As thousands of young Texans return to college this fall, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has a message for retailers: Protect your business by refusing to sell alcohol to anyone under 21.
TABC agents across the state will be taking part in an undercover operation designed to identify retailers who illegally sell alcohol to minors. The operation, which will include the participation of minor-aged volunteers, will take place in early September in Texas counties with major universities or colleges. During these “minor stings,” the under-21 volunteers – under the supervision of TABC agents – will attempt to purchase alcohol from retailers such as convenience stores or liquor stores. Establishments which sell to minors are placed on TABC’s priority list, which results in closer scrutiny by agents for up to a year. These licensed establishments will also be issued an administrative notice for violating the Alcoholic Beverage Code, which may result in a suspension or an administrative civil penalty depending on the circumstances surrounding the violation. The store employee who sells alcohol to a minor may also face legal repercussions.
A similar operation in Spring 2015 targeted retailers along popular Texas Spring Break travel corridors. During that operation, agents conducted stings at 930 retailers across the state, resulting in 92 violations.
Employers are urged to help their employees review policies on checking ID prior to the start of school. Managers may take advantage of free TABC training and educational materials designed to help prevent the sale of alcohol to minors. To request training or materials, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The sale of alcohol to minors is a tremendous public safety concern which can lead to tragic events such as drunken driving accidents or worse,” said Robert Saenz, TABC Chief of Enforcement. “This is the perfect time for retailers to review their policies and educate their employees on the dangers of selling alcohol to minors. We urge all license holders to protect their customers and their business by ensuring their patrons are of legal age to buy alcohol.”
For more information on TABC’s efforts to curb underage drinking, visit www.2young2drink.org.