alcohol server training - AACEA

"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.

A Drink a Day May be Good For You

Recently Boston University Medical Center produced a study suggesting that alcohol use reduces the risk for coronary heart disease, even at consumption levels considered "hazardous". Hazardous levels were defined as more than 14 drinks a week for men, seven a week for women. A drink is considered to be 1-1/2 ounces of whiskey or other hard liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer, wine cooler and similar beverages. Says the Times, "The researchers noted that if the risk of coronary disease does not increase despite heavier drinking, it may be that higher heart risks reported in some studies are actually the result of other kinds of heart problems, such as heart rhythm or structural defects, rather than clogged arteries." In the study, researchers found that the rate of heart disease among moderate and hazardous drinkers was about the same as those who remained abstinent; even when factoring in differences in lifestyle. Unfortunately, the study could not take into account differences in exercise or diet. The article notes, however, "Alcohol may help the arteries long-term, but a report published last summer by Harvard scientists found that the risk of stroke appears to double in the hour after consuming just one drink of any type of alcohol." "At this point, we don't have enough evidence to say that people who don't drink should start, or that people who drink in small amounts, on the order of one drink a day, should stop," said Dr. Murray Mittleman, senior author of the study and director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard School of Medicine. Though a drink may increase circulation, too much is never a good thing. AACEA promotes responsible alcohol service and sales and offers online alcohol server training in Washington. For more information about your alcohol permit visitwww.aaccea.com

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.

washington acceptable id

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:
  1. Compare the person in the picture to the one who is presenting it. Often, this is the biggest clue.
  2. Feel the ID for cuts in the birthdate and/or picture area. They can be subtle.
  3. Compare the identification document to the ID checking guide.
  4. Look for different types of ink on the ID, color contrasts, smudges and misprints.
  5. Overall, trust your instincts. Servers have the right to refuse sale to anyone for any reason.
Together we can help stop underage drinking and promote responsible alcohol sales and service. If you're looking 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. Sign up for one of our convenient classes at www.aacea.com!

AACEA is an Approved Alcohol Certification Program in Washington and Oregon!

If you're a server looking to get your mandatory alcohol server training certificate in Washington or Oregon, look no further than AACEA. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Washington State Liquor Control Board both require a "server permit" for anybody who is employed by a licensee - a business with a permit to serve alcohol (Restaurants, Bars, Restaurants, Deli's, Wineries, etc.) - and who participates in any way in mixing, sale or service of alcohol for consumption at that business. In short, anybody who may/does/will handle alcohol is required to have a servers permit and complete alcohol server training. AACEA provides daily OLCC and WSLCB-approved classes in the Portland/Metro area and Northwest Oregon, the Seattle area, and online! You can complete online alcohol training from the comfort of your own home or come to one of our popular classes. At the end of our classes you will have your temporary permit in-hand, whether it's a new or renewal permit. If you're looking for your Washington State alcohol server's permit, check out our online training. The course can be completed from home in only 3 hours, and you can be at work in the service industry that day! America's Alcohol Certified Education Association is dedicated to promoting responsible alcohol sales and service through our course pack. Find out more today at www.aacea.com.

Alcohol Content in Wine

We found a great piece in the Seattle Times Wine Adviserwine alcohol level about alcohol levels in wines. Alcohol levels must be printed on wine labels according to Federal regulations. The Washington Wine Report notes that wines fourteen percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and under are allowed a 1.5% margin of error – provided the alcohol content does not exceed 14%. Wines over 14% are allowed a margin of error of 1%. In other words, a wine listed at 15% alcohol may be as high as 16% without running afoul of the feds. For this reason alone, there is a good chance that the percentage listed on the label is not entirely accurate. In this case, the printed numbers err significantly and still fall within the letter of the law. Wine Adviser, Paul Gregutt writes,
"So, what's too high? And what's wrong with high-alcohol wines anyway? "When a wine finishes with a burning sensation — that's too high. When the alcohol level is such that it must be masked by winemaking tricks such as massive amounts of new oak, or unwanted residual sugar — that's too high. When a wine loses all traces of varietal character or the more subtle elements that contribute to its aroma, complexity, texture and balance — that's too high. "Worst of all, when a wine reaches such ridiculous levels of alcohol that one glass makes you punch drunk — dry zinfandels pinning the meter at over 17 percent — that's waaay too high. "...When unfortified wines climb above 15.5 percent, they almost always lose subtlety and finesse. Nuances are gone, replaced by the dynamic trio of alcohol, fruit jam and lumber. Apart from the bludgeoning such wines give the palate, they are almost impossible to match with food."
In general, we've found the following to be a helpful guide: Table wine: 8 – 14% Sparkling wine: 8 – 12% Fortified wine: 17 – 22% Part of Responsible Alcohol Service is knowing how much punch a drink packs. It's important to pay attention to alcohol levels in various wines and liquors to avoid over-serving. AACEAprovides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com If you're working in the Hospitality industry and are currently enrolled or enrolling in college, tell us what it means to you to be the first line of defense in drunk driving and you may win a scholarship for $500 through the Len Riggs and AACEA Scholarship to Save Lives Contest. Entries will be accepted until July 1st.

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.

Alcohol Sales to Minors in Washington State

Restaurants may not sell or serve alcohol to those under 21 years of age. While not required by law, checking identification is key to preventing sales to minors. Restaurants should have a policy that dictates when an ID should be checked and what forms of acceptable ID are permitted at the business. Acceptable forms of ID * A drivers license, ID card, or instruction permit issued by any U.S. state or Canadian province * A Washington temporary drivers license (paper license) * A U.S. Military ID * An official passport * A merchant marine ID * A Washington State tribal enrollment card A valid ID must show: * Date of birth * Signature (except U.S. Military IDs) * Photo * Note: If an ID has an expiration date, the ID must not be expired How to check ID: * Ask for identification. * Have the customer hand you the ID. Do not accept or handle a customer's wallet. * Check the expiration date. Do not accept expired ID. * Check the date of birth. For vertical Washington IDs, check the information to the left of the photo to make sure the customer has turned 21. * Verify the photo matches the customer. * Verify the IDs unique features (for example, on a Washington ID, a black state seal overlaps the photo). AACEA provides alcohol training in Washington. It is important to know how to properly check ID to protect yourself when serving alcohol. To take your alcohol server training class and get your alcohol permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com

Applebee’s to Retrain Alcohol Server Staff after Serving Child Alcohol

Mandatory alcohol server training and paying close attention when handling alcohol and other beverages stored at the bar can prevent the type of incident we saw in the news this week. Applebee’s Grill & Bar said Monday it would change how drinks are served after a toddler was mistakenly given alcohol instead of juice at one of its restaurants last week. The 15-month-old child was served a trace amount of alcohol Friday at an Applebee’s in Madison Heights, Mich. Police ruled it an accident, saying the child’s cup was filled from a mislabeled bottle at the bar. Archer said Applebee’s was conducting an investigation into the incident. In the meantime, he said the chain would make immediate changes to its procedures for serving apple juice and other non-alcoholic drinks. “We will switch to pouring apple juice only from single-serve containers served at the table. We have already started communicating this new policy within our system and it will be in-place this week,” Archer said. “[Secondly,] we will retrain all servers on our beverage pouring policy, emphasizing that non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages must be stored in completely separate and identified containers.” The incident at the Detroit-area Applebee’s is not the first time a minor was mistakenly served alcohol at one of the chain’s units. In 2006, a New York City Applebee’s accidentally served a 5-year-old a Long Island iced tea cocktail instead of apple juice. And in June 2007, the Associated Press reported that an Applebee’s unit in Antioch, Calif., accidently served a margarita to a 2-year-old instead of apple juice. Read more. In order to serve alcohol in the State of Washington you must have an alcohol server permit. Online alcohol server training is available at http://www.aacea.com.

Bartending Icons: Reggie St. Paul

As time passes, drinks change, styles change, tastes change, but one thing that never changes is the service that bartenders give their customers. Licensed bartenders through the ages - such as Reggie St. Paul - have always had to focus on responsible alcohol service. A bartender for more than 40 years, Reggie St. Paul of Cambridge, MA has poured drinks for celebrities like Miles Davis and St. Louis Cardinals Hall-of-Famer Bob Gibson.

St. Paul has watched people change, times change, and consumer tastes change over his bartending career. A former school teacher, who's served tens of thousands of customers, St. Paul says he still enjoys coming to work at The Blue Room’s ash bar in Kendall Square.

“I know every day is going to be different,’’ says St. Paul, “And I like it because I work with people who are young.’’

An article on Boston.com notes:

Through the decades, he has watched drinkers rediscover cocktails and seen smoke-filled rooms consigned to the ashtray of history.

... He remembers when drinking was serious stuff, when tastes were dramatically different, and a bar could go through eight to 10 bottles of whiskey and bourbon a night, compared with only one bottle of gin and one bottle of vodka.

Drinking habits have changed dramatically since then, often circling back to decades-old tendencies. Cocktails are popular once more, wine is nearly a given, and bartenders must learn or reacquaint themselves with the mechanics of an intricately mixed drink.

“We’re doing cocktails of the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s,’’ St. Paul says. “It’s become exciting.’’ One big difference, he says, is that “to some people now, the glass is more important than what’s in it.’’

But some things never change for bartenders, including their interaction with customers, the social psychology they develop, and their ability to defuse potential confrontations. And then there are the physical demands.

At America's Alcohol Certified Education Association, we tip our hats to certified bartenders like Reggie St. Paul, who continue to provide responsible alcohol sales and excellent customer service.

AACEA provides alcohol server training that promotes responsible alcohol sales and service. For more information on Washington alcohol certification and bartender licensing, or to take your class from the comfort of your home visit www.aacea.com.

Be a Better Bartender!

Whether you bartend part-time or full-time, it is one of the most lucrative jobs in the hospitality industry. Even when the economy is not in great shape, many people will still go out drinking. As a bartender, you can make decent cash on the spot from tips, but the better bartender you are, the more cash you will make! To be a great bartender, you need to have a great personality. Smile, have a sense of humor, be outgoing, and enjoy your job. These are the things that really make a great bartender. As a bartender, you have a responsibility to not over-serve your guests. Not only does it put your job and the community at risk, but a drunken guest does not equal better tips! BE ATTENTIVE. It is important that you are attentive. Be aware of when your guest is getting low on their drink. Don’t wait until they are finishing the last drop to ask if they want another. The key here is still not to over-serve! BE KNOWLEDGEABLE. It is important that you know how to make a good drink. Be aware of ingredients in a drink in case you have to substitute. Know all of your basic drinks and know your wines! Food pairing is important in any establishment and it is important to know which wine to offer with each item on the menu. BE ABLE TO MULTI-TASK. Remember that you are in customer service. Multi-tasking is key. Being able to take someone's drink order while giving change to someone else is efficient and saves you time. KNOW YOUR REGULARS. At the minimum, know people's first name. If a customer comes in and sits at the bar on a regular basis, you should learn his name, his drink, his job, and his spouse's name. Be attentive to his needs and take the time to talk to him or her. KNOW THE LAW! You play an important role in keeping your guests safe by selling alcohol responsibly and ensuring liquor laws are followed. It is crucial to check IDs carefully, watch for signs of intoxication and create an environment that discourages disorderly behavior. AACEAprovides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com

Be the Best Server You Can Be and Provide Responsible Alcohol Service

Responsible service of alcohol is just one aspect of the job in the hospitality industry. What does it take to be a really good server? In order to be a successful server, you have to have a good memory and be able to think fast. Having a positive attitude is key in dealing with the ups and downs of the restaurant business. Dealing with the kitchen and sometimes impatient guests, requires you to be engaging, accommodating and professional. But first things first, learn the menu and learn it fast! When guests ask questions you want to have a knowledgeable answer ready. By knowing your menu you will quickly be able to identify opportunities to up sell and therefore increase your check average.
  • Learn your guests’ names and use them
  • Anticipate their needs and be there when you are needed
  • Remove plates, glasses and other used items promptly
  • Learn your wines and know what to offer with each menu item
Most importantly, know the signs of intoxication and how to deal with kindly and properly cutting a guest off. Get your manager involved and stay cool. AACEA provides alcohol server training that promotes responsible alcohol sales and service. Get your Washington alcohol permit online. For more information on Washington alcohol certification and to take your class from the comfort of your home visit www.aacea.com.

Become a Better Bartender: Know Your Customers

One of the best ways to become a successful bartender is to know your customers. Knowing your customers means using the customers names to build rapport, reading your customers, and anticipating their needs. Learn to remember names - if not long term, at least for the night. Pay close attention your customer when he walks in - and strike up conversation. The better you are at learning about and remembering your customers, the better you’ll be able to serve them. bartenderWhen it comes to using and remembering your customers names, you might cringe; however, nothing captures your customer’s attention and confidence faster than hearing his own name. You don't need a stellar memory - just find a way that works for you and stick to it. You might try name association; for example, Stella likes Stella Artois, Jerry likes Jack and Cokes. You could also try repetition; such as, "Hi, Dave!" and later, "Is your drink okay, Dave?" "Dave, can I get you anything else?" It sounds sort of silly, but it definitely works. There's no way to remember every customer's name, but try either of these tricks and you'll be amazed when - a month later - you remember the name of that familiar face at the bar! Learning a customer's name is a great way to get them talking, and talking with your customers clues you in to a few things. Are they chatty or reserved? A quick chat will put your customer at ease. Are they grumpy or do they seem happy? Alcohol seems to exaggerate moods, so you might be more cautious about how much you serve a sullen customer. Are they easy to talk to? You'll be better able to assess when enough is enough - for example, are they slurring? Has their reaction time dropped drastically? Pay attention to these clues and you'll know when to pour and when to say, "No more." Paying attention to these clues will also help you remember to check back in with your customers and anticipate their needs. You want bright, smiling faces around your bar and striking up conversation is a good way to engage your customers. AACEA provides alcohol server training that promotes responsible alcohol sales and service. Get your Washington alcohol permit online. For more information on Washington alcohol certification and to take your class from the comfort of your home visit www.aacea.com. If you're working in the Hospitality industry and are currently enrolled or enrolling in college, tell us what it means to you to be the first line of defense in drunk driving and you may win a scholarship for $500 through the Len Riggs and AACEA Scholarship to Save Lives Contest. Entries will be accepted until July 1st.

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.

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

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.

Cocktail Culture is Killing Bartending

An article on SeriousEats.com asks if cocktail culture is killing the art of bartending. The writer, Michael Neff, says that the nostalgia for vintage cocktails has birthed a "cocktail culture" where drinks like the Manhattan are king - despite whether or not anyone actually likes them. This nostalgia is alienating the only people who can tell us whether or not these drinks are any good. Those people are the consumers. Neff states:
"Much of the current cocktail trend is based on nostalgia, and it is difficult to say it, but many cocktails that we now call "forgotten classics" are forgotten for a reason. They have the shine of history, and we're told we are supposed to love them, but they're too sweet, they lack balance, and they kind of suck. The Jerry Thomas Manhattan (2-1 Whiskey to Vermouth, Angostura Bitters, with a dash of Cointreau) tastes like syrup. It certainly doesn't taste like whiskey. But it's the earliest written recipe of the Manhattan, and people are told that it's how a Manhattan is supposed to be made. Choke it down if you can, but don't dare say you don't like it. Who the hell are you, anyway? This is a big problem for all of us. The consumer feels judged (because they are), and walks away feeling smaller than they walked in."
That judgement, Neff notes, happens when bars push vintage cocktails on their menus. These heavy-hitting drinks taste much stiffer, are much stronger, and sometimes lack the balance of many modern cocktails. Bartenders who work primarily in cocktail bars serving these nostalgic drinks may forget that today's consumer has a different palate than the consumers of yesteryear. He goes on to say,
"The upside to this upswing in mixology is that we have the privilege to stand on the shoulders of giants and have taken the cocktail to a realm more respected than it has ever been before. We have more ingredients, better spirits, and the combined culinary history of the last hundred years to guide us in our current experiments. It's exciting, and I'm honored to be a part of it. The obsession with recreating cocktails in their original form stifles the creativity of people who want to push drinks to taste better."
What do you think, readers? Do you prefer the newer, more complex drinks? Or will you stand by the old standards? AACEA provides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol – 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.

Common Liquor Law Violations in 2010

Restaurants play an important role in keeping their customers safe by selling alcohol responsibly and ensuring liquor laws are followed. It is just as crucial to check IDs carefully, watch for signs of intoxication and create an environment that discourages disorderly behavior as it is to provide excellent food and an inviting ambiance. Top 3 Violations in 2010 1. Sales to minors 2. Sales to apparently intoxicated persons 3. Employees drinking on duty Top 3 Complaints in 2010 1. Sales to apparently intoxicated persons 2. Sales to minors 3. Disorderly conduct "Restaurants can avoid common liquor law violations through training, clear business policies and diligence," said Chief Pat Parmer of the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) Enforcement and Education Division. "For managers and owners, it is especially important to regularly review your expectations with your staff to avoid complacency or confusion." The WSLCB may find violations during compliance checks, premises checks, undercover operations, and complaint investigations. Complaints can come from the public, law enforcement and employees, and officers follow up with interviews and visits. "Public safety violations - such as sales to minors and apparently intoxicated persons, and disorderly conduct - are considered the most serious," said Chief Parmer. "From the first drink order to the final check, employees should be aware of the situation and ready to take action to prevent harm to their customers." Administrative violation notices can result in fines or liquor license suspensions for the restaurant. Employees involved in the violation could face criminal citations, fines and even jail time. Mandatory Alcohol Server Training permits - which allow employees to serve alcohol - could be suspended or revoked. The WSLCB also gives verbal and written warnings, which do not result in fines or suspensions. AACEA and Len Riggs provides server training and alcohol training in Washington. To get your alcohol server permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com to take the alcohol permit class from the comfort of your home!

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.

Glass Shapes Confuse Even Experienced Bartenders

According to a recently published study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), many people misjudge volume based on the shape of the container into which it is poured. This phenomenon, often referred to as "portion distortion," specifically relates to the unintentional pouring of more alcohol into a short, wide glass than into a tall, thin glass. In some instances a cocktail in a short, wide glass contained as much as a quarter more alcohol than the pourer intended. The BMJ study investigated whether training and experience could correct this tendency by comparing the pouring habits of a group of students and a group of experienced bartenders. All participants were asked to pour 11/2-ounce shots from a bottle into one of two types of glasses: short and wide and tall and slender. The students poured 30 percent more into the short glasses than the tall glasses. The experienced bartenders also overpoured, placing 20 percent more alcohol into the short glasses than the tall glasses. AACEAprovides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com

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