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CA ABC Launches On-Premises Server Training Requirements This Summer

Beginning July 1, 2022, alcohol servers and managers at licensed CA restaurants and bars must hold a valid certification from an ABC-approved Responsible Beverage Service (“RBS”) training provider.

Originally scheduled to commence July 1, 2021, Assembly Bill 1221 (“AB-1221”) was delayed due to hardship and financial strain on the hospitality industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program’s intention is to educate servers on the dangers of over-serving and sale of alcohol to minors, with the overall goal to reduce alcohol-related accidents and improve local communities.

The new training and accreditation requirement applies to all alcohol servers and managers at CA ABC licensed on-premises establishments, including (but not limited to) some of the most common license types – restaurants, bars, tasting rooms, hotels, and stadiums:

- Type 41 On-Sale Beer & Wine Eating Place

- Type 42 On-Sale Beer & Wine Public Premises

- Type 47 On-Sale General Eating Place

- Type 48 On-Sale General Public Premises

Note that ABC’s definition of a server includes anyone who checks customer ID for purchase of an alcoholic beverage or entry to an on-premises licensed establishment, so the training requirement could include door security personnel as well.

The training and certification program is two-fold, with servers and managers required to complete the following within 60 calendar days from the first date of employment, or within 60 days of July 1, 2022, for current employees:

1) Complete an ABC-approved RBS training course

2) Pass an online ABC-administered RBS exam

Once the server has successfully completed the training and exam, the certification is valid for three years.

For ease of access, ABC has created an online portal where alcohol servers can search for approved training providers and take the online exam. Currently, exams are offered in English and Spanish, and the cost of the exam is $3.00, although training providers are authorized to charge an additional fee for their RBS program.

Licensees will also eventually be able to use the portal to confirm an employee’s certification and maintain online records, although this feature is still in development.

Enforcement of AB-1221 will begin September 1, 2022, and more information on the requirements can be found here.

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