that warned of the drink's contents and called attention to the need for identification to purchase it.

"The unacceptable incident at Central Washington University, which appears to have involved hard liquor ... and possibly illicit substances," the statement read, "is precisely why we go to great lengths to ensure that our products are not sold to underage consumers and are not abused."

Now, in a push from the FTC, Four Loko cans are required to state just how much alcohol the beverage has in it; a whopping 12%, which shows one can of Four Loko has approximately the same alcohol content as 4-5 cans of beer. The FTC alleges that Phusion misrepresented the amount of alcohol in those cans. Phusion has been known to state that one can of Four Loko is the equivalent of one to two regular cans of 12-ounce beers – instead of four to five cans.

Phusion also has marketed these cans as a single serving, and the cans are not resealable, which encourages the drinker to consume the product all at once. Phusion considers it safe to consume a whole can of Four Loko, while the FTC considers consuming an entire can on a single occasion equivalent to “binge drinking.”

Four Loko spokesperson and lobbyist Jim Halstrom says, "No one is more upset than we are when our products are abused or consumed illegally by underage drinkers, but we also believe curbing alcohol abuse or underage drinking will not be accomplished by singling out a lone product or beverage category. We think the true answer lies with increased education and awareness by all and with respect for the law."

It seems as if the answer is two-fold. On one hand, the makers of Four Loko should be required to disclose information about the content of what's in their product. On the other hand, there is a responsibility by the vendors to check ID's - to make sure alcohol isn't being sold to minors, and to ensure products are not being sold to those who are intoxicated.

Part of responsible alcohol service is knowing your part in matters like these. To get your mandatory alcohol servers permit, and take alcohol online classes from the comfort of your own home, visit www.aacea.com.

"Prohibition" Series Looks at Illegalizing Alcohol

From 1920 to 1933, the US 18th Amendment, or Volstead Act banned alcohol countrywide. Now, a new series on PBS titled "Prohibition", and produced by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick shows the motives, methods, and melee that occurred when alcohol was banned in the US according to Zap 2 It.

Alcohol was considered one of the original sins of America, spurring the movement to ban the substance. Burns and Novick's series highlights the consequences of the Volstead act, including the criminalization of the alcohol industry and the rise of violent gangs as a result. Its prohibition gave rise to gangsters like Al Capone, and police were paid to look the other way. Speakeasies popped up, around the country, and in the more elite populations, cocktail parties became popular.

The support of and opposition to Prohibition represented competing strains of American thought. Where the "Roaring Twenties" introduced more progressive thought, the Temperance Movement which supported Prohibition, looked to take away certain American freedoms. The filmmakers note that while alcohol can cause social problems, it has also been a large part of human society for ages.

Says Novick, "There were many, many problems with Prohibition, but one was a fundamental misreading of the place of alcohol and also the fact that alcohol, inherently, is not bad for everyone."

"It coincided with this great liberation of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties economically," Burns says. "The only thing that's going backwards is Prohibition. Everything else is going forwards; half the country becomes lawbreakers. It is a descent into hell paved entirely with good intentions."

At AACEA, we're committed to bring you news and reviews on events in the hospitality and beverage industry. AACEA provides online alcohol server training and certified bartending 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.

Cities With The Most DUIs: How Does Your City Rank?

September is definitely a month for changes. Fall is in the air. Students are headed back to school, and college-age students may find themselves now able to attend bars and "of-age" parties.

Fall also means that several holidays--Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas--are right around the corner. These holidays are actively known for friends, family, and often, celebratory apertifs.

With the increased festivities comes a higher risk for driving accidents. One way is to protect yourself from drunk drivers is to stay out of the cities where we're most likely to encounter them.

Here are some of the top cities ranked by DUI busts (Source):

  • San Diego has the most DUI drivers per capita than any other city in the U.S., followed by San Jose. The reason? San Diego and San Jose have an exceptionally strong drunk driving task force, and the police there actively patrol for violators. In San Diego, a team of six officers, specially trained to spot the subtle signs of drunk driving, spend 40 hours a week making DUI arrests, through both checkpoints and “saturation patrols.”
  • California takes four of the top 10 spots, with Los Angeles and San Francisco coming in at numbers seven and eight, respectively. California ranks so high because of the large number of colleges located there - college students are the highest age group for drunk driving.
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, ranked third on the list of drunk driving cities.
  • Texas had five spots in the top 20, with Austin at 9, and San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Ft. Worth holding spots 11 through 14.
Which cities are safer in terms of drunk driving? Most of the places in the top ten DUI offenders rely heavily on the driving culture, and offer relatively little in the way of public transportation, especially at night when people are more likely to be drinking heavily. Cities with active and well-used transportation systems, including cabs, buses and subways, have fewer DUIs - these cities' transportation options make it easy to avoid drunk driving.

A great way to reduce the number of drunk drivers out there is mandatory alcohol server training. These programs, enacted in a number of cities around the US have been shown to help reduce the impact of drinking and driving. Well trained alcohol servers are able to cut off intoxicated customers. They're constantly aware of their clientele, and are responsible in not serving alcohol to minors. In fact, certified bartenders are the first line of defense against drunk driving. To become a certified bartender visit www.aacea.com

Montana DUI Task Force Holds First Alcohol Sales and Service Training Class

The Lewis and Clark county DUI task force, along with Youth Connections, held its first Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service Training Class Tuesday.

In an effort to prevent underage drinking, and auto accidents involving alcohol Montana passed a Mandatory Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service Training Act, requiring all places that sell alcoholic beverages train their servers and sales staff to recognize intoxicated or under-age patrons. Training has to be completed by September 30, 2011.

In accordance with this new legislation, a DUI task force in Lewis and Clark County conducted its first Alcohol Sales and Service Training Class, handing out Certificates of Completion from the Montana Department of Revenue-Liquor License Control. Now, any Montana server who stocks shelves, serves, supervises and manages an establishment with alcohol must take the class, aimed at reducing the impact of alcohol impairment and impaired driving.

From an article in the Helena Independent Record on Alcohol Server Training:

"The class ... focuses on things like how to spot a fake ID, the law that prohibits sales to anyone 'who is apparently, obviously or actually intoxicated,' and the personal civil liability a server or seller carries if an underage or over-served individual gets behind the wheel. These topics teach [attendees] how to do their job responsibly while keeping themselves, their customers, and the community safe.

"This is a hot button topic in communities around Montana. For the first time in Montana’s history, a bartender and manager were charged criminally after they over served the man who hit Trooper Michael Haynes head on. Trooper Haynes died as a result of his injuries. This criminal charge embodies a shift being seen across Montana as lawmakers grapple to get a handle on the state’s overwhelming DUI problem. Alcohol sellers and servers are being held accountable for those they serve who get behind the wheel after they over indulge."

America's Alcohol Certified Education Association provides mandatory alcohol server training, promoting responsible service and sales of alcohol. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington or to get your alcohol servers permit in Oregon, visit www.aacea.com.

State Liquor Pilot Project Allows Alcohol Tastings

30 state, pilot and tribal liquor stores in Washington are testing a pilot program to allow spirit or hard alcohol tastings in-store. Sampling will be limited to a 1/4 ounce with four samples maximum. Only product sponsors, such as a distiller representatives, may serve samples. These alcohol servers must have the WSLCB-Approved Mandatory Alcohol Server Training Permit.

The pilot program starts today (September 1st) and is a year-long program, intended to introduce premium products to store customers. Details of these 30 stores which allow spirit tastings can be found on the events page of the stores and products section of the WSLCB website at www.liq.wa.gov. Stores are permitted one tasting event per week. The tasting events will be either Fridays or Saturdays from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m

"The spirits sampling pilot is a win for both consumers and producers,” said Carrie Tellefson of the Distillery Representatives Association of Washington. “With so many products available, the tasting events offer consumers a valuable opportunity to taste spirits in a controlled environment, learn about new, premium products and provide valuable feedback for distillers."

The Distillery Representatives Association of Washington is an organization committed to representing the Alcohol Beverage Community in a manner that advances the understanding of the issues and challenges that affect our industry.

DRAW works with the Washington State Liquor Control Board and the State Legislature to eliminate underage drinking and promote responsible alcohol consumption.

Of the pilot program, WSLCB Chair Sharon Foster said, “We are excited to have this opportunity for our customers to taste new and interesting products in our stores. With more than 1,100 spirits products available in state stores, customers can now enhance their product knowledge by trying something they may never have considered before and learn first-hand about the products from distillers’ representatives.”

Stores were selected based on retail sales volume, locations, and appropriate in-store space for sampling, as well as traffic accident data and proximity to churches and schools.

At AACEA, we provide alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington or to get your alcohol servers permit in Oregon, visit www.aacea.com. Sign up today and you’re eligible to win our monthly $100 raffle, from AACEA and Len Riggs.

Studies Link Socioeconomic Status and Alcohol Consumption

The more income people have, the more educated they are and the higher their social status or class, the more likely they are to drink alcoholic beverages, studies show. An article at Potsdam.edu shows the connections between Socioeconomic Status and Alcohol Consumption.

The article states, "Investigators received 2,349 completed mailed questionnaires from adults age 18-76 living in Melbourne. They found that adults of higher socioeconomic position were more likely to consume alcoholic beverages frequently. Those of lower status tended to drink less frequently but in higher quantities on each drinking occasion."

Another article from Potsdam states, "Abstention from alcohol in the U.S. is closely associated with social status. The lower the social class, the higher the abstention. And, as is true throughout the world, women are more likely to abstain than are men.

"...People choose to abstain from alcohol for many reasons. These include religious reasons, moral objections, abstinent family background, dislike of the taste of alcoholic beverages, fear of a lack of self-control, health reasons including the use of certain medications or pregnancy, the belief that alcohol consumption leads to dependence or alcoholism, legal reasons such as age, and the misperception that even light or moderate drinking is unhealthful even when not contraindicated for medical reasons."

At AACEA, we're committed to keeping you informed of news and facts about alcohol consumption and the responsible sales and service of alcohol. AACEA provides alcohol server training in Washington and Oregon– sign up today and you’re eligible to win $100 from AACEA and Len Riggs. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com.

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