TEXAS – A statewide effort by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to enforce the state’s underage drinking laws found eight percent of the more than 1,800 retailers visited in the operation sold alcohol to a minor.
The finding was part of a statewide push timed to coincide with the start of the college fall semester. During the operation, minor-aged volunteers under the supervision of undercover TABC agents entered TABC-licensed businesses where they attempted to buy alcohol.
While similar operations regularly occur across the state, the back-to-school operation targeted retailers in cities where colleges or universities are located during the month of August.
In all, 1,878 undercover operations were recorded during the back-to-school period. Of those, 1,390 were held at locations where alcohol is purchased for off-premise consumption, such as liquor stores or convenience stores.
A further 488 operations took place at locations where liquor is consumed on-premise, such as bars and restaurants. TABC agents recorded a total of 145 sales to minors – 88 at off-premise locations and 57 at on-premise locations.
Overall, the back-to-school violation rate of eight percent is lower than the statewide average violation rate of nearly ten percent. During the last twelve months, TABC agents conducted a total of 11,210 underage compliance operations, finding a total of 1,171 violations.
Businesses cited for selling alcohol to a minor could face TABC administrative action – including a civil fine and the temporary or permanent suspension of their liquor license. Individual employees who sell alcohol to minors could also face Class A misdemeanor charges.
Businesses seeking more information about underage drinking laws can download free educational materials at TABC’s www.2young2drink.com website. Business owners can also request free training by TABC auditors on best practices to avoid selling alcohol to minors.
Information about businesses cited for selling alcohol to minors is available on TABC’s Public Inquiry website.
Source: Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission