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Bob Pomplun at the Illinois Liquor Control Commission Yearly Meeting

Representatives from colleges throughout Illinois attended the Illinois Liquor Control Commission’s (ILCC) 9th Annual College Town Summit, held on November 9, 2017 at Western Illinois University. Presentations focused on timely topics pertaining to alcohol-related issues on college campuses.

Bob Pomplun from Serving Alcohol Inc. is one of our speakers this year.  As an industry expert, Bob Pomplun conducts a break out session concerning the alcohol server training for the state of Illinois Basset alcohol course.

Topics included: Neurological effects of alcohol, binge drinking,
sexual assault, prevention and recovery on college campuses.
For the second year in a row, the summit included a student
panel and expo. The ILCC would like to thank the staff at Western Illinois
University for hosting the event. 

Booze, braids and more: Odd state laws take effect

Virginia hunters can now choose to wear pink in the woods. Indiana residents will no longer be able to avoid positive drug tests by purchasing fake urine. And South Carolina distillers can now legally mix their spirits in their tasting rooms.

Those laws are among the hundreds that went into effect over the weekend as most states begin their new fiscal years. While most states ratified billion-dollar budgets and tackled complex issues like health care and the opioid epidemic, legislators also found time to address more mundane issues.

In Virginia, legislators gave hunters some new fashion choices. Those who spend their weekends tramping through the woods can now opt to wear fluorescent pink clothes, along with blaze orange.

Booze, braids and more: Odd state laws take effect -© Provided by The Hill Booze, braids and more: Odd state laws take effect.   After the hunt, Virginia residents could choose to imbibe some stronger spirits. One new law allows state-run liquor stores to sell 151-proof spirits. Another law allows beer to be delivered to parked vehicles, for the tippler on the go.

In South Carolina, distillers may now sell their customers up to three 750-milliliter bottles of hooch. Previously, distillers could only sell one bottle per customer.

Those who want to consume spirits at distilleries in Charleston or Columbia or Spartanburg may now mix their drinks in those tasting rooms.

Tennessee residents may be free of the hassle of too many automated sales calls. A new state law will charge telemarketers with a class A misdemeanor if they spoof caller identification technology to appear as if the calls are coming from a government office or a bank.

South Dakotans will be able to get their hair braided without the onerous process of obtaining a state license. The law was inspired by Rachael Gorsuch, a woman hit with a fine after she braided hair in her own home without a license.

Indiana legislators who still want kids to learn cursive handwriting in schools will poll teachers on whether script is still necessary to teach.

Another Hoosier State law bans the sale of synthetic urine. Synthetic urine, used to avoid positive drug tests, had been available for sale at some stores.

“It’s pH balanced, it has all the trace minerals and nutrients that are found in urine and it is very, very difficult to detect,” Indiana State Rep. Greg Beumer (R-Modoc) said during a legislative hearing.

Bartenders debate level of responsible service

The best bartenders get a kick out of knowing they’re helping people have a good time – but what if it goes too far? Should bartenders be to blame if someone drinks themselves into injury or illness?

Bartending is a profession dedicated to the art of hospitality, but working with alcohol is not a position of power that should ever be taken lightly.

While the cocktail sector is exploding with boundary-pushing innovation, it is imperative the industry does not become detached from the dangers associated with what is, after all, an intoxicating drug. In numerous countries including the UK, the US and Australia, legislation has been put in place making it illegal to sell alcohol to a person who is obviously drunk, and similarly, to buy an alcoholic drink for someone you know to be drunk.

However, despite the foundation of such laws, questions abound over who is responsible for ensuring the industry is not plagued with a problem of over-consumption. During recent months the media has been awash with a string of high profile tragedies involving the apparent “over-serving” of alcohol, a handful of which have had calamitous consequences.

In April, Martell’s Tiki Bar in Point Pleasant Beach, Jersey Shore, US, was fined US$500,000 and had its licence revoked for a month after allegedly over-serving alcohol to a woman who later died in a car crash.


Tragic incident

The incident unfolded in 2013 after Ashley Chieco, 26, left Martell’s in another person’s car, which collided into an on-coming vehicle killing herself and injuring the other driver, Dana Corrar. The survivor suffered two broken legs, broken ribs and will “never work again, never walk again normally and never be pain free,” according to her lawyer, Paul Edelstein, a personal injury specialist. Martell’s pleaded “no contest” to the charge of serving alcohol to an intoxicated person in exchange for the fine.

“Businesses that profit from the sale of alcohol are well aware of its dangers, particularly when combined with people who then get into vehicles,” Edelstein says. “It is akin to a shop selling bullets and then allowing its customers access to a gun when they leave. Hopefully the attention alone will make a bartender think twice before continuing to serve someone and inquire as to how they are leaving a location that does not provide access to mass transit.”

So when it comes to alcohol consumption where does the responsibility of the bartender start and that of the consumer end? For some, all persons involved – the consumer, bartender and management – have a collective duty for the well-being of both patrons and staff.


Know your limits

“It’s everyone’s job to make sure the guests are happy and safe at the same time,” comments Kate Gerwin, general manager of HSL Hospitality and winner of the Bols Around the World Bartending Championships 2014. “First and foremost obviously the customer should know their own limits, however we all know that is not always the case. Bartenders should make safe service of alcohol a huge priority in day-to-day business and the owner of the bar should take a vested interest in the education of the staff about over-serving and the dangers and consequences.”

But for others, the responsibility rests with those in a managerial position who need to step up to their line of duties. “Inevitably, the responsibility lies with the management chain – they are the licensees,” says British bartender and entrepreneur JJ Goodman, co-founder of the London Cocktail Club. “In the UK we have an inherent history of binge drinking, so customers aren’t very perceptive to being told they’re not allowed another drink. When that sort of situation occurs, someone more senior and experienced needs to come in to handle it and command control as quickly as possible.”


Diffusing the situation

Similar snippets of advice surrounding this irrefutably sensitive subject are echoed throughout the industry. Accusing guests of being drunk is deemed as the biggest faux pas, and a sure fire way to escalate an already testing episode. Avoiding embarrassment, ascertaining a first name basis and gaining the aid and trust of any peers who may be present are all recommended methods when it comes to diffusing any drama involved with this task.

Various initiatives have been instigated to curtail irresponsible service and consumption. At the end of 2014, the British Beer and Pub Association launched a poster campaign in the UK to drive awareness among consumers and on-trade establishments of the law surrounding serving people who are obviously drunk.

“It’s not about getting more prosecutions; it’s about raising awareness,” advises Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association. “It’s important we don’t turn pubs and bars into fortresses – we want to encourage people to go to these socially responsible places. But we need to find a balance between staff responsibility and personal responsibility.”


Source: The Spirits Business
by Melita Kiely
5th February, 2016

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Alcohol News : Urban Outfitters Applies For Liquor License In Planned Williamsburg Location in New York

Urban Outfitters applies for liquor license - servingalcohol.comUrban Outfitters plan to open up shop in Williamsburg complete with a fully stocked bar is not off to the greatest start. If a city councilman gets his way, every hipster’s favorite clothing store will be as dry as, well, a normal clothing store when they finally open in Brooklyn.

It seems this planned Urban Outfitters where someone could potentially buy clothes and top the purchase off with a drink will face some stiff competition before it opens. One city councilman is already fighting the plans to serve liquor and leggings in the same location. “I can’t think of a circumstance for which it would be appropriate for Urban Outfitters to have a liquor license,” Greenpoint city councilman Stephen Levin told the New York Daily News, before positing probably the greatest question ever asked by a civic official: “We must ask ourselves, ‘Do we really want people drunk when they are buying their skinny jeans and ironic t-shirts?'”

As it stands, people looking to shop at Urban Outfitters for whatever hipster uniform they’re hawking this month have to trudge all the way to Manhattan. But that changed when, in March, Crain’s reported the store’s plans to open  — where else — on North Sixth Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The jokes about an Urban Outfitters in Williamsburg practically wrote themselves. Then, in March, Grub Street New York noticed the store was planning to apply for a liquor license. The Urban Outfitters in Williamsburg was to have a bar. Because of course, is why. Sure enough, Urban Outfitters was among the astonishing 106 liquor license applications received by the Williamsburg and Greenpoint Community Board 1 in September. (Most are renewals, but there are 37 new applications including Urban Outfitters.)

Now we have to wait and see how this campaign plays out. There’s a long bureaucratic process that will have to resolve itself before Urban Outfitters learns whether or not they can sling whiskey beside their hot pants. The next hurdle is a meeting with the board’s liquor authority review committee on October 3.

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Offering Bartender License, Server Training Courses, Food Safety and Management courses.



Serving Alcohol Monthly Newsletter – September 2013


Serving Alcohol Monthly Newsletter

September 2013

 If you are serving alcohol, we are serving you. If you are selling, serving, or managing, this website is a place for you to learn, to share and to teach alongside others in the profession. Our goal is to help employees form opinions that will save lives and make serving and consuming alcohol safer for all.

If you have suggestions or request to learn more about alcohol certification, visit our website at to learn more or send us an email at



Here Come the Freshmen!

There’s a hint of change in the air, a breeze pushing heat and humidity aside in favor of cooler, crisp fall days. Autumn has come to college towns. Parents and students begin their treks to university campuses across the nation. While boxes are being lugged in and unpacked, every parent also has a nagging worry about leaving their child behind to navigate a new environment, new challenges and new friends.

It’s also a time when bars and restaurants in college towns must brace for the onslaught of under-aged clientele armed with new found freedom and ready to test the boundaries and policies they have in place. When high school graduates hit college campuses they are more easily swayed by peer pressure than ever before. For many this is their first significant time away from home—and they are leaving behind the structure and behavioral expectations it represents. In an effort to “fit in” or simply form new friendships, many will seek approval by engaging in illegal under-aged drinking. Social situations presented by dormitories, Greek houses or off-campus housing complexes are often the catalyst for these dangerous choices.

Historically, teenagers often possess the desire to be viewed as an adult with this level of independence, and drinking with their peers is the easiest way to accomplish this goal. But what are the dangers surrounding their experimentation?


The path to “acceptance” is risky:

* Teenagers have smaller bodies with less water volume that cannot process alcohol well—they become intoxicated quickly

*Teens consume 5 drinks at one time on average leading to acute intoxication

*Psychological vulnerability and immaturity makes intoxication more intense and possibly addicting

*Due to lack of experience and not understanding personal tolerance levels, teens are more likely to become ill or to lose consciousness, or even die. Choking on vomit after losing consciousness may cause brain damage or death.

*Teens tend to overestimate their physical skills, capability of driving, and decision making while drinking. The altered state of intoxication also leads to engaging in Illegal activities.

*25% of all alcohol produced is consumed by under aged drinkers

*Alcohol companies have created product lines that are sweet-tasting and marketed as “trendy” to underage drinkers.

*Inexperienced drinking combined with inexperienced driving is more dangerous, and even deadly

*One in four vehicle accidents involving teenaged drivers is alcohol-related

*Because bar entry as a minor is difficult, so teens may chose to drink in uncontrolled environments and private venues that promote high volume or “binge drinking” because they are no limits imposed by social hosts

*Sexual assault of under aged drinkers is more prevalent due to inexperience and extreme impairment. Minors under the influence may not perceive dangers and be unable to protect themselves from harm.

Night Car Accident Rollover

The inescapable fact is that life is fragile, and inexperience and experimentation can lead to tragedy and life-altering consequences. Your goal as a bar owner, manager or staff member to keep this kind of impairment from being accomplished at your establishment! The following strategies should help you keep your customers safe and eliminate risk for your business.

Let’s begin with the basics to curb under aged drinking, starting at the front door. Who and what are you looking for as potential bar patrons line up outside your business?


 There are physical characteristics that will give away an under aged guest:

*Facial blemishes, acne, lack of a mature beard, lack of eye wrinkles, an under-developed body, a high-pitched voice are tell-tale signs to note.


 Behaviors and mannerisms can be a red flag as well:

*Giggling, loud or argumentative chatter

* Nervous, skittish, childish, immature behavior

*Awkward and uncoordinated movements

*False bravado—cocky, trying too hard to be “cool”

*Lack of eye contact combined with evasive and guarded exchanges with staff


 Dress and other fashion statements:


*Dressing in overly trendy clothing, jewelry, shoes, etc.

*Excessive make-up and hair treatments

*Wearing sunglasses

*Clothing or hats with school logos, class rings


 Look at their companions:

*The group may look very “young” overall

*There may be one or two in the group who are of age that they hope will serve to validate them and help them gain access to the bar. If they make it in watch mixed age tables carefully as adults who are allowing minors to drink are subject to criminal liability and arrest.

Now that your eyes are open and you have a good idea of whose ID may require extra examination, fine tune the carding process. Nothing is more important than catching that under aged guest at the door—this is the ultimate key to prevention and protecting your business from risk!


Careful Carding Procedures:

*The first line of defense will be the points of entry to your bar—front, back or side. Security staff should be waiting with a flashlight in hand to check for ID validity or alteration to printed information. Chinese fake IDs have never been harder to detect and easier to acquire, so minors will be accessing them to gain entry to your bar.

*Make sure your entry area is well-lit not only for ID verification, but for getting a long, hard look at each patron’s appearance.  Be sure to check for the expiration date, date of birth, height, weight, and photo. Does the height and weight match the ID description? Does everything match up physically?

*Doormen should always politely ask for a valid ID and explain that it’s “house rules” to card every customer. Always have the guest pull their ID from their wallet for easy inspection and have them pull it from any protective plastic sleeve for scanning by black light.

*Black light technology should be used to carefully scrutinize each and every ID for tri-colored state-issued holographic seals. Chinese fakes don’t have tri-colored holograms and do not react well to black light and may appear very faint.

*Falsified Chinese IDs have an unusually strong reaction to the black light review

*The most common ploy to get into a bar comes in the form of an authentic ID that has been given to the underage patron by a sibling or other family member. Check the photo carefully—ask questions. Quiz the card holder on specific details—details that may be hard to remember if they have already been drinking because the fake ID worked elsewhere! If you’re suspicious, remind patrons that using a falsified ID or being caught under the influence as a minor can be grounds for criminal arrest.

*A state-issued license is easy to read and will clearly identify the name, address, age and physical characteristics of the holder. The back of a valid ID doesn’t have photo copy lines, imperfections or discoloration.

*Look for exclusionary statements such as, “Not a Driver’s License,” “Personal Identification Only,” or State Resident Identification,” etc. No authentic state-issued ID uses these designations.

*When in doubt ask for a backup form of identification—a social security card, passport, birth certificate, health or car insurance card, checkbook, car registration, etc.

*If the ID is questionable—ask conversational questions about the state that “issued” it. Using a friendly tone ask, “Have you lived here/there all your life? What’s the capital of the state? What’s your zip code? Are you a donor?” A valid ID holder should be able to easily answer these questions with little hesitation.


*Post a sign at the entry requesting valid IDs before entry into your bar. This should also speed up the carding process as patrons will have their IDs in hand when they get to the door. In addition to that, post the state laws that license your establishment. Inform patrons that alcohol purchase and consumption by minors have criminal ramifications, and that it is unlawful to misrepresent legal age. Post your right to refuse service to anyone with identification deemed unsatisfactory. Be very careful that the denial of an ID should never be misinterpreted as a form of discrimination regarding race, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation on the part of the employee or the bar ownership.

*Some states place a “red border” around the ID photo of those under the age of 21—don’t overlook that detail on a busy night.

*After reviewing the card for authenticity, thank the patron for their compliance and tell them to “have a good time.” I once worked at a bar where “thank-you” was followed by, “make good decisions!” That always brought a smile! Keep in mind that having these practices in play will go a long way toward eliminating risk for your customers, staff, management and ultimately for bar owners. Your goal should always be to promote fun and social atmosphere, but follow the law and make certain that you have a safe, controlled environment for all.


 Thank you for being a responsible seller or server of alcohol!  – the team at Serving Alcohol Inc


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Better Business Bureau | Serving Alcohol Inc.