Responsible Beverage Service Training – What Does Your State Require?


​On a federal level, laws related to alcohol beverage service are fairly straight forward. The 21st amendment to the constitution repealed prohibition and handed over control of alcohol sales and distribution to the states. The feds took some of that control back with the Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act of 1984, which set the minimum age to buy alcohol to 21. Yet, even decades later, not all states follow that rule exactly.

Know Your State Alcohol Laws

With differing laws from state to state – and even within a state – it’s critical you train your restaurant staff based on the laws in your area. Many states have specific regulations in place that spell out exactly what your employees need to know. For example, California recently joined about 16 other states that make responsible beverage service training a requirement for all alcohol servers.

California’s Responsible Beverage Service Training Requirements

Every state that requires alcohol service training has different requirements, but let’s take a look at California’s. In general, the training for alcohol servers and their managers in California must cover:

  • Terms and definitions related to alcohol sales and service regulations.
  • The social impact of alcohol and a server’s responsibility to protect the community.
  • The effects of alcohol on the body and what those mean as a person continues to drink.
  • State laws relating to driving under the influence (DUI).
  • The server’s responsibility to verify age and never sell to underaged guests.
  • How to properly check ID and spot fake IDs.
  • The server’s responsibility to recognize signs of intoxication so intoxicated guests are not over-served.
  • The server’s right to refuse sales and how to do it effectively.
  • Management policies to support responsible alcohol service.

While California’s requirements may not apply to you directly, understanding what’s happening around the country is important. The more you know about what’s legally mandated in other places, the more you can prepare for what might be coming your way. Just as importantly, you can better protect yourself from liability when you understand how legal standards elsewhere could affect how lawsuits are handled in your jurisdiction.

California’s Responsible Beverage Service Training is Available Now

All businesses that serve alcohol on-premise have a legal obligation to do so responsibly. In the state of California, these businesses have additional rules to follow. All alcohol servers and their managers must complete a state-approved Responsible Beverage Service course and pass the California Alcohol Server Certification exam. Learn more and preview our California’s Responsible Beverage Service Training. Or, preview our more general seller and server alcohol training that applies to most other states.

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