When to cut off a customer? New CA law requires alcohol servers to take intoxication training

Leticia Juarez Image
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
New CA law trains alcohol servers to cut off customers
Anyone who serves alcohol in California will have to undergo new training to keep track and cut off customers who are too drunk.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A new law goes into effect next month affecting California businesses that serve beer, wine or liquor.

Alcoholic beverage servers and managers will need to undergo mandatory training.

At Sire Bar & Grille in Riverside, bartenders serve libations to customers and keep track of tabs.

But come July 1, they'll be required to keep an eye out for the level of the customer's intoxication.

"The whole point is to try and get alcohol servers more aware of how to safely serve alcoholic beverages to patrons," said Mike Brewer of Sire Bar & Grille.

Brewer is the owner of the popular lunch and dinner spot.

For the past few months, he had his employees undergo training to receive a responsible beverage service certificate from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC.

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Under a new state law, anyone who pours, shakes or mixes an alcoholic cocktail is required to have the training.

"It is anyone who checks identifications, who takes alcoholic beverage orders, who pours alcoholic beverages such as bartenders and anyone who delivers alcoholic beverages," said John Carr of the ABC.

It's a massive undertaking with 56,000 businesses required to train their employees.

The goal of the new certificate is to cut down on DUIs.

"Purpose of the training is to help make servers more aware of the impacts of alcohol," Brewer said. "They want to make sure that we are lawfully serving people of the proper age and that we are also not over-serving parties that then become dangerous to the community."

The certification requirement applies to employees where customers are able to order and drink alcohol on the spot including bars, restaurants, distilleries, breweries, brew pubs and wineries.

"The law takes effect on July 1 and by August 31, everyone is supposed to be RBS certified and trained, or within 60 days of first employment," Carr said.

Training can be done at one of several approved ABC third-party sites after which employees will be given an open-book test.

But the hardest test will come later, when it's time to cut off a customer who has had one too many.

"That is one of the hardest things for a server to do is to politely decline to serve somebody when they are showing signs of being intoxicated," Brewer said.