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Ann Arbor Bars, Restaurants, Liquor Stores Rate of Checking IDs Jumps Up to 85% - Not Serving/Selling Alcohol to Minors

In the latest round of mystery shop inspections, the overall “pass” rate for Ann Arbor area bars, restaurants and liquor stores jumped to 85% for correctly checking patrons’ identification to verify their legal age prior to serving or selling beverage alcohol (up from 65% last spring). Of the 20 inspections done in October and November,17 liquor licensees received Green cards, indicative of an overall “pass” rate. Specific results show:

  • 9 of 10 on-premises establishments correctly requested an ID -- a 90% pass rate (a slight decrease from the 100% pass rate last spring and winter).
  • 8 of 10 off-premises retailers checked IDs – a pass rate of 80% (up from 50% last spring).

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) is sponsoring the mystery shopper program in Ann Arbor for a second academic year through grant funding provided by the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA) of which the MLCC is a member as a state regulator.

“Our goal is to prevent the illegal sale and service of alcohol to minors and to curtail underage drinking in Ann Arbor,” said MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi. “These inspections provide non-punitive ‘teachable moments’ for licensees, to remind them of the importance of checking IDs every time.”

The Michigan Alcohol Responsibility Program (MI ARP) is conducted by the Responsible Retailing Forum (RRForum) on behalf of the MLCC. The MI ARP complements the MLCC’s Controlled Buy Operation Program by preparing licensees to pass compliance checks either by the MLCC or local law enforcement. 

The mystery shop inspections are conducted by young, legal-age shoppers who hand staff a Green Card for checking IDs and a Red Card when no ID is requested. The inspections are for educational purposes only. Individual results are known only to RRForum and the licensee. A Community Report on the overall results will go out to all area licensees.

The safe sale and service of alcohol not only protects public health and safety, it allows the industry to expand.  In the last decade, the spirits industry in Michigan has more than doubled to a record of $1.92 billion in state spirit sales to retail licensees for fiscal year 2021.

The MLCC joins with the Michigan Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking, and industry stakeholders to promote the responsible sale, service and consumption of alcohol in college communities and throughout Michigan. 

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.