California ABC running alcohol sting ops in restaurants

July 6, 2006

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — An item in the California Restaurant Association's (CRA) Quick Bites newsletter revealed that the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) recently received a $2 million grant from the Office of Traffic Safety to conduct a decoy program at restaurants using minors trying to purchase alcoholic beverages.

According to the newsletter, the sting operation is designed to raise awareness about the problem of underage drinking. "ABC has contacted the California Restaurant Association to help inform members that minor decoys will have an increased presence in restaurants," the newsletter read. "Minor decoys are persons under age 18, employed by ABC to attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages in restaurants, bars, and liquor stores.

If an employee of your establishment is caught serving alcohol to a minor, it could cost you: your liquor license; up to $20,000 in fines; or restaurant closure."

The CRA is encouraging restaurateurs to teach employees to ask each patron if they are 21 (a minor decoy cannot lie about his age as it constitutes entrapment) and to request a picture ID if a patron looks under 35.

Topics: Independent Operation , Operations Management

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