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April is Alcohol Awareness Month

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) established April as Alcohol Awareness Month in 1987 to stimulate public outreach regarding alcohol awareness. This year’s theme, “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage’” focuses on underage drinking. According to the NCADD, underage drinking results in more than 4300 deaths, 189,000 emergency room visits, and increased likelihood of addiction and alcohol-related traffic crashes.
What is your responsibility regarding minors?

Selling or serving alcohol to persons under the age of 21 is a Class A Misdemeanor, resulting in fines of up to $2500, a jail sentence for up to one year and fine, and suspension or revocation of the operation’s liquor license. Per state shop laws, an adult that provides a minor with alcohol that results in injury can be charged with a Class 4 felony. As an operator, you and your servers have the right to refuse to sell or serve alcoholic beverages to anyone not able to show valid proof of identity and age. Unfortunately, this has become more challenging with the increased prevalence of fake ID’s, sold by counterfeiters with sophisticated tools for producing them.

What is considered valid identification?

  • Valid photo driver’s license
  • Valid photo state issued ID card
  • US active duty military ID
  • Valid Passport
  • Alien registration card

How can you spot a fake ID?
Most states have extremely small text, called micro print, which appears to be a line on the ID, but can be read when magnified. A 10x magnifier can be a helpful tool as micro print is a security feature that is not easily duplicated.

A current I.D. Checking Guide provides details on the location of each state’s microprint, along with other distinguishing features of IDs from each U.S. state and Canadian province. Please visit to review up to date government issued identification cards.

Ask Questions!! Asking their astrology sign or when they graduated high school are two good questions. The point of asking these questions is to gauge their response. Were they were calm and confident when answering it or were they nervous or stumble through the answer? Their response to these questions may give the server enough reason to deny service.

Make sure your staff is BASSET trained

Effective July 1 2018, Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training (BASSET) training will be mandatory in the entire State of Illinois. A BASSET certification is valid for three years. The BASSET program began as a voluntary program, and has since become mandatory in counties throughout the state each year, with all requiring the training this year.

A simple online course is available from Foodservice Safe for $14.75, and can be completed in just two hours. Visit for more information and to register and complete the course.

For online and private in-house classes, contact Foodservice Safe, LLC, at 866.447.2338 or [email protected]. Visit to register and/or review all certification classes.

Colleen Nyland is a food safety instructor for Foodservice Safe, LLC. She is certified with the Illinois Department of Public Health and through ServSafe. She has been an Adjunct Instructor with Elgin Community College’s Culinary and Hospitality Program since 2009 and has also taught for Northern Illinois University’s Hospitality Administration program since 2005.