4 Tips To Prevent Selling Alcohol to Minors

Few things could be more important to any business licensed to sell alcoholic beverages than to ensure that drinks are not illegally sold to those under the legal drinking age (21 in most states.)

Even though furnishing alcohol to a minor is a misdemeanor crime in most states (not a felony), the threat of losing one’s liquor license, paying fines of $1,000 or more per incident, and even spending time in jail are more than enough to cause business owners to take all possible precautions.

In fact, even hearing of a sting and fine of a neighboring establishment often results in more meticulous self-enforcement of drinking age laws. But what can you do that you’re not already doing?

For more in depth information on ID scanners for bars, see this eminently helpful article: ID Scanner For Bars: Preventing Alcohol Sales to Minors. But here below, we want to just quickly go over 4 important ways a high-tech ID scanner can benefit your business:

1. Eliminating Underage Sales

A $1,000 fine, a multi-day license suspension, court hearings that waste your time, cost you money, and hurt your business’ reputation – none of it’s worth it. Stopping accidental sale of alcohol to minors has to be a priority.

A top-tier ID scanner made for bars will make it virtually impossible for any sales to minors to slip through. A fake ID won’t scan properly, and a true ID will show the correct age. And if the picture was switched on a forged ID, trained staff can detect that practically every single time with ease.

Most alcohol-serving establishments have a 10% to 20% violation rate on sales to minors. Yours can be zero or very, very close to zero by simply implementing an ID scanner system.

2. Making It Easier On Your Staff

Forcing staff to rely almost exclusively on “how old someone looks,” on detecting suspicious body language, or on checking ID manually and visually (and calculating ages in your head) is a strain and very ineffective.

When the place gets busy and IDs are flashed by 5, 10, 15 people at a single table simultaneously, it’s simply too easy to make a mistake. And you will likely be forced to fire even your star employee who’s been with you for years if he/she makes even on such mistake.

An ID scanner lifts the weight off employees’ shoulders and lets them do their job knowing that since every ID has to be scanned, there’s little to no chance of accidentally serving alcohol to a minor and getting fired.

3. Protecting You Legally

In 11 US states and counting, if you use an ID scanner in your bar, you won’t be liable for any sale of alcohol to minors that occurs. And in the other 39 states, use of an ID barcode scanner greatly strengthens your position in court because it shows you made a genuine effort to prevent illegal sales.

Additionally, the top of the line scanning systems keep a detailed log of past scans. That becomes critical compliance evidence in you are ever subjected to an audit.

4. Stopping Illegal “Passback” Sales

The best ID scanners have an “anti-passback” features that immediately alerts you should the same ID be scanned within a relatively short period of time. What this does is help stop those of legal drinking age from buying alcoholic beverages for those who are underage, after the minor’s ID was already scanned and declined.

And this same basic feature can be used to mark “troublemakers” whom you’ve banned from your bar when their IDs are scanned – except there’s not “time limit” on the alert in this case.

Clearly, an ID scanner can save you time, money, and legal trouble and make your establishment run smoother from day to day. Even if the systems aren’t cheap, it’s clear that they quickly pay for themselves and then keep on saving you money every year.