Night clubs, breweries and grocery stores obtain liquor licenses to import, manufacture, distribute and sell alcohol. A liquor license manager ensures that an establishment complies with alcohol-related regulations. Careful consideration should be given to who fills these positions because the manager and the business face risks for lack of compliance.
Licenses and Endorsements
A liquor license manager must ensure her establishment's license remains valid. Each license generally limits what an establishment can do. The manager must make sure the business gets additional licenses or endorsements if it plans to conduct transactions beyond the scope of its current license. For example, in Washington, a restaurant's liquor license allows it to sell beer, wine and spirits by the glass on the premises. The business must get duplicate licenses if it wants to operate additional locations and it must pay for add-on endorsements to cater events with alcohol, sell kegs to go and conduct off-premises wine sales.
Prohibiting Unlawful Sales
Every state has a legal drinking age. A liquor license manager must ensure alcohol isn't sold to minors and that minors do not obtain alcohol from others and drink it in the establishment. The manager must monitor patrons and prohibit the sale of alcohol to a person who comes into her business already intoxicated. It's also her responsibility to ensure that sales are cut off when an individual appears to drink too much. Furthermore, a liquor license manager must ensure alcohol isn't sold after hours, as determined by local or state regulations.
Training and Staff Compliance
All of an establishment's staff are not required to be licensed. In a restaurant, there may be one liquor license manager on duty though several servers and bartenders are selling alcohol. The manager is responsible for ensuring everyone is trained and adhering to the law at all times. If anyone is caught failing to comply with the law, the liquor license manager can be held responsible.
Managing Alcohol Ratios
Some places have food-to-liquor ratio regulations, which require an establishment that sells alcohol to also sell a certain amount food. A liquor license manager must monitor total sales to ensure compliance. If liquor sales get too high, she has to develop a resolution, such as having the staff encourage more food purchases or suspending alcohol sales until the proper balance is reached.
The repercussions of a liquor license manager's failure to meet her responsibilities can vary. In some cases, she may just lose her position. But if she violates a law such as serving minors, she can face criminal charges and administrative penalties. Whether the establishment loses its liquor license and receives a penalty can depend on several factors, such as whether the guilty liquor license manager is also the owner, the type of offense and the number of remaining liquor license managers. Furthermore, if poor alcohol management results in harm, such as an intoxicated person getting into a car accident, both the liquor license manager and the establishment may be sued.
- Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control: Virginia Alcohol Laws Applying to Sellers and Servers
- Washington Business Journal: Virginia Tests New Food-to-liquor Ratio
- Washington State Liquor Control Board: Retail Liquor License and Endorsement Descriptions and Fees Information
- Washington Liquor Control Board: Apply for a Liquor License
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