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AACEA Launches Free Alcohol Server Certification Contest

Are you looking to get your alcohol server permit, or Class-12 certification in Washington? Lucky You! Get your bartender certification free – on us! Just tell us why you want to become a bartender, and we'll give one lucky bartender a full ride scholarship to our online alcohol certification class for free!

To enter, comment on our Facebook Page, or tweet @lenriggs on twitter, and use the hashtag #freealcoholservertraining.

For example, you could say “@lenriggs - I want to become a bartender because I make excellent flaming Dr. Peppers! #freealcoholservertraining” and you’re entered to win. It’s that easy!

The contest will be open until April 25 and if you win, you will experience free mandatory alcohol server training courtesy of Len Riggs and Americas Alcohol Certified Education Association. You can post on both FB and Twitter for 2 contest entries. You also get one entry for sharing our contest with YOUR friends on Twitter and one entry for sharing our contest on Facebook. That’s 4 chances to win – total!

If you need Washington alcohol server training, AACEA provides online alcohol server training courses that you can take from the comfort of your own home. Imagine getting your bartender certification in your pajamas, and heading to work later that day. It's that easy. Find out more at www.aacea.com.

Thanks to Contest Hound for helping us spread the word!

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. bartender When 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.

Extra Dry or Brut? A Primer on Champagne, Part I

"Come quickly, I am tasting stars..." Dom Perignon, after his first taste of Champagne,
Do you know the difference between an extra dry and a brut champagne? Can you tell a Cava from a Prosecco? Do you know what bubbles from Napa are called, or what makes it bubbly in the first place? If the answer to any of these questions is NO, you're not alone. The confusion may stem from the bubbly elixr's ubiquitos misrepresentation (not all sparkling wines are champagnes), and the confusion between the name, and the taste. Champagne Campaign! Champagne is a sparkling wine that comes ONLY from the region of Champagne, France. Champagne, France courtesy of Drinknectar.comAny other bubbles calling themselves champagne that do not hail from the region north of Paris are not. They're generally considered "sparkling wines". As Drinknectar.com notes, "While it might sound like French snobbery to some, they developed the process, so I think they deserve to lay claim to the name." We agree. For sparkling wines that come from outside the Champagne region, the French have reserved the terms "Mousseux", "Crémant" and sometimes "Blanquette". Blanquette is generally a white from Limoux and the sparkling Blanquette actually pre-dates champagne. When buying, look for the words "méthode champenoise", which means the wine has a second-fermentation in the bottle. This extra fermentation is where the bubbles come in. This is in opposition to the charmat method (and most any other kind of fermentation), which actually requires a large tank. Here, the carbon dioxide is injected while the wine is in stainless steel tanks (rather than fermented in its' own bottle), and is bottled under pressure in a continuous process. Dry or Brut? These terms often confuse bubble-buyers. Many would think of a dry wine as being just that - not sweet. However, when it comes to champagne and other sparkling whites, this option is often the sweetest. When looking for a drier bottle, keep this in mind:
  • Extra Brut (The driest - Pucker up! Many enjoy this extra dry sparkling wine)
  • Brut (Highly recommended)
  • Extra Dry (Which is not as dry as Brut)
  • Dry/Sec (Much sweeter than Brut)
  • Demi-Sec (A great dessert wine)
  • Doux (Maximum sugar)
Most champagne is made as a "cuvée" - a blend of 3 types of grapes, typically 2 white and one red. A Blanc de Blancs will be made entirely of white grapes, and is generally more delicate, while a Blanc de Noirs is a white wine made of red/black grapes. The Blanc de Noirs is generally more robust, with a golden color. You may also see bottles of Rosé Cuvée which means just a touch of red wine is added to give it the pink color. Rosé Cuvée is not to be confused with rosé wines. Serving Recommendations Champagne is best served cold - between 43 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit. To get your champagne to this temperature, leave it in the fridge for a few days before opening. Never put champagne in the freezer, since contents are under pressure and bottles have a tendency to explode in freezers. We've also read that the quick chill can ruin the aromatics. If you need to chill champagne quickly, put it in an ice bucket filled with half ice and half water for about a half hour. When pouring, always pour the glass 3/4 full, in tall champagne flutes. America's Alcohol Certified Education Association provides online alcohol server training - to get your alcohol server's permit or to take alcohol server training classes in Washington and Oregon from the comfort of your own 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!

Rewarding Designated Drivers

Designated drivers are being rewarded for their sobriety by bars in Massachusetts. In an initiative to cut down on drunk driving, patrons who announce that they are the designated driver in their party receive free sodas from participating establishments. One of these establishments, Tinker's Son Pub in Norwell MA, began rewarding its designated drivers a year ago, after hearing about the initiative's success in other pubs in the area. Participating restaurants post a sticker near the door announcing their participation in the program. Many certified bartenders and certified alcohol servers ask large groups if they’ve designated a sober driver for the night. Police in the Norwell area encouraged this measure after a fatal holiday crash in 2002. At America's Alcohol Certified Education Association, we applaud this measure to cut down on drunk driving, which takes the lives of thousands of people every year. In fact, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported in 2007 that nearly 18,000 highway deaths were "alcohol-related." It's up to alcohol servers to help cut down on the number of fatal alcohol-related accidents by providing responsible alcohol service and sales. If you're looking for mandatory alcohol server training, AACEA provides online alcohol server training, which you can take from the comfort of your own home in only 3 hours. Start the New Year off right, with a program tailored to your needs. Find out more about our MAST classes at 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.

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.

There's still a chance to win $500 through the AACEA Scholarship to Save Lives!

We're giving everybody an extension, and a second chance to win $500!

Are you working in the Hospitality industry and 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 $500 through the Len Riggs and AACEA Scholarship to Save Lives Contest. Entries will be accepted until July 1st.

To enter: Like the AACEA Facebook page and read the complete contest rules (find them here). Submit an essay, poem, song, or other piece of creative writing explaining what it means to you as a hospitality worker, to be the first line of defense in keeping drunk drivers off our roads. Send your submissions via email to scholarshiptosavelives@aacea.com.

Need an example? Here's a Sample Entry From Len Riggs, founder of AACEA:

"When I first became certified by the WSLCB I can remember reading the approval letter and thinking "Now what?" I started out with a shoe string budget, rolled up my sleeves and went to work. I had one goal in mind and that was to become the number one provider in Washington. When I mentioned that goal I was met with a lot of skepticism.

"As I began my quest I found myself digging deeper into the culture of alcohol service and could see where I could make a difference by teaching those in my class with more than just enough information to pass the test and get their permit.

"When I teach a class or when I train a trainer for AACEA / LRAST, I do my best to get the fact across that they (the student) can make a difference and save lives. Many times I have been contacted by past students who either went through a class that I taught, or through one of our trainers to thank us for teaching us what we taught."

Find out more about AACEA at: https://aacea.com/.

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