Saturday, May 31, 2008

License to Serve

I earned my New Mexico alcohol server's license today to cover myself should I continue with the wine tasting business. I had no idea this state's laws were so stringent. For example, if you serve someone alcohol for a paid event (such as a catered wedding, fundraiser, or other event) or on a licensed premise (such as a restaurant or bar) you MUST card EVERYONE. If you don't, and let's say a 65 year old man leaves drunk (which, by law, you are responsible for because you served him!), his license was revoked or expired so he uses a fake, he gets in a wreck, and the cops trace where he got his last drink. If they trace back to you, they can fine up to $500 or $1000! Worse, if he turns around at a wedding and gives the drink to a minor (under 21), and that minor leaves and gets in a wreck, you can get up to 18 months in jail PLUS a $1000 fine PLUS all your legal fees (at the very least $3000)!

All this seems to put undue responsibility on the server and dining/drinking establishments, but I suppose it helps deter bartenders and waitresses from serving drunk people and minors. I also learned that it can cost $300,000 - $500,000 plus an annual fee for an establishment to get a full liquor license! How do restaurants survive in New Mexico? It's probably why we have a dearth of fine dining establishments and decent bars around here....

Now that I'm licensed, I can do my wine educator thang in NM should I choose to but I have to admit, after that course I'm not chomping at the bit!

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