New Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) Training Development

The California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is mandated by AB 1221, Gonzalez Fletcher. Alcoholic beverage control: Responsible Beverage Service Training Program Act of 2017 to develop a Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) Training program and deploy it statewide.

A plan was made by the ABC to develop and deploy the program, and drafts of the program were presented at public forums, allowing the ABC to explain their proposed program and for stakeholders to give feedback.

The 45-day public comment period was officially noticed August 8th, 2019 and will end on or near September 22nd, 2019.

Below the comment this writer made in the week of September 9, 2019. The ABC’s Summary reflects their response (to come at a future date). The previous seven public comments are found here.

Comment #8

From Jerry Hall

This is a response to your request for public comments on the AB-1221 Alcoholic beverage control: Responsible Beverage Service Training Program Act of 2017 proposed Training Program requirements, certifications, curriculum, enforcement, and related elements.

Ownership Training

My over-arching concern is that owners of licensed alcohol-outlets should be required to receive the same training as their frontline management and service staff.

At our last meeting held in San Diego on June 11, 2019 the presenters declared the ABC determined the legislators did not intend to have ownership trained and certified. The act reads: ‘25680 (a) “Alcohol server” means a person who serves alcoholic beverages for consumption, or a person who manages or supervises that person,’

At the very least, if the manager of the business ever serves alcohol, the owner should be required to be trained and certified as the owner would be the person managing or supervising the (Manager) server.

What’s more important is that it appears the ABC is bending over backwards to not inconvenience owners. The optics alone of absolving ownership of any responsibility to get and maintain training is extraordinary. The owners set the pace, they set the sales goals, they expect their managers and servers to sell at optimum levels. And we know they are successfully promoting this practice. This National Institute of Health funded research illustrates that even highly trained cohorts of servers and bartenders knowingly over-pour and over-serve. The average customer was provided eight (8) drinks in under fifty (:50) minutes, over ninety percent (90%) of the time.

Marijuana Impairment

The second major concern is that training programs include the fact that many of the licensed outlet’s customers will have, or may be currently, smoking or vaping marijuana while also being intoxicated. The fact that we were told there will be no requirements, including not even an encouragement for training providers to illustrate the fact, is itself also alarming. Our state has now legalized recreational marijuana. A moderate level of patrons will surely be under the influence of marijuana. To not instruct servers how to identify this impairment, as they assess the patron and continue to serve them drink after drink, ignores the simple reality that their patron will now be doubly impaired by two substances that may result in even more negative consequences once the patron leaves the establishment.

I urge you to reconsider this training exemption and begin ensuring ownership of our licensed outlets receive at least the same or better training provided their staff. And I urge you to include a requirement for training on alcohol service to marijuana-impaired patrons.

ABC Summary

Items will be addressed at the end of the 45 day comment period.

Future Reference

The ABC Responsible Beverage program page is found here.