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New California mandate requires workers that serve alcohol to receive certification

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage says the new state mandate is all part of a statewide effort to improve community safety.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In less than a month, a new state law goes into effect that falls under the requirements of California Assembly Bill 1221 and Assembly Bill 82, which says that all restaurant staff and management across the state must take a Responsible Beverage Service course from a California Department of Alcoholic Beverage (ABC) approved RBS training provider and receive a certification. 

"You think about it — (it affects) bars, restaurants, wineries, distilleries, breweries, brewpubs, stadiums, events centers any place where alcohol is served, sold, consumed on the premises," said John Carr, spokesperson for ABC.  

At Sacramento's ABC Bartending School, things are busy for instructors just weeks ahead of the new state mandate. The school offers a 32-hour program over the course of two weeks that sets servers and bartenders up for success in the real world. 

"Students can go at their own pace, but we really teach everything: how to properly pour measurements and how to build their cocktails down to beer and wine, and then all the rules, laws and regulations," said Stephen Pifer, an instructor at the school.

Although the mandate begins on July 1, servers and their managers have until August 31 to pass an ABC administered RBS program and become certified.

"Other states already do have it. In Vegas, they call it the TAM card. In Phoenix, it's called Title 4 which has been mandated there for a long time," said Enedina Beltran, director for ABC Bartending School.

Carr said the new state mandate is all part of a statewide effort to improve community safety on the roadways. 

"The hope is that this new law will drive down the number of DUI's, make the roads, streets and highways safer and make communities safer," Carr said. 

When it comes to enforcement of the mandate, ABC says they'll take an education-first approach. 

"That's our approach out of the gates is to work with the industry and help them get the information they need so they can get their people trained and certified and in the right place and then compliant with the law," Carr said. 

Once servers and managers pass the test, certification lasts for three years. A full list of RBS training programs can be found here.

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