Why California is Mandating Responsible Beverage Service Training


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alt= “Bartender in a red apron making drinks”

As of July 1st, 2022, Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) certification will be mandatory for all establishments purveying alcohol in the state of California. 

This mandate is being put in place for a variety of reasons, but with the common goal of regulating alcohol service in the state for the health and safety of establishments and their consumers. 

Service Education

RBS training will help educate establishments by outlining and establishing the best practices for the sale and service of alcoholic beverages. With responsible beverage service education provided by mandatory RBS training in California, staff teams handling alcoholic beverages will no longer be at risk of over serving patrons and be better equipped to serve responsibly. 

RBS certification will be mandated for all retailers of alcohol across the state of California and will require preliminary RBS training. RBS training will teach alcohol servers to view signals of intoxication and how to intervene without confrontation; prevent underage sales; and educate employees in hospitality and food service about laws and legislation around selling alcoholic beverages.

Unhealthy Drinking Habits

The introduction of mandatory RBS training in California will hopefully bring with it a reduction in excessive drinking. Responsible beverage service training is being mandated in California to improve the above statistics of unhealthy drinking habits among adults residing in the state.

Between 17-20% of adults of legal drinking age in the state of California reported either binge drinking or heavy drinking during 2021.

The national rate of reported binge drinking and heavy drinking across the entire United States in adults 21 years of age or older was 17.6% in 2021. Considering that the number of adults in the state who engaged in unhealthy drinking habits teetered above the national average last year, it’s good that RBS training in California will be mandatory.

The CDC considers binge drinking for males to be the consumption of 5 drinks or more, and for females, the consumption of 4 drinks or more, on more than one occasion during a 30-day period.

Heavy drinking differs from binge drinking as the frequency of drinks consumed increases, and the period in which those beverages are consumed decreases. Heavy drinking is measured on a weekly basis and according to the CDC, heavy drinking for males is the consumption of 15 drinks or more per week, and for females, the consumption of 8 drinks or more per week.

Empowering Establishments 

It will be up to individual retailers to ensure that their alcohol servers receive the necessary training and earn their certification. Certificates are provided by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for a fee of $3.00 after the completion of about 4 hours’ worth of online RBS training.

The department doesn’t directly provide responsible beverage service training, so you will have to find a vendor that does, and rates of training programs differ depending on the vendor. Establishments can benefit from opting for an online training program like Userve that is easy to use, affordable, and allows users to complete the course at their own pace. They are a dynamic online module that connects employees to RBS training quickly and efficiently to help get California ready for the new mandates.

Seek out a training program that is robust and affordable, covering everything you need to know about alcohol service without disrupting your business operations.

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