What can having your MAST permit do for you?

Anyone who serves alcohol needs a MAST permit; it does stand for Mandatory Alcohol Server Training after all. But did you know that even ID checkers have MAST permits? And also, that you need a MAST permit if you're helping out by serving the wine at someone's banquet event, or wedding dinner? There are two kinds of MAST permit; the Class 12 Mixologist permit and the Class 13 Servers permit. A Class 13 Servers permit will allow you to take and serve alcohol orders, and pour it into a customer's glass at the table, but not to draw wine or beer from a tap, or mix drinks. If you're between 18 and 21, this is the permit to apply for. A Class 12 Mixologist permit allows you to do everything someone with a Class 13 permit can do, but also draw beer and wine from a tap, mix drinks and manage an establishment. You can upgrade your permit when you turn 21 by taking the appropriate course. At Americas Alcohol Certified Education Association, we offer upgrades and renewals - so whether you need to upgrade to a Class-12 permit, or simply need to get your yearly renewal, we can help!

MAST permits are good for 5 years, which means that you'll suddenly be popular at all of your friends' weddings and events as someone they can call on to help out serving the celebratory champagne! Of course, it also means you'll be an easy hire for any bars looking for staff; they don't have to wait for you to get your permit and you've already shown that you're dedicated to the world of bartending.

Get your Washington alcohol permit with AACEA.com and start practicing your champagne towers for all those summer weddings!

Tips to Spot Someone Who is Intoxicated

In the bartending industry, a part of responsible server training is being able to tell when a client is intoxicated, and therefore must no longer be served. In this post on how to cut someone off at the bar, we gave you advice on how to do this in a way which minimizes the potential for aggression or upset. But how do you spot the signs of intoxication in the first place? It may seems simple, but for young bartenders, or those just starting out, it can be difficult to know where to draw the line.

If we take as a guideline, the fact that a person's body can usually only process one alcoholic unit per hour, then during quiet periods, it should be simple to notice when someone is attempting to process more than this amount. Of course, body mass affects this process, so a larger person will take longer to get drunk. When it's busy, however, it might be harder to take notice of how often a person is approaching the bar, especially if people are buying in rounds.

Luckily, intoxication presents itself in numerous ways. The most common symptoms of intoxication are slurring one's speech, swaying and bumping into things. In a crowded and noisy bar, however, these could be overlooked. Something else to take notice of would be a previously mild patron who becomes aggressive, a social person who becomes withdrawn or a quiet person who decides to buy the whole bar a drink.

AACEA’s certified bartenders gain valuable experience like spotting inebriated customers at our mandatory alcohol server training classes. We provide online alcohol server training, while promoting responsible service and sales of alcohol. To get your alcohol servers permit online from home, visit www.aacea.com.

Behind the Bar Basics

At America's Alcohol Certified Education Association, we provide alcohol server classes for servers and bartenders to get their Class 12 permit in Washington. We are also committed to providing as much knowledge as possible to our bartenders-to-be.

There's a lot more to becoming a bartender than just pouring drinks for paying customers. For anybody who's considering becoming a bartender there are a couple bartending basics that prepare any good bartender for the coming day: You must have the right tools and the right workspace.

Behind the Bar

Any bartender will tell you, organization is key. You don't want to be behind an unorganized bar, with a line of customers out the door who are waiting for drinks. This is frustrating for you as a bartender, and frustrating for your customers who won't understand why it takes so long to get a drink.

You need to make sure you have access to everything you need for your shift - everything needs to be readily available or easy to grab without having to leave the bar. Keep your bar tools close, and make sure your most popular liquors are within arms' reach. It also helps to check the menu at your establishment and make sure that you have the ingredients available for any drink specials you might be offering. It also helps to have popular garnishes ready to go - especially citrus. Cut these up before hand and have them ready to go so you're not cutting fruit when your bar is the busiest.

The Right Tools

You won't get very far as a certified bartender if you don't have the right tools. These tools include strainers, shakers, bottle or can openers (a "churchkey" works well for both), a corkscrew for wine, and a few rags to mop up should anything spill. Safety is key, so it's handy to have a mat behind the bar along with a mop and broom for any mishaps.

It's also important for certified alcohol servers to know a few different types of glasses for the drinks they'll be serving: Highball glasses are often taller than old fashioned glasses (or "rocks" glasses). Tumblers aren't the same size or shape as pint glasses. White and red wines have different size and shape openings.

For more information on bartending school in Washington or to get your Mandatory Alcohol Server Training certification from home, visit www.aacea.com!

Rethink that Holiday Drink

With the holiday season in full swing, we've been to more than one holiday party featuring alcohol. At AACEA, we love a good holiday party just as much as the next – but we want to emphasize how important it is to have a safe holiday season. AACEA’s certified bartenders gain valuable experience like cutting off inebriated customers at our mandatory alcohol server training classes. We provide online alcohol server training, while promoting responsible service and sales of alcohol. To get your servers permit, visit www.aacea.com.

UC Davis reports that one of the unfortunate consequences of the holiday season is a sharp increase in alcohol-related accidents and deaths. "Many partygoers don't drink often, leaving them with low tolerance and more vulnerability to alcohol's effects. At the other extreme are problem drinkers who find plenty of social occasions to drink and may feel less inhibited at parties where alcohol is liberally served," their report says.

Statistics show that during Christmas and New Year’s, 2-3 times more people die in alcohol-related crashes than during comparable periods the rest of the year. 40% of traffic fatalities during these holidays involve a driver who is alcohol-impaired, compared to 28% for the rest of December.

What many drinkers don't realize is that the effects of alcohol on critical motor skills happen LONG before the effects of intoxication are visible. The sedative effects of alcohol can also become a problem - from lack of focus to nodding off at the wheel. Driving at night only increases this effect. Driving abilities may even be impaired the next day, when any alcohol remaining in the system, or the headache and disorientation associated with hangovers, contributes to feelings of sluggishness, even though the person no longer feels drunk.

The biggest issue many drinkers forget is that the only sobriety cure is time. Because people are so different, it is difficult to give specific advice about drinking, but certain facts are clear—there’s no way to speed up the brain’s recovery from alcohol and no way to make good decisions when you are drinking too much, too fast.

This holiday season, be responsible with alcohol. If you drink, pace yourself. Have “drink spacers”—make every other drink a nonalcoholic one. Know what constitutes a standard drink and have no more than one per hour. Remember that a designated driver is someone who hasn’t had any alcohol, not simply the person in your group who drank the least.

Our mandatory alcohol server training teaches alcohol servers how much alcohol constitutes a drink, how to spot inebriated customers, and how to diffuse customers who've had too much. AACEA is also committed to ensuring everyone has a safe holiday season by reminding you to drink responsibly. Happy Holidays from AACEA!

Smarter Responsible Alcohol Service

In a recent report, we discovered that more and more bars are using QR codes (aka Quick Response codes) to make sure their patrons get home safely. An article on MyCentralJersey.com reports:

...Local bars will be using QR codes to advertise taxi companies to help get [clients] home safely. Young adults will simply use their smart phone to scan the codes on table tents, posters and business cards to easily view a list of taxi companies.
This initiative, adopted by establishments with alcohol service, provides a way for drinkers to get home safely, and still enjoy a drink or two.

In a similar measure, Seattle continues to improve it's Seattle Nightlife program aimed at curbing drunk driving by providing safe transportation alternatives. Info on overnight parking is posted on parking meters city wide - offering Pre-Paid parking for the next day, should drivers choose to leave their car parked instead of driving drunk.

The program also focuses on making Taxi zones more visible and dependable in parts of the city with concentrated nightlife destinations, and strives to make bus service more dependable and accessible for drinkers after a night out on the town. The Seattle Nightlife initiative is aimed at maintaining public safety, while providing businesses with greater flexibility to adapt to the market demands of residents and visitors.

What can you do as an alcohol server?

Keep an eye on your patrons and know when enough is enough. Part of responsible alcohol sales & service is being able to read your customers. Not only that, but it's helpful to keep a list of numbers for local taxi services on hand. Most reasonable patrons will thank you for keeping their best interests in mind.

Part of becoming a certified bartender is providing responsible alcohol service aimed at reducing drunk driving. America's Alcohol Certification Education Association is committed to teaching future bartenders the basic tenets of responsible alcohol service and sales. For a list of our online alcohol certification classes, please visit www.aacea.com.

Bartender Question: How do I Cut a Customer Off?

In the bartending industry, certified bartenders may find themselves facing rowdy customers who have had a little too much to drink. Knowing the signs of over-intoxication, and when to say no are part of responsible server training. America’s Alcohol Certified Education Association asked bartending pro Jeffrey Morgenthaler how to cut someone off - on the subject, he says, "Telling someone “No more” can lead to an uncomfortable situation. So that’s why I now try to approach the denial of alcohol from a hospitality-centric perspective: I’m the one who helped get you into this mess, and now I’m going to be the one who helps you get out of it – a bartender in every sense of the word."

Some of the best methods for cutting unruly customers fall into the category of simply caring for your customer. You want them to continue to come back for a long time to come, which means that in no condition should they get in their car while inebriated. Jeffrey suggests simply explaining this to them - and then by suggesting food, soft drinks, water or coffee to over-inebriated guests, you keep them in a safe place, while giving them a little bit more time to sober up. The next step after diffusing the situation is to alert the rest of your crew, so that nobody continues to over-serve your guest. Bartenders who seem caring, who de-escalate the situation, and who offer to help clients seem to have the best results when cutting off customers.

Many of Jeffrey's very smart readers also provided insight on this bartending conundrum. One reader mentioned "actively managing" your clientele. Heath says:

"When I probably have had too much, bartenders often take far longer to come back to ask for my next drink than they usually do, or they forget the drinks I’ve ordered, or introduce me to someone who’s about to go have a cigarette. I appreciate these measures that let me save face (and sometimes not even notice that it’s happening), while having the same effect of keeping me from having far too much more to drink."

One clever commenter mentioned a game she created to cut off inebriated customers. Cheryl says:

"I had to come up with something creative. It’s my bartender nature to always bring humor into as much of life as possible, so I went out and bought an Operation game. I used the game for guests I felt should be cut-off.

I’d pull it out with a big smile and tell the drunken soul that I would strike a deal with them. The rules were simple. Get all the bones out without the red buzzer nose going off and I’d serve them another drink. The game on the bartop was a magnet of fun and as you might have guessed, a big hit. The people that loved it the best were the local cops. They called it my sobriety test."

By keeping your cool and being discrete about cutting someone off, you encourage your customers to continue returning to your establishment. Not only that - you diffuse potentially unsafe situations. AACEA's certified bartenders gain valuable experience like cutting off inebriated customers at our mandatory alcohol server training classes. We provide online alcohol server training, while promoting responsible service and sales of alcohol. To get your servers permit, visit 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.

Reader Question: My Friend is Underage and Uses a Fake ID

Every once in a while we receive emails from concerned or curious readers. We do what we can to answer every question; AACEA provides alcohol server training that promotes responsible alcohol sales and service. Recently we received the following email:

"I have a friend who constantly uses her older sisters ID to get in to clubs - how can I help to put a stop to this? I am concerned, since I know that not properly checking IDs can lead to more serious issues."
Len says:

As long as there is a drinking age minors are going to do what they can to get into places where the age limit is 21 years of age or older. In other words, they want to go clubbing -basically, what your friend is doing.

You can let her know that by using another person's ID she could be charged with a felony for identity theft, she can also be charged criminally for being under age in an establishment licensed for 21 years of age as well as be charged for a Minor In Posession.

Let her know the consequences of her actions may even result in a server or bartender being charged criminally and sued in a civil case. Tell the older sister that she too can be charged with the same, if it is proven that she loaned her ID to her sister.

If you know where she is going, let that bar know she is underage.

Hope this helps,

-Len

A note for the bartenders: during your alcohol server training you learn the importance of checking valid identification so that you do not serve alcohol to a minor. In Washington State it is illegal for minors to be in a bar. As a bartender in Washington it is your responsibility to ensure that you check the identification of everyone frequenting the establishment in which you work.

Get your Washington alcohol permit online. For more information and to take your class from the comfort of your home visit www.aacea.com.

When Enough is Enough

We've lost so many lives recently to addictions - especially alcohol addictions. With headlines decrying car crashes and binge drinking, and newspapers talking about the dangers of mixing drinks with medication, some may start to ask how to prevent these type of events. And accusations start flying at the bartenders that continue to serve and over-serve these clientele, who quickly become a danger to themselves and others.

At AACEA we educate alcohol servers on how to serve alcohol responsibly and how to become a better bartender. We feel it's important to look at these cases of driving under the influence, and assess where we can do better. Our students at AACEA are the first line of defense against drunk driving.

As an article on the Ryan Dunn incident suggests,

Bartenders across the country face the same challenges all the time. Whenever a person is in a car accident, especially a fatal one, it is natural for family and friends to want to point fingers, and police typically investigate the bartender to see if anyone was selling to an openly drunk customer. “We often get the question of what should bartenders do,” Sgt. Wayne Bush of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement says. “First, don’t serve a person to that point — shut them off. If they slur their words, stand and are wobbly, hold on to the bar, are nodding off or have trouble getting money out of their wallet, they’ve had enough. Don’t wait for them to puke on the floor or to pick a fight. That’s too late.”

In the case of more experienced drinkers however, it isn’t that easy. “The bartender and wait staff have the obligation not to serve someone who is visibly intoxicated,” Bush said. “What they have to realize is that someone can be drinking and not appear to be intoxicated because the last drinks haven’t hit his system. It all depends on the person; someone who is a regular drinker will be able to drink more.” To make things more difficult, some people won’t take no for an answer. Someone who is cut off from a bartender can easily go to a table of strangers and beg a drink from them.

When dealing with experienced drinkers, it can be difficult to tell when to stop serving. You might be tipped off by either excessively loud or excessively withdrawn behavior. Your customer may not be able to completely focus on the task at hand, or may lose a little hand-eye coordination. You may be able to tell by rambling conversation or offensive language. Part of being a good bartender is knowing your clientele and being able to quickly spot those who may be under the influence.

AACEA provides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. AACEA is hosting a raffle for students enrolled in our alcohol server training classes – 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.

In the Service of Care

Too many people all crammed into a bar, the sway back, rock forward, tipsy movements. There she comes again, that specimen of service, gracing everyone with smiles, gentle excuses, and spirits. She weaves through the crowd, never stopping, never dropping. Her heart beats to the rhythm of the music, her hand twitches through her tickets, and her mind keeps track of all the loose ends. In the corner, a dark space, far against the wall, she keeps an eye on those two love birds, filling the glass, or stopping to ask if the comfort is still there. Also, at arms length, she watches those bodies, all of those bodies, because her word is the law when it comes to making sure safety is upheld. Her service requires care for every individual, a blessing and a curse, as they beckon, are denied, yell and scream, blink and babble. Unexpectedly, righteously, she stands between that door. No one leaves with their breath on fire, or their track off kilter. A cab can be called, or a friend, and she knows just what to do, water and well wishing keeps this smile in service.

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The Author, Alexandra Erwin, is one of our runners up in the Scholarship to Save Lives competition. In addition to our $500 scholarship, we selected 3 recipients for a runner-up prize of $100. Thank you so much to Alexandra and to all of our entrants.

AACEA provides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. AACEA is hosting a raffle for students enrolled in our alcohol server training classes – 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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