New Training Requirement for Alcohol Servers in California

Server with tray of alcoholic beverages

Starting in 2022, the State of California will begin enforcing a new training requirement for alcohol servers and managers. 

By requiring responsible beverage service training, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control hopes to educate more people on the dangers of overserving alcohol and decrease alcohol-related crimes like drunk driving. 

All alcohol servers, and their managers, need to register as an alcohol server, get trained, and pass California’s server test by September 1, 2022. Starting on September 1, 2022, new servers and managers must complete these steps within 60 days of hire. 

Legally, you’re considered an alcohol server if you do any of these things: 

  • Verify customers’ ID prior to serving them alcohol or allowing them to enter an establishment 
  • Take customer orders for alcoholic beverages 
  • Pour alcoholic drinks for customers 
  • Deliver alcoholic drinks to customers 

Remember, if you manage or supervise an alcohol server, you’re also required to get training. 

What is California Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) Training? 

Have you ever heard the term “responsible beverage service”? It refers to servers’ responsibility to prevent customers from drinking too much alcohol. Also, there are some situations in which a server shouldn’t serve alcohol at all. 

For example: 

  • A woman in a restaurant orders an alcoholic drink. The server asks to see the guest’s ID and notices she’s under 21 years old. Federal law requires people to be at least 21 to purchase alcohol, so the server must politely refuse the woman’s request. 
  • A man stumbles into a bar and asks for a drink. Based on the customer’s behavior, the bartender is reasonably certain that he is already intoxicated. California state law prohibits workers from serving alcohol to people who are already intoxicated, so the bartender must politely refuse the man’s request. 

Basically, a responsible beverage service training course teaches alcohol servers about laws that may affect their jobs, like the laws in the scenarios above. The California Responsible Beverage Service Training also goes over how alcohol can affect the community, how it affects the body, practical techniques for refusing or slowing alcohol service, and how to create management policies that support responsible beverage service. 

How to get RBS certified 

There are three steps to becoming a certified alcohol server or alcohol server manager in California:

  1. Register on the California RBS Portal. As part of the registration process, you must complete an application and pay a $3 application fee. Make sure you write down your Server ID number, found on your Server Dashboard under “Server Details.”
  2. Choose an approved training provider from the list on the RBS Portal and purchase the course. You can also find an approved training course on StateFoodSafety.com. Once you begin the course, you will be prompted to enter your Server ID number. You must complete the course before you can move on to the next step.
  3. Take the California alcohol server exam. About 1–2 days after you finish the training, you’ll get an email from the RBS Portal with instructions on how to take the state-administered exam.

Once you pass the state exam, your official training certificate will be added to your Server Dashboard on the RBS Portal. The certificate is valid for three years. 

— Jessica Pettit

Updated: 09/09/2021 — 1:02 pm
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