Staff serving alcohol on a licensed venue must be made aware that alcohol can be very dangerous to young people, and serving alcohol to minors can have major implications on the venue, yourself and the minor. Minors are affected greatly by alcohol because they generally lack the experience of dealing with alcohol, and their internal organs haven’t finished developing – so a small amount may have a much larger effect than it does on adults.
Research and studies have shown results that indicate -those who first became drunk by the age of 19 – are more likely to be alcohol dependent and heavy drinkers later in life. The easiest way to prevent this from occurring is to delay that first drink for as long as possible. To help aid this preventative measure, Liquor Laws across the country have instigated a legal drinking age of 18 – to help prevent those under this age from accessing alcohol and starting harmful drinking habits.
To enforce this law, there are heavy penalties for licensees and staff who illegally allow minors into licensed premises and supply liquor to minors.
The best way to monitor who is let into the premises is to ensure staff request identification, if there is any doubt about the age of the customer. Most licensees find it useful to check ID for all customers who look to be under 25 years of age. Drink waiters and glassies, who walk around the floor area of venues, can potentially identify underage drinkers who are not going to the bar to order. These are all great preventative monitoring techniques to not only obey the law, but to protect minors from developing harmful habits.
When checking ID, it is important for staff to ensure that the ID presented is not a fake. Some common methods used by minors to present fake IDs include using another person’s ID, applying transparent film that provides different particulars, and altering the date of birth.
To ensure that staff can check for adequate ID, it is best to train them to look for the common security aspects of an ID, such as checking for the consistency of holograms, paying close attention to their physical features (such as their nose, freckles), carefully checking the date of birth for liquid paper, tampering or scratching, etc. Ask them their birth date or star sign and look for signs of hesitation.
There are plenty of other useful strategies that licensees and staff can implement to prevent the service of alcohol to minors on premises. The Responsible Service of Alcohol presents all of these methods as good and safe hospitality practices.