By David R. Shorey, East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

Aug. 3, 2022 (East San Diego County) — More than 9,000 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in California between 2009 and 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A California law is now in effect requiring bartenders and liquor servers to undergo proper training, in an effort to reduce instances of over-serving intoxicated patrons and prevent service to minors. It is known in the industry as Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) training and is offered by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). In addition, voluntary training, called Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs, is offered by the ABC to owners, managers and staff of liquor stores, corner markets and any other retail establishment that sells alcohol for off-site consumption.

For RBS training, all liquor servers and their managers must register, train, and pass the California Server Test by September 1, 2022. After that date, new servers and managers must complete these steps within the 60 days following hiring. The law applies to anyone who verifies patrons’ credentials before serving them alcohol or allowing them to enter an establishment that serves alcohol; anyone who takes customer orders for alcoholic beverages; pours alcoholic beverages to patrons; delivers alcoholic beverages to customers; and anyone who manages or supervises an alcohol server.

The Responsible Beverage Service Training Program Act (Assembly Bill 1221) was signed into law in 2017. An ABC-licensed on-site establishment is any business in California that serves alcohol for consumption at sites such as a bar, restaurant, a winery, brewery or distillery with sales privileges. While liquor servers and their handlers must take the necessary steps to become certified, it is ultimately the responsibility of licensees to ensure that their servers and server managers comply with the certification requirement.

“The department’s goal is to achieve statewide compliance with the new law and take an educational approach to businesses that have not met the requirement,” the director said. of ABC, Eric Hirata, in a press release. “This training program will help prevent underage drinking and alcohol-related traffic accidents statewide and can make communities safer for all Californians.”

An RBS training course teaches alcohol servers about the laws that can affect their job and explains how alcohol can affect the community, how alcohol affects the body, practical techniques for refusing or slowing down alcohol service and how to create management policies that support responsible drinking. service. An RBS training certificate is valid for three years.

According to ABC’s website, LEAD training “provides participants with practical information on selling alcoholic beverages in a safe, responsible and legal manner, with an emphasis on preventing sales to minors, sales to obviously intoxicated and illicit drug-related activities in the licensed establishment”. RBS training is offered through certified training programs and is available online and in person. LEAD training is also available online and in person. Each training program lasts approximately three hours. Additional information is available on the ABC website:

With these two training sessions, there is no legitimate reason for liquor retailers to sell to underage or intoxicated people, or overserve their customers. Hopefully, these two programs will have a significant impact on reducing impaired driving, accidents, and deaths from alcohol sales in California.

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