Safe Beverage Service – Higher ABV Wines Require Special Consideration

Wine ABVIf you’ve taken your TAM® Card training, you know that all alcoholic beverages are not created equal. A standard serving size means 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. This calculation helps when you are observing your guests for increasing signs of intoxication. You can easily estimate how much alcohol they have consumed and act accordingly to keep things safe.

However, it is becoming increasingly common for wines to have a higher than standard amount of alcohol by volume (ABV). Maybe you’ve noticed it yourself when opening a bottle of wine for patrons, but the standard 12% ABV isn’t always the norm. As reported by Health 24, it’s not uncommon for many wines to now register at 14-15% ABV, which throws off calculation on a standard five ounce serving.

Additionally, as reported by FWx, a new study suggests the ABV listed on a wine label might not be correct. The study indicated that nearly 60% of the 100,000 bottles tested came back containing a higher percentage of alcohol than was listed on the label. The average overstatement was roughly 0.42%, which might not seem like a lot. But, it could still lead hospitality professionals and guests to underestimate the amount that has been consumed, and put them at risk.

With variations like this, it’s easy to see how patrons can easily consume more alcohol than they intended to, and much more quickly reach unintended levels of intoxication.

So what does this mean for you as a service professional?

  • Read the labels and be knowledgeable about alcohol levels in the products you offer. If you have a bottle of wine or a microbrew on the menu with high ABV, consider including the alcohol percentage on your menu. A server can also 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. If you’re offering bottle service, it is very important to keep an eye on guests and keep a tally of how much they are consuming. And even if you are serving a standard 12% wine to a guest, if they are ordering a tasting sampler with three 3oz glasses, or a larger 7oz pour, then this is still delivering more alcohol than one standard single serving.

To learn more about safe beverage service and any warning signs to watch out for in guests, complete an alcohol awareness course with TAM® of Nevada.


Did You Know? TAM Cards Are Required for Serving Alcohol at Special Events and Festivals

FestivalsIt’s a beautiful September in Las Vegas, and the always popular Life is Beautiful festival is right around the corner! A huge number of volunteers and employees will descend onto the festival grounds in downtown Las Vegas from September 25-27 to help serve and sell alcoholic beverages to festival attendees. If you’re planning to participate, are you prepared? As with any upcoming festival, it is a good time to remind people about the rules concerning all special events.

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol awareness cards ARE required for anyone selling or serving alcoholic beverages for any length of time, including special one-time events… and the TAM® Card is the one you should have. We often receive calls asking if TAM Cards are needed for individuals who will be working to sell or serve alcoholic beverages for festivals, special weekend events, weddings, and similar situations. Even if you will only be working in this type of position for a short period of time, an alcohol awareness card is still mandatory. It protects you, your employer, and your patrons.

Taking it a step further, all hospitality professionals should remember that checking for ID is a huge responsibility. Room service, banquets, conventions, limo rides, race tracks, weddings, festivals, company picnics and celebrations, concession stands, and the list goes on! ID Checking at special events is absolutely imperative – are you following the letter of the law?

Just because a participant may have a special event pass, or may be attending an “adults only” wedding reception, that does not relieve the server from checking for photo ID. Bartenders should follow procedure to card anyone who appears to be 30 years of age or younger. It is better to be safe than sorry, and helps to keep underage guests safe.

To register for an online or on-site alcohol awareness course and obtain your TAM Card, visit TAM of Nevada’s website today!

Checking I.D. – Do You Know How To Quickly and Easily Spot a Minor?

Nevada_DL_MinorNevada_DL_AdultUnderage drinking is a serious concern in Nevada, and police agencies are always hard at work to remind retailers, beverage servers, and teens that if they do not abide by the laws, they will face consequences. One of the front line defenses used to combat teen drinking is the issuance of driver licenses that not only contain standard information such as a photo and birthdate, but also contain additional clues that the I.D. holder is a minor. Do you know what to look for on a driver’s license to determine if you can legally and safely serve the card holder?

Like other states across the country, Nevada redesigned their driver licenses several years ago to make it easier to spot a minor. Nevada made it easier to spot a minor by switching from horizontal to vertical printing. While driver licenses and identification cards for drivers over the age of 21 follow the traditional horizontal format, driver licenses for those under the age of 21 are printed vertically on the front, and horizontally on the back. Additionally, the DMV imprints an age restriction notice on a minor’s license for any individuals who are aged 18 and under. If the card holder is under 18 at the time of issuance, the card will feature a red banner with the words “Under 18 Until” followed by the date the cardholder will turn 18. Cards issued at ages 18-20 are in the vertical format but do not include the red banner.

When checking a driver license, a hospitality worker should make sure not to always equate the vertically printed with minors only. Remember, 19 and 20 year olds will still hold a vertically printed I.D. card. While they may not be of an age to legally purchase and consume alcoholic beverages, they may still be legally of age to enter 18+ clubs and other venues. Your TAM training will teach you how to use proper diligent inquiry to determine if you’re looking at valid identification. Don’t send revenue somewhere else because you didn’t properly check I.D. Always refer to the birthdate on the front of an I.D. card, and determine if the license is expired or still valid, to correctly determine the card holder’s age, and if you are able to serve them.

For additional tips and tricks for checking I.D. and spotting minors using fake I.D., make sure to complete your mandatory alcohol awareness course with TAM of Nevada. Our seasoned instructors will teach you what to look for, and how to react. Also remember:

  • When checking a customer’s birth date, don’t rely solely on the birth year to confirm someone is of legal drinking age. Minors may count on busy servers to only check for the year of birth on an I.D. and try to order alcoholic beverages months before their 21st birthdays.
  • Would it be helpful to you to know what to look for on identification from all 50 states and Canada? Most establishments also have a guidebook, like the I.D. Checking Guide, for validating various forms of identification. Ask your manager if you have a guide like this in your establishment and refer to it as needed.


Are You Serving Poolside? Prevent Dehydration from Alcohol Use on Hot Summer Days

Summer drinksThe sunny days of summer are in full swing in Las Vegas! If you’re working poolside, you know that frosty mugs of beer and tropical cocktails are top sellers. Enjoying an alcoholic beverage on a hot day can be a refreshing treat, but it can also accelerate dehydration and can lead to heat-related illness.

Are you serving thirsty patrons responsibly? Extended exposure to the heat and sun can cause dehydration. In fact, many experts will tell you to avoid drinks containing alcohol while in the sun or heat. When a person is dehydrated, they actually have a lower volume of blood. With less blood in the system, it will take less alcohol to reach a higher blood alcohol content level.

So, add alcohol to the mix and party goers can quickly become even more dehydrated while drinking their poolside cocktails. How can pool party servers ensure that their guests have fun in the sun? Remember, the key word is fun. Heading to the hospital with heat exhaustion is not fun. Here are some tips to keep guests safe, happy, and having a great time.

  • With each drink order, also offer to bring your guests a glass of ice water. Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to help stay hydrated. By helping your guests to stay hydrated, you’ll work to offset the dehydrating effects of the alcohol, sweltering heat, and the sun.
  • With drink orders, remember to encourage your guests to order food. Food helps keep alcohol in the stomach for a longer period of time which means that it will be absorbed into the bloodstream at a much slower rate. Try offering your bar patrons an appetizer or entrée to go with their drinks. A simple, “Would you like to try some of our famous sliders to go with your cocktail?” is always a good tactic.
  • Don’t forget to keep an eye on guests and monitor their behavior. By keeping track of how much your guests are drinking, you can better judge when they’ve had enough. When in doubt, do not serve. You’ll learn all of the tips and tricks of save beverage service in your alcohol awareness course from TAM® of Nevada.
  • Keep an eye on your guests, and use good judgment. Suggest some shade and promote an alcohol-free beverage. You can say, “You know it’s really hot out here today. I don’t want you to miss out on the party. Let me find you a shady spot.

By following these steps, you up the fun factor and you keep yourself, your guests, and your establishment safe. What other advice would you give to TAM® Card holders working at Vegas pool parties?