Six of seven licensed businesses tested in Bend sold alcohol to a minor during a recent compliance operation conducted by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), the second time in a row local licensees fared poorly during testing.
Statewide, about 76 percent of businesses refuse to sell to the minor, in essence, passing the compliance test. But in Bend, the refusal rate has been much lower, only 14 percent during the most recent test, and 38.5 percent on March 9, when just five of 13 businesses refused to sell to the minor.
“Clearly, this shows that a lot of alcohol beverage retailers in Bend must do a better job of checking ID,” said Jeff Jett, manager of the OLCC’s Bend regional office. “Underage drinking is a serious issue in Central Oregon and around the state. Checking ID and refusing a sale is one of the best ways to keep minors and alcohol apart.”
The businesses that sold to the minor were DJ Maragas Wine Co., 643 NW Colorado; Jill’s Wild & Tasteful Women & Friends Gallery, 920 NW Bond #107; Mt. Bachelor Main Lodge, 335 SW Century Dr.; Mt. Bachelor Village Resort, 19717 Mt. Bachelor Dr.; Riverside Market, 285 NW Riverside Blvd.; Thousand Trails, 17480 S. Century Dr.
The lone business to refuse a sale was A&B Market at 61223 S. Hwy. 97.
Jett said store clerks who sell to a minor are cited into court and face at least a $350 fine. Waiters, servers, bartenders and other OLCC service permittees face a $300 administrative fine. And business owners – licensees – will be fined up to $1,600 for a first violation, even if the sale is made by an employee.
Two inspectors and a minor volunteer did the Bend compliance testing April 6 as part of the OLCC’s priority effort to fight underage drinking.
In a compliance test, the volunteer attempts to buy alcohol from licensees or their employees to determine if they are properly checking identification and obeying state law prohibiting alcohol sales to anyone under 21. The minors are supervised by OLCC inspectors or other law officers, carry their own legal ID and are advised not to disguise their age or encourage the sale of alcohol.
The OLCC tested about 1,600 licensed liquor businesses in 2006, and a number of police agencies also do compliance checks.
The OLCC offers training to store clerks, service permit holders and others on ID checking, identifying false identification and laws regarding minors and alcohol.