Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To bag or not to bag?

We are often asked if businesses that sell alcohol to go are required to place the alcohol in a bag.

There is no law in Oregon which requires retailers to bag alcohol.

Some retailers have their own store policy which may make it a requirement.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Self-serve alcohol not allowed under Oregon statute

The perspectives on self-serve are derived from years of study into public safety and the positive effects of human interaction during alcohol purchases. Recently, a new product, the Enomatic Wine Preservation System has appeared in the Northwest. The machine provides a longer shelf-life and a measured pour, reducing waste and saving money. An extra feature is the Enomatic Wine Card, which allows a patron to purchase a pre-paid card then self-serve their wine at the machine.

Every Oregon business that serves alcohol is required by Oregon statute to have a person with a valid service permit sell, mix and dispense alcoholic beverages. As long as a valid service permit holder dispenses the wine, the Enomatic Wine Preservation System is legally compliant. Several machines are currently being used in Oregon, but they are behind the bar and are operated legally by servers with valid permits. It is worth mentioning that the Enomatic Wine Card can also serve a function behind the bar to prevent inventory shrinkage and monitor employee's transactions. In this scenario, it is still required that a valid service-permit holder dispense the wine.

On-premises liquor licensees, their managers and servers are required to complete an OLCC-approved Alcohol Server Education class and submit a service permit application in order to obtain a valid service permit. The core emphasis of the alcohol server education class is to inform and educate class participants about:
  • the basic liquor laws of Oregon,
  • how to recognize visibly intoxicated people (VIPs)
  • techniques on how to refuse alcohol service or remove an alcohol drink from a VIP
  • how to prevent minors from obtaining alcohol
  • how to properly check ID

The intent is to have a person who is trained to detect and prevent visibly intoxicated individuals and minors from being served alcohol; this is accomplished in part through verbal interaction with these customers. These educational training requirements also include recognizing the fifty signs of visible intoxication. This machine is not capable of detecting those signs.

While the machine is sophisticated and great for storing and preserving wine, it can't tell you the age of the person holding the card or whether that person is intoxicated at the time they are pouring the wine. If a customer gives his or her card to another customer, the machine would not know the difference. Alcohol is a drug that impairs judgment. People who are consuming alcohol can't be expected to monitor their own service and behavior. Most people can agree that reducing the carnage and grief of injuries and death on our roadways because of over-service of alcohol or service to minors is a good thing. The OLCC is charged with enforcing the liquor laws of the state, and it's a state law passed by the legislature that says a person has to serve the alcohol, and that person has to pass an Alcohol Server Education class and have a service permit.


Thomas B. Erwin
OLCC Government Affairs Director

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Myth: Oregon offers only a limited variety of distilled spirits products.

Actually, the OLCC offers about 1,700 different distilled spirits items. The distribution center regularly carries about 1,300 items, and that number swells by at least 30 percent when adding special orders and one-time product offerings. Customers are responding enthusiastically to the wide variety of new distilled spirits and the agency continues to expand its product line to meet the demand. By continually evaluating the product line, the OLCC provides consumers with new beverage varieties as they are introduced and eliminates non-performing items.