[Tequila (book)worm]
Adult beverage education

By Sam Ujvary


Selling and serving alcohol anywhere is a huge responsibility. It's not simply an exchange of money for a shot of whiskey in the hopes that there will be a 20 percent tip attached—at least it shouldn't be. The person on the other side of that bar where you're sitting should be knowledgeable of their product, relatively personable, and preferably, should have some kind of alcohol certification.
In many establishments in most states, many bars and insurance companies require staff members to have some sort of certification. I used to bartend at a large hotel in Chicago, and by Illinois state law, I had to be TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures) certified. In fact, TIPS alcoholic beverage server training is now mandatory in many states. As an employee who was serving liquor, I had to understand what to do in the event of an alcohol-related incident, and I had to learn what was and was not considered to be illegal, how to spot potentially illegal activity or questionable behavior, and how to prevent it if possible. While I was sitting through the three-hour training seminar, I looked around at my new co-workers. Most of them seemed extremely bored, which didn't particularly sit well with me. Sure, this stuff seemed monotonous, but when it was time to take the test at the end of the session, most of them didn't know that serving a Jack & Coke to a pregnant woman wasn't illegal. I started looking at this from my future patrons' perspective. I wouldn't want to be sitting at a bar and have someone serving me who didn't know how to tell the guy next to me that he's had enough and to take away his car keys. I like that now I know how to spot a 20-year-old who entered the bar through false pretenses, and I like that I learned how to develop some fundamental social skills to prevent potential trageties.
The point of these programs is to prevent over consumption, underage drinking and drunk driving. As an added bonus, it's a good certification to include on resumes. With TIPS, your certification is only valid for three years, but I've walked away with some know-hows that I'll always remember. TIPS training is currently accepted in the following states:

Arkansas, California, Colorado (not RVP approved), Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois Basset Approved, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah Beverage Server, Virginia, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin (Bartenders License) and Wyoming. 

Here's to you.