What’s in a serving size? Servers and sellers should remain vigilant as higher-alcohol beverages hit the market

wine bottlesIf 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.

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‘Tis the Season – Safe Beverage Service at Holiday Gatherings

holida partyIt’s the most wonderful time of the year! For the hospitality industry, that means a huge uptick in the number of festive celebrations and company holiday parties. Whether you’re a hospitality professional looking at a reservation book full of large parties, or an HR professional planning a company event, there are a few points to remember for keeping things holly, jolly, and safe.

For HR professionals and businesses – Keep in mind that company parties are considered an extension of the workplace. It is the responsibility of the company to set guidelines. This is why many companies choose to limit the number of alcoholic beverages served to each individual. If you’re planning an on-site or off-site holiday party, remember that in Clark County all servers and sellers of alcoholic beverages must complete an alcohol awareness training course and carry a valid TAM® Card. Yes, this rule also applies for special events. Make sure you’re working with a restaurant or caterer which meets this requirement.

Companies can go the extra mile to make sure their attendees have a great time, but also stay safe. Consider strategies like issuing a set number of drink tickets per person, to prevent over-indulging. Close down the bar an hour or two before the party ends and offer snacks and non-alcoholic beverages instead. One of the most popular extras to offer attendees is complimentary cab service so that everyone makes it home safe.

For service professionals – Remember to use the Techniques of Alcohol Management® with holiday parties and all service interactions. You have an obligation to serve responsibly. And remember, you should always ask to see identification. Just because a patron may be at a special event (company holiday party, wedding) that does not relieve a server from checking for photo I.D.

Follow procedure to card anyone who appears to be 30 years of age or younger. It is better to be safe than sorry. It helps prevent sales to minors, protects against liability, and keeps the pubic safe from harm. The atmosphere at holiday special events can remain light and fun, while emphasizing safety.

TAM of Nevada® wishes all of our students and friends a safe and happy holiday season!

TAM® Cards for Teens – Training Available for Ages 16 and Up

iStock_000003275965SmallThere is a common misconception that one must be 21 years old to obtain a TAM® Card, but in reality TAM® training is available to individuals ages 16 and up. Remember, anyone who works in sales and service of alcoholic beverages, or in security at establishments that serve or sell alcoholic beverages in Southern Nevada must obtain an alcohol awareness card (Nevada Revised Statutes). Many minors and young adults work in positions that may require them to have their cards. Examples include cashiering or clerking at grocery and convenience stores. Workers ages 16-17 may handle sealed alcoholic beverages such as wine bottles or beer cans if they are employed at these types of establishments, as long as they are supervised by an adult.

Rules are different for hospitality professionals working at on-premises locations, and this is often where the confusion about alcohol awareness training regulations comes in. One must be 21 years or older to serve alcohol for consumption on the premises. In other words, if you work in a bar, restaurant, casino or other establishment where you are responsible for mixing or serving open alcoholic beverages, you must be of legal drinking age yourself. Additionally, one must also be 21 or older to be allowed inside a casino. These rules are applicable to individuals in positions such as bartenders, waiters, cocktail servers, etc.

Need help making sure you or your staff is in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations? Learn more about laws and regulations for servers and sellers of alcoholic beverages in Nevada and complete your mandatory alcohol awareness training with TAM®. Laws and statutes can be confusing because they are at the state, county, and city levels; and yes, there are additional gaming regulations in some cases. TAM training will cover all of these laws with you and make sure you understand the ways to reduce your risk and liability. Also remember to follow the rules of conduct laid out by your employer. Many companies have additional policies to maintain guest and employee safety, so make sure to check with your manager or supervisor about any extra procedures in place.

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Serving Alcoholic Beverages in a Limo or Party Bus? TAM Cards are required.

Tourists and locals alike often rely on chauffeurs to transport them in limousines, sedans, and party buses for a variety of events and special occasions. Even if limo drivers and transportation companies cannot sell alcoholic beverages, in many cases passengers are permitted to bring their own drinks, and drivers will be responsible for carefully monitoring passengers. In the regular course of business, drivers may find themselves pouring glasses of champagne or other alcoholic beverages for passengers on airport pickups, nightclub crawls, chartered tours of the Las Vegas strip, wedding and bachelor parties, and more. If you work in a position where you may serve alcoholic beverages to passengers, you are required by Nevada state law to complete alcohol awareness training and obtain a TAM® Card.

Party buses and limousines are often times equipped with neon and strobe lights, televisions, and surround sound, all of which contribute to a fun and exciting atmosphere. Passengers are in a celebratory mood, and limo drivers have the responsibility of not only safely transporting them to their final destinations, but also making sure they are not over-served or otherwise behaving inappropriately. The recent death of a party bus passenger in New York serves as a reminder that safety is of the utmost importance and that drivers must remain vigilant (Las Vegas Sun). Always follow company policies and procedures when it comes to guest safety and make sure your passengers are aware of any necessary rules and safety regulations.

You can make sure that your passengers are having an enjoyable time, are served responsibly, and remain respectful of the vehicle and others. To learn more about safe beverage service, take the Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM)® course offered by TAM® of Nevada.

Have you worked as a chauffeur in Las Vegas? What advice would you give to others for keeping passengers safe?

Resources

Teen’s Death on Party Bus Serves as a Warning – Las Vegas Sun

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada