Compliance Inspections - About The Programs
Montana has two (2) programs that are used to curb alcohol sales to underage persons. Alcohol Reward & Reminder is an educational program and Alcohol Sales Compliance Inspection Program is an enforcement program. The programs are somewhat similar, but they differ in very important ways.
- Alcohol Reward and Reminder is an educational survey program. It is conducted by private citizens and young looking persons of legal age, specifically 21 and 22 year olds. The purpose of this program is to survey alcohol outlets and see if they are checking for ID’s of any person who could reasonably be younger than 35 years of age. If a server or seller, under program criteria, does not check for an ID, they are given a “Reminder” card that has Montana’s laws printed on it. This reminder helps the server or seller to remember what Montana’s law is so that they do not accidently sell to an underage person. If they ID and refuse to sell alcohol based on the failure to provide an ID, our surveyors will present the clerk with a “Reward” card that enters them into a quarterly drawing for a $100 gift card. They are also thanked for doing a great job by our surveyors. Because this program is educational, there is no possibility for anyone to break the law and specific outlet performance is NEVER reported. Statistics for this program are reported as aggregate data with warnings that the data is reliant on judgment calls of the surveyors.
- Alcohol Sales Compliance Inspections are law enforcement activities conducted by law enforcement officers working in conjunction with Confidential Informants (CI’s). CI’s are 18 to 20 years of age, are tested to ensure that they look their age, and have had no adverse law enforcement contact in the previous 24 months. CI’s, working with undercover law enforcement officers, will attempt to purchase alcohol from servers and sellers. Servers and sellers who refuse to sell to our CI’s will receive notification of their excellent performance by the State within a few weeks. Servers and Sellers who illegally allow our CI’s to purchase alcoholic beverages will be cited by law enforcement officers and will have to appear in court, pay fines, face possible jail time, and be liable to their own company discipline procedures including possible termination. The Montana Department of Revenue Liquor Control Division is notified of these citations and will contact the establishment in regards to them.
Taken together, these programs are an important part of Montana’s commitment to decrease the sales and instances of alcohol being sold or served to underage persons.