A series of compliance checks were recently performed in Randolph County by the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration.
On Dec. 13 and 14, the ABCA visited 19 establishments in the county, seeing whether the businesses would sell alcohol to a minor without asking for proper identification. Gig Robinson, spokesperson for the ABCA, explained to the Inter-Mountain how the checks took place.
"Our goal here is to achieve compliance," he said.
An underage person is accompanied to each business by a member of the ABCA, in accordance with policies that protect him or her, Robinson said.
The underage individual attempts to purchase alcohol at each establishment, he said, and the ABCA employee monitors the result of each encounter.
If a business fails to check for identification the individual, action can be taken by the ABCA to urge future compliance with the law.
The ABCA reported that Beander's, Duke's Steak House and Applebee's, in Elkins, and the Alpine Springs Motel, in Bowden, did not pass their compliance checks.
Businesses that passed their compliance checkes included Geno's Pizza and Spaghetti House, El Gran Sabor, Good Times, Lexi's, The Jabberwock Bar and Grill, C.J. Maggies American Grill, J & J Mountaineer, Journeez, Calain's Restaurant and Tavern, Bella's, The Icehouse, Pizza Hut, High Life Lounge and Riverside Tavern, in Elkins, and Spanky's Bar and Grill, in Bowden, according to the ABCA.
The ABCA is allowed to issue citations and liquor license suspensions if a business does not pass its check. In extreme cases, hearings can also be completed that may result in revocation of a license for up to five years.
"A monetary fine usually corrects any problems," Robinson said, adding it's important to note that underage persons often get alcohol from friends of family members who can purchase alcohol legally.
In its ongoing effort to curb underage consumption, the ABCA works to provide literature that encourages business compliance and informs youth so they can make responsible choices.
Robinson said the prevention of underage drinking is a community effort. Compliance checks can only do so much, he said, noting that family and friends have a great deal of influence as well.