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75% Pass Rate Dips Among East Lansing Bars/Restaurants Checking IDs – Not Selling Alcohol to Minors

It’s a 75% pass rate (12 of 16 inspected) for East Lansing bars and restaurants (on-premises liquor licensees) for checking customers’ identification to verify their legal age to drink alcohol prior to serving them. This is a drop from the impressive 96% pass rate results for stores that sell alcohol (off-premises liquor licensees) in East Lansing that were checked last fall for correctly checking IDs.  

The mystery shopper program called the Michigan Alcohol Responsibility Program (MI ARP) is conducted by the Responsible Retailing Forum (RRForum) on behalf of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC). It’s geared toward preventing the illegal sale of alcohol to minors in college communities. The MI ARP also complements the MLCC’s Controlled Buy Operation Program by preparing licensees to pass compliance checks either by the MLCC or local law enforcement to curtail the sale of alcohol to minors. The MLCC Enforcement Division has an 86% statewide average compliance rate among licensees for checking IDs.

“Making a measurable difference in preventing underage drinking and its consequences in college communities such as East Lansing is our goal,” said MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi. “The program provides non-punitive ‘teachable moments’ for licensees to stay on top of making sure that their managers and staff are not selling or serving alcohol to minors, reminding them every day to check IDs every time.”

The MI ARP educates licensees and their employees on the importance of checking IDs prior to serving customers. Since the MLCC Enforcement Division’s primary goal is compliance with the Liquor Control Code and Administrative Rules, this additional measure and program goal is intended to reduce the incidence of serving minors thereby raising the compliance rate in Michigan overall.

The MI ARP provides licensees on-the-spot feedback on actual staff ID-checking conduct as observed by young, legal-age mystery shoppers. If staff ask for and check the customer’s ID, the licensee receives a Green Card to display, showing that it had acted as a responsible retailer. Failure to check IDs results in receiving a Red Card.  

All liquor licensees located in East Lansing recently received the mystery shopper aggregate results (without any licensees’ names) in a Community Report from the RRForum, along with best practice resources.  

The safe sale and service of alcohol not only protects public health and safety, it allows the industry to expand. In Michigan, the spirits industry has more than doubled within the last 10 years to a record of $1.92 billion in state spirit sales to retail licensees for fiscal year 2021. Safety is good for business. The MLCC applauds licensees who check IDs conscientiously.

The MLCC is partnering with the RRForum and the Michigan Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking, along with industry partners and local stakeholders to promote the responsible sale, service and consumption of alcohol in college communities and throughout Michigan. The MI ARP is sponsored by the MLCC through a funding grant award from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA)* of which the MLCC is a member as a state regulator.

* NABCA provides such awards to support efforts toward protecting public health and safety and strengthening responsible and efficient alcohol regulatory systems.

The mission of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) is to make alcoholic beverages available for consumption while protecting the consumer and the general public through regulation of those involved in the sale and distribution of these alcohol beverage products.

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