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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.

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

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

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.

Help Prevent Underage Drinking

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.

AACEA provides alcohol server training that promotes responsible alcohol sales and service. Get your Washington alcohol permit online. For more information and to take your class from the comfort of your home visit www.aacea.com.

Inspections in Indiana Find Fewer Sales to Minors

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.

Montana DUI Task Force Holds First Alcohol Sales and Service Training Class

The Lewis and Clark county DUI task force, along with Youth Connections, held its first Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service Training Class Tuesday. In an effort to prevent underage drinking, and auto accidents involving alcohol Montana passed a Mandatory Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service Training Act, requiring all places that sell alcoholic beverages train their servers and sales staff to recognize intoxicated or under-age patrons. Training has to be completed by September 30, 2011. In accordance with this new legislation, a DUI task force in Lewis and Clark County conducted its first Alcohol Sales and Service Training Class, handing out Certificates of Completion from the Montana Department of Revenue-Liquor License Control. Now, any Montana server who stocks shelves, serves, supervises and manages an establishment with alcohol must take the class, aimed at reducing the impact of alcohol impairment and impaired driving. From an article in the Helena Independent Record on Alcohol Server Training: "The class... focuses on things like how to spot a fake ID, the law that prohibits sales to anyone 'who is apparently, obviously or actually intoxicated,' and the personal civil liability a server or seller carries if an underage or over-served individual gets behind the wheel. These topics teach [attendees] how to do their job responsibly while keeping themselves, their customers, and the community safe. "This is a hot button topic in communities around Montana. For the first time in Montana’s history, a bartender and manager were charged criminally after they over served the man who hit Trooper Michael Haynes head on. Trooper Haynes died as a result of his injuries. This criminal charge embodies a shift being seen across Montana as lawmakers grapple to get a handle on the state’s overwhelming DUI problem. Alcohol sellers and servers are being held accountable for those they serve who get behind the wheel after they over indulge." America's Alcohol Certified Education Association provides mandatory alcohol server training, promoting 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.

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.

Sales to Apparently Intoxicated Persons

It is against the law to sell alcohol to an apparently intoxicated person or allow them to possess alcohol.

It is important to know the signs of intoxication - such as slurred speech, difficulty focusing, and aggressive behavior - when determining if a customer should be served alcohol. A list of signs can be found at here.

Employees should remember that customers may have already had several drinks before coming to their restaurant, so it is important to watch for signs before the first order is placed.

If a customer is showing apparent signs, employees should not serve them and remove any alcohol they have in their possession. While the customer can remain at the restaurant as long as they are not acting disorderly, employees must make sure they don't get alcohol from someone else.

When refusing service, employees can keep the situation calm by remaining polite, tactful and firm. The restaurant should have a policy about what to do after a sale is refused. Possibilities include offering complementary coffee or cab fare.

Conduct violations Restaurants should intervene immediately if they see people arguing or acting aggressively in order to prevent a fight. Customers that fight may not remain at your business.

When determining whether a disorderly conduct violation has occurred, the WSLCB looks at factors such as: * Did the restaurant create an environment that encouraged the behavior? * Did the restaurant allow the disorderly customer to remain at the business? * How did the restaurant respond to the altercation? * If there were injuries, were the police and medical aid called?

Also, owners and employees are not allowed to drink while working. In addition, employees and owners may not be at their restaurant while showing signs of intoxication, whether they are working or not.

Responsible service of alcohol should be your primary concern as a bartender or server. AACEA promotes responsible alcohol service and sales and offers online alcohol server training in Washington. For more information about your alcohol permit visit www.aaccea.com

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