Hey Californians! If you are in the hospitality industry and serve alcohol during your job (whether you’re a bartender, waitstaff, or you serve alcohol in some other capacity while on the job) you’re definitely going to want to know and understand California drinking laws to keep yourself out of trouble!
Likewise, if you’re hoping to participate in drinking activities within California state (whether you’re from in or out of state), the below basic California alcohol laws will be helpful for you to know as well!
How old do I need to be in California State to bartend?
How old do I need to be in California State to serve alcohol as waitstaff?
How old do I need to be in California State to conduct alcohol tastings?
How old do I need to be in California State to enter a bar?
If you are a Special Events Server in California, or if you are planning to serve alcohol at a special event such as at a fair, festival, or any other event where a temporary alcohol license is required, you may be wondering what information you need to know in order to responsibly serve alcoholic beverages in the state of California. The CA ABC (California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control) manages California’s alcohol licensing, education, and enforcement, but they do not require that you complete a Responsible Beverage Server (RBS) training in order to Serve alcohol at a special event.
But here’s the deal… An RBS training is still incredibly valuable and (at times) required for employment!
Even though the CA ABC does not mandate RBS Trainings, they still encourage Special Events Alcohol Servers and Bartenders to complete an RBS course from a provider that is listed on their RBS Training Provider List (like yours truly) in order to protect themselves from alcohol related liabilities! Not to mention, there are several establishments and events that require employees to take an RBS course.
A few of the topics you will want to be aware of as a Special Events Server are as follows:
The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (CA ABC) allows alcohol On-Sale and Off-Sale retail licenses to be transferred:
- from a license holder to another person
- from one premises to another
Before we go any further, we’d like note that the easiest way to learn about California Alcohol Laws is to complete and/or require all staff to complete a CA RBS Training which also teaches practical techniques for following and enforcing California Liquor laws within your establishment.
If you own or work at an On-Sale alcohol licensed establishment in California State, you may want to sample alcohol to your customers at one point or another. Sampling alcohol is a fantastic way to connect with your customers and to introduce them to your products, but they can only be conducted by in-house employees if you have an on-sale alcohol licensed establishment which allows you to sell wine or liquor.
What is a California On-Sale Alcohol License?
This is a CA liquor license which allows you to serve alcohol to be consumed within your establishment. Restaurants and bars are common examples of establishments which hold a California on-sale liquor license.
What is a California Off-Sale Alcohol License?
If you haven’t already guessed, a California off-sale alcohol license is one which allows you to sell alcohol strictly to go. Liquor store and beer & wine shops are common examples of establishments which hold a California off-sale liquor license.
The California State Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC)’s primary mission is to regulate alcohol in order to reduce (and hopefully one day eliminate) alcohol related tragedies and the possession and consumption of alcohol by minors.
Even though the CA ABC’s mission is clear and just, alcohol related tragedies and incidences of minor alcohol consumption/possession still occur, which is why the CA ABC is in existence. One way the CA ABC enforces their mission is to employ Minor Decoy Operations.
Before we go any further, we’d like note that the easiest way to ensure the welfare of your establishment is to complete and/or require all staff to complete a CA RBS Training to learn about California State Alcohol Selling & Serving laws and to receive practical techniques for following and enforcing these laws within your establishment.