Posted on: June 6, 2024

Do Grocery Store Employees Need Alcohol Training?

Do Grocery Store Employees Need Alcohol Training?

While the atmosphere in your local grocery store might differ significantly from that of a lively bar, responsible alcohol sales remain essential in both settings. From verifying IDs to identifying signs of intoxication, ensuring responsible alcohol sales goes beyond simply scanning and bagging groceries. This begs the question: do grocery store employees need alcohol training? Let’s take a closer look.

Do Grocery Store Employees Need Alcohol Training?

This question depends on a few issues. The answer relevant to you will depend on whether:

  • Your state and/or local jurisdiction allows alcohol sales in grocery stores,
  • Your state and/or local jurisdiction requires alcohol training (or confers benefits on employers who provide it), and
  • Employers require alcohol training to reduce their liability and/or fulfill insurance requirements.

Currently, only a handful of states, including Massachusetts and California, have mandatory alcohol server training for all sellers, including grocery store employees. However, many states leave regulations to local jurisdictions, meaning counties and cities can enact their own ordinances. For instance, Texas, while lacking statewide requirements, has numerous cities like Austin and Dallas mandating training for specific areas within the store.

Legal Requirements for Grocery Stores

Determining the legal requirements that apply to alcohol in any given jurisdiction is complicated because, in some states, there are overlapping layers of laws at the state, county, and municipal levels.

Only a handful of states disallow alcohol sales in grocery stores entirely. A few more leave the question to local jurisdictions.

However, most states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, allow some kind of alcohol to be sold in grocery stores. Nineteen states allow everything, including distilled liquor, while the rest limit grocery stores to beer and/or wine.

Some of these states have hard-and-fast alcohol training requirements, but most simply incentivize it by allowing employers that provide training a slightly larger amount of leeway for compliance.

Importance of Alcohol Education Outside Legal Requirements

Even when there are no legal alcohol training requirements for grocery stores, it may be required by insurance companies or employer preferences.

This is ultimately because training employees in responsible alcohol service lowers the likelihood that they’ll commit illegal sales by helping them recognize minors, fake IDs, intoxicated persons, and circumstances that increase the likelihood of overserving a customer.

In other words, responsible alcohol training increases legal compliance for grocery store employees.

As a result, insurance companies may require this training or incentivize it by offering a premium discount. However, even when employers’ insurance companies don’t have training policies, employers may require it in order to lower the likelihood of racking up violations of the law.

Consequences of Employees Not Being Properly Trained

There are many negative consequences to letting untrained employees man the register when you sell alcohol. Violations of the law – especially illegal alcohol sales – can be quite expensive.

This is especially true on your second, third, or fourth violation when most states impose increasingly harsh penalties and increasingly lengthy suspensions of the store’s liquor license.

Safeguard Your Business with Online TIPS Training

In recent years, online options for alcohol training have become increasingly popular, and for good reason. They’re cost-effective and convenient, and they make compliance easy to track.

The trick is just to make sure you’re using a reputable training vendor.

TIPS has been a trusted and effective training program in the classroom for decades, and we now offer online TIPS courses tailored to a variety of settings, including employee training in retail alcohol sales like grocery stores.

Online TIPS training is accepted in many states and by many insurance companies because it teaches effective and practical strategies for complying with the law and avoiding illegal sales.

Enroll today!