Ohio retail permit holders are on the front lines and must be extra vigilant to prevent underage sales. As a permit holder, it is your responsibility to educate your employees and make that sure they receive the proper training. Selling alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 or an intoxicated individual is not only a violation of Ohio law, but the consequences can be and devastating to your community and business. It can result in citations against your permits that will jeopardize your ability to sell alcohol in the future, may subject you to the termination provisions of your agency contract, and can result in criminal charges and penalties.
Here are two steps you can take to ensure the responsible sale of alcohol:
- Always thoroughly check the identification of all young people attempting to purchase alcohol. Checking IDs not only can help prevent an illegal sale, it also can protect your business. Ohio law provides an affirmative defense that protects permit holders who make a bona fide attempt to verify that a customer is at least 21 years old by checking a valid form of identification (an Ohio driver’s license, an official state of Ohio identification card, a military identification card issued by the U.S. Department of Defense or a passport). There also is an affirmative defense when using an automatic identification reader/scanner. Such devices are great tools to help verify not only the age of a customer but also the authenticity of the identification.
- Pay attention to the products that you are selling. There are items such as some energy drinks that contain alcohol, and other alcohol products with non-traditional packaging that may look similar to non-alcoholic products. Make sure that products which contain any alcohol are sold only to those customers who are over the age of 21.
Selling alcohol is a privilege that comes with great responsibility. Help protect your community and your business by making sure your employees know the law and understand the seriousness of practicing safe, legal and responsible alcohol sales. We can help by providing educational materials and other resources to help train employees. Information and resources are available at www.com.ohio.gov/liqr
Source: Gerry O’Neil, Chief of Agency Operations for the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control