An Alcohol Bureaucracy’s Rush To Judgement

There is no getting around the fact that alcohol regulation requires bureaucracy. All state and federal regulatory efforts don’t function without a bureaucratic element. Moreover, such bureaucracies are often very slow-moving, opaque, and too often unresponsive to critics and concerns of how they operate.

However, in the case of the California Alcohol Beverage Commission, you have a bureaucratic agency moving so fast and in such an inconsiderate way with the implementation of a new alcohol server program that has the potential to upend every alcohol licensee in the state.

The “BOOZE RULES” blog from alcohol law firm Hinman and Carmichael, lays out the very troubling speed with which the California ABC is moving on its new alcohol server rules:

A PROPOSAL IS IN THE WORKS TO CREATE A MASSIVE ABC BUREAUCRACY COLLECTING PERSONAL DATA ON EVERY PERSON IN CALIFORNIA WHO WORKS IN THE ALCOHOL SECTOR OF THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY. THE NEW RULES WILL REQUIRE SCIENTIFIC TRAINING OF EVERY SERVER BEFORE BEING ALLOWED TO POUR A GLASS OF WINE, AND MANDATES HUNDREDS OF CHANGES TO CURRENT INDUSTRY CUSTOMER SERVICE PRACTICES. THESE RULES, 45 DAYS AFTER BEING PROPOSED, WILL BE ADOPTED WITHOUT DISCUSSION UNLESS THE INDUSTRY ASKS: “WHY THE RUSH”?

If you are a restaurant, retailer, winery, distiller, brewer, or special event that serves alcohol, you better read the Booze Rules blog post on the new California ABC rules for servers.

I cannot emphasize enough, however, that alcohol servers and those who sell alcohol in stores in California read the new proposed regulations —better yet, read the run down in the Booze Rules blog. For example, if you are a server of alcohol or take payment for alcohol in CA, you will, under the new rules that are being rushed through with very little time for comment, to 1) know how to detect whether someone ordering or buying alcohol has used either legal and illegal drugs, and 2) to card everyone of a group that ventures into a store along with the buyer of alcohol.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s coming down the pike for California alcohol licensees and those who work in the industry. Look closer at this. Now. Before it’s too late.

 


2 Responses

  1. Jon Bjork - September 23, 2019

    I’ll second Tom’s advice to read the post. Very well-written and will bring you up to speed quickly. This really is something you need to deal with as a California winery owner.

  2. Helene - September 24, 2019

    This would be amusing, apart from the fact that many, many years ago now, in one of those southern States, my 85-year old father was carded for wanting buy whiskey and wine!!! Ah, but they didn’t bother to card me.

    Another less fearsome adventure…my daughter and I were staying a different southern State and we were 3/4 of the way to the restaurant when she realised she hadn’t brought her driving license. So we returned to the hotel, went to the restaurant and proceeded to order a glass of Prosecco (each) and our starters and mains. Did anyone ask for her ID? So we then order a bottle of wine, still no asking for ID (I must look really, really ancient and she must look rather a lot like me?) To be fair, the restaurant has an excellent history and reputation and even have permission from their State government (or perhaps county?) to let people take away part-empty bottles provided that said bottles have been resealed in accordance with regulations. Now, that is almost civilisation in the midst of almost no-where…


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