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.
Consumption of alcohol hit a 25-year high in 2010, when 67% of Americans reported drinking alcoholic beverages, according to a Gallup poll. That's a level unseen since the late 1970s, when 71% of Americans said they drank.
It's interesting to note:
Americans drank more wine than ever last year, 2.3 gallons apiece. That's up 35% since 1994. Spirits climbed 18% to 1.5 gallons per person for the same period, while beer intake dropped 7% to 20.7 gallons, says the Beer Institute.
What does the increase in alcohol consumption mean for certified alcohol servers? 1. Your establishment may be busier! Due to economic downturn, many people are looking for ways to blow off steam, or to get some valuable socialization time if they've been recently laid off. This might translate to an increase in customers who are looking for a cheap drink. 2. You may see an increase in intoxicated customers. Americans are consuming more alcohol on a whole - and more alcohol generally means more intoxication. It's important to have tactics for dealing with intoxicated customers and it's important to know when to say no. 3. You may see an increase in attempts at underage drinking. It's best to scrutinize scenarios in which you think your patron may be underage. It helps to familiarize yourself with local drivers' licenses and to adopt a policy for dealing with underage drinking. If you're looking to become a certified alcohol server and take online alcohol certification classes to get your Washington Server Permit or your Oregon server's permit, visit www.aacea.com. Each month, we raffle off $100 to a lucky student - put your name in the hat today by signing up for your mandatory alcohol server training with America's Alcohol Certified Education Association.
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.
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
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!
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.
AACEA promotes responsible alcohol sales and service. 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.
Underage drinking is illegal and destructive. The WSLCB has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the many excuses people, particularly some parents, use to perpetuate the myth that it's socially acceptable for those under 21 years old to drink beverage alcohol, whether it be liquor, wine, or beer. Adults must accept responsibility for preventing youth access to alcohol.
Indiana recently passed a law requiring all carry-out alcohol customers to show ID when purchasing alcohol, regardless of age. The law was largely ridiculed; however, after the law was enacted, officers completed inspections on underage sales of alcohol, saying that sales to minors was down over 40% since 2009. During the inspections, people ages 18 to 20 accompany officers and try to buy alcohol. Indiana business owners are "getting the message about not serving to minors after being hit with citations and fines," said a Courier Press article. Indiana Excise Police Officer Travis Thickstun said that along with laws mandating certified server training, the tougher ID requirements helped improve compliance. The mandatory server classes, which last about two hours, cover not over-serving to intoxicated customers, how to spot fake IDs, and basic alcohol laws in the state. "Liquor store owners supported the stricter ID law," says the Courier Press article. "...It wasn't that inconvenient and it led to a drastic drop in attempts by minors to buy alcohol because they knew clerks had to card all customers." Laws like these help reduce the risks of alcohol, from service-to-minors to drunk driving. Like Indiana, Washington state also requires mandatory alcohol server training. This spring, Indiana revised their card law so that store clerks are no longer required to card customers who reasonably appear older than 40, similar to laws in Washington state. If you're looking to take bartending certification classes, or to complete your mandatory alcohol server training, AACEA has an easy online alcohol server training program to fit your needs. 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.
"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.
What are the forms of acceptable identification when working in the State of Washington as a server?
According to the Revised Code of Washington (66.16.040), the following are the forms of identification that are acceptable to verify a person's age for the purpose of selling, serving, or allowing a person to possess or consume alcohol:
• Driver's license, instruction permit, or identification card of any state or province of Canada, or "identicard" issued by the Washington state department of licensing per RCW 46.20.117 • United States armed forces identification card issued to active duty, reserve, and retired personnel and the personnel's dependents, which may include an embedded, digital signature in lieu of a visible signature • Passport • Merchant Marine identification card issued by the United States Coast Guard; and • Enrollment card issued by the governing authority of a federally recognized Indian tribe located in Washington, if the enrollment card incorporates security features comparable to those implemented by the department of licensing for Washington driver's licenses.
If the identification document has an expiration date, a person may not use the document after the expiration date to verify his or her age. Some examples of valid identification are listed below.
Louisiana Bar Card and Washington State MAST permit. Arizona Title 4 Basic Training Online AZ DLLC Alcohol Server Approved Certification Course California Responsible Beverage Service RBS TIPS Certificate Program On Off Premises ABC Florida Vendor State Compliant Montana Ohio Seller For Sellers Servers Bartenders and Managers Get your TABC Certification for selling serving alcohol in Texas Your official can be printed online upon completion Utah Mobile Friendly valid Bartender School on off premise server training permit classes by Len Riggs