If you’ve taken your TAM® training, you know that a standard serving size for alcoholic beverages refers to 12 ounces of beer with 5% alcohol, 5 ounces of wine with 12% alcohol and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, which are 40% alcohol by volume. Knowledge of these standard serving sizes is very important, and can be helpful when you are observing patrons for increasing signs of intoxication. You can estimate how much alcohol they have consumed. However, it has become increasingly common for wine and beer to have a higher than standard amount of alcohol by volume.
As reported by Health 24, it’s not uncommon for many wines to now register at 14-15% alcohol which throws off the standard five ounce serving. While a standard beer may register around 4-5% alcohol, the increasing number of microbrews and premium beers with higher alcohol content are also throwing a wrench into standard serving calculations. Finally, consumers can purchase flavored malt beverages which are packaged in bottles and sold at convenience, grocery and liquor stores across the United States. They can range anywhere from 5-12% alcohol depending on the choice. With all of these variations, it’s easy to see how patrons can easily consume more alcohol than intended. And, as a result, quickly become much more intoxicated.
Knowing this, servers, bartenders and anyone else responsible for service and sale of alcoholic beverages has a very important job on their hands… knowing how to spot an intoxicated guest, and knowing when to intervene or cut them off. As a server, it’s important to make sure that your guests are having an good time, are served exactly what they ordered, and remain respectful of the establishment and others without being over-served. What do bartenders and servers need to know, and how can they use this knowledge to provide responsible beverage service? Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Read the labels and be knowledgeable about alcohol levels in the products you offer. If you have a bottle of wine or a beer on the menu with high alcohol content, it may be worthwhile to print the alcohol percentage on your menu, or at least be knowledgeable enough to answer guest questions about the alcohol content. A server can also politely mention the higher than average alcohol content to any guests ordering that beverage. A simple, “Here’s your beer. Just so you are aware, this particular bottle has a 10% alcohol level, so this is about double the standard alcohol serving,” would be appropriate.
- When serving and observing guests, don’t just consider a drink’s potency, consider the serving size as well. Even if you are serving a standard 5% alcohol beer to a guest, if they are ordering a 16 ounce pint glass instead of a 12 ounce bottle, then this is still delivering more alcohol than one standard single serving. As always, remain observant.
To learn more about safe beverage service and any warning signs to watch out for in patrons, take our alcohol awareness course and get TAM certified.
Good news! Beginning Monday, September 23, 2019, TAM® of Nevada will once again offer in-person training and alcohol awareness classes in Las Vegas. After a fire destroyed our office building, we moved to our new location. We have a comfortable new classroom to host classes.
Join us for the only instructor-led TAM Card® class offered in in Las Vegas. You’ll get the chance to interact with fellow students and our instructors. Our class groups are fun AND informative. Working together is a great way to make sure you understand all of the information. Our instructors are industry experts, and will be happy to share their tips and industry insights.
Our full classroom schedule is:
- Monday 2:00pm
- Tuesday 10:00am
- Wednesday 2:00pm
- Thursday 2:00pm
- Friday 2:00pm
- Saturday 10:00am
- Spanish class – Thursday 9/26 at 9:30am and then the third Thursday of every month at 9:30am
You can register at our office before class starts or register on our website.
If you prefer to take your training online, we also have you covered. We offer online TAM Card training, available 24/7, at the TAM® of Nevada website. You can finish the course online, and visit our office for a quick final exam. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Imagine this: you are serving beverages to customers, just like any other day. A younger couple visits your establishment and orders two pints of beer. You size them up and they seem sober and confident, but they look like they might be a little young. Think fast – what do you do? Ask to see I.D., or make the sale and send them on their way? If you chose option number two, you would have failed the test.
This past Saturday three businesses were cited for serving minors. The Reno area’s Regional Street Enforcement Team conducts regular alcohol compliance and TAM Card checks. On Saturday, the Team sent four 18-20-year-old volunteers out to attempt alcohol purchases at 22 area businesses. This time around, three of those businesses made sales to the minors. These volunteers were given instructions to show their actual state-issued I.D. if they were asked for it, clearly identifying them as underage, according to authorities.
The penalties can be severe. In Nevada, serving alcohol to a minor and allowing a minor into a bar are misdemeanors, with a pre-designated fine of $500. Now, think about your training. Would you pass an alcohol compliance check? Here are some tips for keeping things safe and legal:
- Get your mandatory TAM® Card and alcohol awareness training. TAM® will train you on how to correctly check identification and how to spot fake, borrowed, or altered ID. Police officers may ask to see your alcohol awareness card during an alcohol compliance check, so it is important to be prepared.
- Check ID very carefully, and look for any inconsistencies. Watch for anyone who seems either nervous, or over confident. When checking the birth date of a customer, don’t rely only on the birth year alone to confirm someone is of legal drinking age. Minors may try to pull a fast one on busy or distracted workers by purchasing alcohol just a few months or weeks shy of their 21st birthdays. As evidenced by this recent operation, doing the math correctly is very important.
Every establishment needs policies to prevent alcohol sales to minors, and to protect themselves from liability, and the public from harm. Tell us in the Comments below – how else do you think service workers can help curb teen drinking?
Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 50 minutes (CDC). As a TAM Card® holder, you can do your part to help cut that number in the future. You have the skills to promote safe beverage service and minimize the chances that someone will be over served and get behind the wheel.
At TAM® of Nevada, we like to promote responsible service year-round. Spread the message that April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and this is a great opportunity to further reflect on safe service choices and showcase your training.
Alcohol Awareness Month was founded by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) and further sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This national date is an opportunity to raise awareness about alcohol abuse, reflect on consumption, and encourage people to make healthy choices.
This month we encourage you to visit our website or our office to renew or obtain your official TAM® Card. In addition to our regularly scheduled TAM® Classes available in Las Vegas six days a week, the TAM® course is also available online 24/7. Additional special offerings and scheduled events in April include:
- Final exams are offered at our Las Vegas office and several other locations across Nevada, as a convenience to our online customers. View our exam schedule to find the option that works best for you.
- Alcohol awareness class and final exams for online students will be available in Mesquite at the Virgin River Hotel Casino on Wednesday, April 17th. This event is repeated the third Wednesday of every month.
- Class will be offered in Spanish in Las Vegas on Thursday, April 18th at 10:00am. Walk-ins are welcome. This event is repeated the third Thursday of every month.
How will you promote safe choices this April?