A new law that many of the affected people have never heard about becomes effective July 1, 2022. It all involves liquor licenses from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) and persons employed by such licensees to serve alcohol to patrons.
The new law is known as the “Responsible Beverage Service Training Act of 2017” or “RBSTA.” Many are now using the acronym of “RBS” to refer to matters involving the RBSTA such as certification, training and related matters. It is embodied in the California Business & Professions Code (Div. 9, Ch. 16, Art. 4, Section 25680 et seq.).
The ABC estimates that the law affects 56,000 businesses that hold on premise liquor licenses from the ABC and approximately 1 million servers of alcohol and their managers at such locations. Of the million servers and managers, only 33,000 have been certified to date!
Such licensees include all California restaurants, bars, cafes, clubs, wineries, breweries, stadiums, event centers and virtually any other outlet that sells alcoholic beverages and permits customers to drink on site.
Starting on July 1, a licensee that is subject to the RBSTA “shall not employ or continue to employ any alcohol server without a valid alcohol server certification.”
Servers employed before July 1, 2022, have a certification deadline of August 1, 2011, and those employed later have 60 calendar days from the date of employment.
Most affected businesses and people will find the education, testing and certification to be more of a problem in terms of administration, oversight and valuable time of management and staff. The out of pocket costs will be nominal, e.g. probably less than $20 per server or manager for each server or manager.
The education element for certification requires an estimated 3 to 4 hours of approved training, which can be done online in multiple sessions. The server must also get a passing grade of more than 70% on a 2-hour open book exam (with 3 attempts permitted before another training session must be taken). Some find the exam difficult. The server must also register the certification with the ABC. There appear to be a number of ABC-approved online service providers that offer assistance with training, examination and registration. One advertises that it is the only provider with a Spanish language course.
The certification is issued to an individual, and then it must be registered into the ABC’s database. There is no card issued, but an electronic registration is made. Licensees will be able to verify certification online with the employee’s name and certification number. The certification is valid for 3 years.
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Jim Butler is a founding partner of JMBM and one of the top hotel lawyers in the world. Devoting 100% of his practice to hospitality, Jim is author of www.HotelLawBlog.com and chairman of the Global Hospitality Group® which focuses on representing hotel owners, developers, and lenders. Jim and his team have helped clients as business and legal advisors on more than $87 billion of hotel purchase, sale, financing, and other transactions, involving more than 3,900 properties all over the world. In the last 18 months, they have closed more than $1.5 billion of EB-5 financing and sourced more than half of that for our clients. In addition to acquisitions, dispositions and financing, the Group handles ADA compliance and defense, hotel mixed-use development, labor and employment, management, branding and franchise agreements and litigation. With experience gained from more than 1,000 bankruptcies, receiverships and workouts, they use innovative solutions to unlock and create value for lenders and opportunistic investors for distressed assets. Jim also serves as an expert witness in hospitality matters.
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