Mandatory Responsible Beverage Service Training Requirements Begin July 1, 2022

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Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLPOn July 1, 2022, the Responsible Beverage Service Training Program Act (Assembly Bill 1221) will go into effect.  This means that Responsible Beverage Service training for alcohol servers and their managers at California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) On-Premises licensed establishments will go from being voluntary to mandatory.

AB 1221 was passed in 2017, and required ABC to create a Responsible Beverage Service Training Program (“RBSTP”) to ensure servers of alcoholic beverages and their managers are educated on the dangers of serving alcohol to minors and over-serving alcohol to patrons.  The stated intention of the law is to reduce alcohol-related harm to local communities.

The mandate “creates a new training requirement for alcohol servers and managers of alcohol servers at an estimated 56,000 ABC licensees with on-premises alcohol sales privileges.”  Beginning July 1, 2022, any alcohol server and their manager must have a valid RBSTP certification from an ABC accredited RBSTP provider and pass an online ABC administered RBSTP exam within 60 calendar days from the first date of employment.  The mandate was supposed to go into effect earlier, but the date was extended to July 1, 2022 due to the COVID-19 state of emergency.

The department estimates that 1,000,000 servers in California will need to be RBSTP certified by August 31, 2022. There are currently only 7,076 certified alcohol servers in the RBSTP Portal. 

On September 1, 2022, the ABC may begin enforcement of the RBSTP requirements, including issuing fines for non-compliance.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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