The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is targeting businesses that violate the rules of selling alcohol. In Lubbock, 76% of the bars and liquor stores comply with liquor laws, that's 4% below the state average. One local bar learned first hand what can happen.
In January, a bartender at Cheddar's was cited for serving a minor. TABC officers say it was the restaurant's first violation. They took advantage of a program, or a class, called S.A.V.E. or Stop Alcohol Violations Early.
Cheddar's Bartender Brian Davis was working one night in January when a coworker chose not to ID a minor, the bartender then served the minor. Brian. "The beer sat in front of him for five minutes and it was full the whole time, he didn't take a sip of it. He got up and left, about two minutes later TABC arrived," said Davis.
The bartender at Cheddar's was caught during a TABC sting operation. The S.A.V.E. class is the result of that violation.
"I was kinda disappointed when we had to be here at eight in the morning on a Saturday, but if it makes it up so we don't have to close like 'the Spoon,' that's fine," says Davis.
TABC Agent, Dennie Carleton told the group how to recognize a minor. He also went over various codes and how to recognize someone who's already intoxicated. More importantly, Carleton said alcohol sales takes presidence over food or other beverages.
"When your service becomes that of alcohol and go back to training and hopefully with these classes they take- that instills that knowledge in them," said Carleton. The class is an option many facilities have. Through taking it, often times their penalty can be reduced.
Cheddar's General Manager, Jerry Henderson said the class only benefits them. "It wasn't a choice as much as it was a good option for us to take advantage of. As far as educating our people a little better than we were educating them before," said Henderson.
After an hour out of his Saturday morning, Davis had a message, "We're going to ID everyone, eight to 80, now matter who it is, we'll ID everyone!"
It is Cheddar's policy to ID everyone. The process isn't over. TABC will go back to Cheddar's twice at random to re-sting them to see if the tactics they learned from the class will work.
Undercover Stings Useful to TABC to Catch Alcohol Violators