Santa Claus isn’t the only one coming to town this Christmas!

Paying attention to ABC press releases should be everyone’s job. On November 16th the ABC proudly announced a $2 million grant (from the office of traffic safety) running through September 2016 that will be distributed to local police departments around the state in $10,000 to $25,000 bites.

The purposes of the programs being funded by this grant are very important (enforcing the laws against sales to minors, funding backtracks from alcohol involved auto accidents, funding LEAD training, and so forth).  These programs are crucial to understanding ABC enforcement priorities. Every licensee (retailer, winery, distillery, brewery, etc.) in this state who has (or in the case of distilleries, will have on January 1, 2016) the right to sell their beverages for consumption in their establishment or tasting room should know what laws the ABC is enforcing, and how the laws are being implemented.

This particular press release presages enhanced enforcement through decoy programs, shoulder tap programs and visiting licensed premises to observe operations - - right now, throughout the holiday season, and into next year.

Licensees should view this as an opportunity to make sure that their employee compliance programs are current and that all employees with service responsibilities have been trained. Failure to train and use all the tools available to do so (including the LEAD program – which is getting funded by the grant) exposes tasting rooms, retail store, hotels, resorts, bars and restaurants to law enforcement agents (not just decoys) who are on the street testing the protocols of the unwary licensee.

Licenses are not only too valuable to risk over training failures but the societal cost of failures can be catastrophic if the offense is a back track from a fatal accident. We have tried those cases and they are tragic. Train your staff. Don’t be one of the unwary.