Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Proper Training for Servers of Alcohol has Positive Impact on Sales to Minors
FRANKFORT, KY (May 20, 2009) – A training course offered to those who serve and sell alcohol by the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is showing positive results. The agency’s Server Training in Alcohol Regulations (S.T.A.R.) program was created in 2001, making Kentucky one of the few states to offer a course in server and seller training.
In February of 2009, 620 students attended S.T.A.R. trainings statewide. The following month, an all-time high of 762 attended.
The goal is to educate those serving and selling to prevent youth access to alcohol and prevent over-service. The training also explains retailer liability, and how to handle different scenarios such as spotting a fake ID or confronting a patron that needs to be cut off.
“What’s made S.T.A.R. successful is the input from industry in the development of the program and their emphasis on responsible service,” said Tony Dehner, commissioner of ABC. “We appreciate the progressive measures ABC licensees take to get their employees trained and educated in maintaining compliance to state laws and regulations.”
The S.T.A.R. course is a four-hour training module conducted by one of ABC’s contracted instructors. Through a comprehensive workbook, fake ID training, a Kentucky Law section and a video on spotting fake IDs, the student is educated on responsible service. Following the course is an exam that must be passed to receive a three year certification. Courses are held regionally throughout Kentucky. Licensees can also schedule private trainings at their business. The cost is $35 per student.
The success of S.T.A.R. is shown through the compliance results of Operation Zero Tolerance (OZT), a program in which underage investigative aides are used to attempt to purchase alcohol from retailers. Before implementation of S.T.A.R., retailer compliance to sales to minor laws was about 72 percent, according to OZT compliance checks. The compliance rate has steadily risen since S.T.A.R.’s implementation and is now at 94 percent. This improvement is due in part to the proactive training given through S.T.A.R. as well as the diligence of the licensees throughout Kentucky that send their employees to S.T.A.R. training and take compliance very seriously.
Through the support of the Education Branch, S.T.A.R. and other beverage training programs have been mandated in 39 local governments throughout Kentucky.
The program has also gained attention outside of Kentucky. Last November, Sandra Watts along with Tiffany Quarles, ABC’s training development specialist, presented a breakout session on creating a state-specific beverage training program at the National Leadership Conference held by the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The session provided guidance to representatives from other states on creating their own specific responsible beverage training.
“The reason we support the S.T.A.R. program is because it works,” says Roger Leasor, president of the Liquor Barn. “We’re asking our cashiers to enforce the law and in doing so, we needed to identify what tools we could give our cashiers. S.T.A.R. is a whole tool box.”
“I’ve attended the S.T.A.R. program and am very impressed with what they are teaching,” stated Lt. Stewart Walker of the London Police Department. “I feel this program should be state mandated to all servers and sellers of alcohol. It is beneficial to law enforcement as well as servers in the fight against underage drinking.”
ABC is an agency of the Public Protection Cabinet. The mission of ABC is to protect the public welfare and interest by regulating the alcoholic beverage industry in the Commonwealth through licensing, education and enforcement.
For more information regarding S.T.A.R., please contact Sandra Watts at 502-564-4850 or visit ABC’s Web site, http://abc.ky.gov/education.