Alcoholic Beverage Service at Special Events – Are You Following the Law?

iStock_000010753481XSmallContrary 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, 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.

Taking it a step further, new and veteran TAM® Card holders alike should know that ID Checking, even at special events, is a huge responsibility. Room service, banquets, conventions, race tracks, quinceañeras, 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?

A recent news story out of Reno concerns ID checking at a local “wine walk” festival. An alarming 84% of businesses failed alcohol compliance checks during the event (KOLO). A common practice at many festivals and special events, such as this one, is to check for participant ID during event registration. The participant may receive a special arm band, badge, stamp, beverage glass, or other item that identifies them as a registered participant of legal drinking age. However, an event wristband does not relieve servers from verifying a customer is of age.

In the case of the recent Reno wine walk, purchase of a wristband and special wine glass was used to identify participants and allow them to sample wine from a variety of area restaurants. In cases such as this, it would be very easy for one individual of legal drinking age to purchase a wristband, but then give the wristband to an underage drinker. This scenario illustrates why it is important to ALWAYS check identification and should serve as a reminder that just because a participant may have a special event pass, that does not relieve the server from checking for photo ID.

The same holds true for special events such as weddings and other banquet events. Even if a wedding reception is “adults only”, a bartender 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.

For more information on TAM® Card Requirements, refer to our blog post, “Need a TAM® Card for the Busy Summer Season? A Rundown on Requirements.” Remember, remain vigilant, and always practice the Techniques of Alcohol Management in order to provide responsible beverage service. What other advice would you give regarding alcoholic beverage service during special events?

Resources

84% of Businesses Fail Underage Alcohol Compliance Check During Wine Walk – Kolo 8 News Now

© 2013 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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A Dangerous Cocktail – With Prom and Graduation around the Corner, Be Vigilant About Teen Drinking

TAM®-certified hospitality professionals know to always be alert and check IDs year round. However, they should be extra vigilant about preventing teenage drinking going into the spring party season. With both prom and graduation around the corner, some teenagers will be trying to obtain alcoholic beverages through a variety of methods including using fake or borrowed IDs, asking other patrons to purchase liquor for them and even stealing alcoholic beverages when they think no one is looking.

Peer pressure is a constant concern among young people. Teens want to fit in, and alcohol is not only easily accessible to many, it can also contribute to the party atmosphere at end of the school year celebrations. A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that 51% of 18-20 year olds in Nevada have engaged in underage drinking within the past month, and 36% have engaged in binge drinking within the last month (SAMHSA). What can you do to help prevent underage drinking and keep things safe?

Reduce the availability of alcoholic beverages to underage drinkers by checking identification carefully or for anyone who appears to be under the age of 30. Always be vigilant about checking identification. Completing your alcohol awareness training with TAM® of Nevada will teach you tips and techniques for spotting fake or borrowed identification.

Off-premise sales professionals should also remain vigilant about alcohol sales. Make sure that ‘alcopops’ such as Four Loko which are popular with teens and sold off-premise are displayed in areas dedicated to alcoholic beverages, not in the soft drink section. Many of these drinks can be easily confused for non-alcoholic energy drinks on quick glance, and it just makes it easier on everyone involved to keep them separate.

A new study suggests that approximately 25% of teen drinkers obtain alcohol from a parent or other family member (MADD). Clerks and cashiers don’t necessarily know that if they sell beer and liquor to a legal adult, the adult won’t provide that liquor to teenagers, but using your best judgment and following store procedures will help to keep things safe and legal. Remember to report any suspicious behavior or activity among patrons to your supervisor or manager.

Be an example to others by promoting safe beverage policies. You can set an example among your coworkers and young people by making it clear that you think underage drinking is NOT ok. In addition to checking identification and keeping a close eye on all patrons, also consider displaying signage in your store or bar announcing that purchasers of alcohol will be carded.

What policies have you instituted at your organization to deter teen drinking?

Resources

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Is Your Staff in Need of Alcohol Awareness Training? TAM® Offers On-Site Classes for Nevada Businesses

Over 200,000 hospitality and service workers are employed in Clark County, most of whom are required, by state law, to receive alcohol awareness training and carry an Alcohol Education Card. How many of them work for you?

Employers have a duty to ensure that all of their employees are properly trained in responsible alcohol beverage service prior to their start of work. Want to take the hassle out of staying on top of those training requirements? TAM of Nevada offers special onsite alcohol awareness classes for groups and companies, and we’ll make sure your staff is trained the right way. You want to reduce their risk of liability and make sure their staff is trained on how to properly serve and sell alcoholic beverages while providing excellent customer service. Want to know if our training solutions might be right for your company?

  1. Do you have dozens or hundreds of employees who are working day, afternoon and evening shifts? With employees working a variety of different schedules, you can ensure that everyone receives convenient training on-site at your location at convenient times. Beginning in 2011, TAM® began offering on-site alcohol education courses at Walmart® locations throughout the Las Vegas area. Walmart® contacted TAM® about the best way to ensure all of their employees were able to obtain their mandatory TAM® Cards. TAM® of Nevada worked with Walmart® to implement training for employees with different work schedules and who lived in several different areas all around Las Vegas. Now all Walmart® employees benefit from training scheduled on-site at their work location several times throughout the year.
  2. If you have staff outside of Las Vegas, TAM® of Nevada can save students a trip to our Training Center. We offer a variety of options that has your staff taught with one uniform training program to meet all state requirements. Whether you prefer employees receive training at your Clark County business, or private group sessions at our official training center, we can tailor a program to meet your needs. TAM’s capable instructors are available to hold regular classes and proctor exams at your facility, at your convenience. We can also arrange to issue TAM® cards on location depending on the number of students and scheduling requirements. For example, we recently launched alcohol awareness classes for Smith’s® employees in Mesquite, NV, and are preparing to provide required training for over 100 students on-site.
  3. With enforcement efforts on the rise, why risk having trouble with something like alcohol awareness training? Local police agencies in Nevada have been increasing their decoy operations and busting establishments and their employees for selling alcohol to minors. Additionally, if someone is busted serving alcohol to a minor, one of the first things law enforcement may do is check their alcohol awareness card to verify that it is valid. Remember, not all alcohol awareness training is created equal. We can evaluate your staff’s current status to make sure everyone is in compliance and holds a valid alcohol education card. In a recent article from KTNV detailing a February decoy operation in Henderson, seven clerks at various locations were busted for selling to a minor. The article notes that not only were employees issued citations which can result in up to 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine, owners or managers of a business that fails a second or third time can also be issued a citation and could face the revocation of their business license. Check out our recent blog post, “Over Half of Reno Bars Visited in Alcohol Compliance Check Busted for Serving Minors. Are You Checking for I.D.?” for additional details on a recent decoy operation.

TAM® of Nevada has been tailoring training to meet corporate client needs since its inception. Please contact us today to learn more or to arrange training for your facility.

Resources

7 Henderson Businesses Cited for Selling Alcohol to Minors – KTNV

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Over Half of Reno Bars Visited in Alcohol Compliance Check Busted for Serving Minors. Are You Checking for I.D.?

Sellers and servers of alcohol in Washoe and Clark counties are required to complete alcohol education and obtain an alcohol awareness card prior to the start of work. If an undercover officer came to your place of employment today to check the status of alcohol awareness card holders, would you be in compliance? If a younger patron came into your establishment and ordered a drink, would you ask to see their identification? This past Saturday Reno Police visited 32 establishments around Reno, Nevada and of those visited, 18 were busted for serving alcoholic beverages to minors in a decoy operation (Reno Gazette Journal). This serves as a reminder to TAM® Card holders to always ask to see I.D. for anyone who appears to be 35 years old or younger, and to follow company procedure and local laws for safe beverage service.

Establishments need to be diligent in requiring staff to check ID’s when making alcohol sales. Every establishment needs policies and procedures to prevent underage persons from obtaining alcohol, and to protect themselves from liability, and the public from harm. Decoy operations are not just used to catch those selling alcohol to minors, they can also be used to check the validity of your alcohol education card and whether it is expired.

Remember, selling alcohol to a minor is a very serious offense. TAM® of Nevada provides alcohol awareness training which covers all aspects of furnishing alcohol to a minor, and provides training on spotting fake IDs. Contact us today to sign up for online or classroom-based alcohol awareness training. Service professionals must be aware of the facts and dangers of teenage drinking and diligent about checking identification.

Additionally, if you are busted serving alcohol to a minor, one of the first things law enforcement and your employer may do is look at your alcohol education card. Not all training is created equal; completing your alcohol awareness course with TAM® of Nevada shows you’re serious about obtaining the best alcohol education possible.

Don’t put yourself at risk, always ask for identification, and get educated on effective ways to help stop teen drinking.

Resources

Did Police Play the Grinch with an Alcohol Sting During Saturday’s Santa Pub Crawl in Reno?

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada