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1 In 4 Alcohol Sellers Still Sell To Underage Patrons, County Says

By Aaron Kraut

Wednesday - 4/10/2013, 9:45am  ET

Caddies on Cordell (file photo)One in four Montgomery County businesses in recent compliance checks sold or served alcohol to a teen, according to the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control (DLC).

The DLC does 400 compliance checks a year by sending out trained volunteers younger than 20 to area establishments with only their legitimate, state-issued vertical driver licenses.

People 21 and older have horizontal driver licenses, yet the DLC found the teens were able to purchase alcohol about a quarter of the time in recent checks.

The under-20 volunteers can’t have facial hair, wear excessive makeup or hats or talk on the phone while making the purchase.

In about a third of those underage sales, a server asked for and looked at the teen’s under-21 drivers license, then still sold alcohol to the teen, the DLC said.

To try to combat that, the DLC, Montgomery County Police and Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce are holding an educational program for staff at local bars and restaurants. The free ALERT (Alcohol Law Education and Regulatory Training) class is set for Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Service Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane).

“The compliance rate has remained fairly steady within the last few years,” said DLC Division Chief Kathie Durbin, herself a former Bethesda bartender, in a press release. “We are continually striving for increased compliance. The Department is measured on the program’s pass rate.”

The class is open to all county liquor licensees and their staff. Bartenders and other alcohol sellers are taught to ID anyone who looks younger than 35. Pre-registration is required. To register or to get more information, contact the DLC Outreach office at 240-777-1989 or dlc@montgomerycountymd.gov.