Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C. Attorneys at Law

4 easy ways to lose a liquor license

Restaurant and bar owners know all too well that one mistake can jeopardize your business. A simple mistake can cost you in fines or cause you to lose your license. A lost liquor license can mean the difference between success and failure of a business. Be aware of the following mistakes which make it easy to lose a liquor license in Pennsylvania.

1. Miss checking a few IDs

Serving alcohol to people under the age of 21 is the most common reason for getting a liquor license revoked. If the minor is caught while intoxicated by a police officer then they can lead the officer right back to your establishment. It's also common for a Liquor Control Enforcement Officer to test you with a compliance check.

Owners are usually well aware of this danger but it is important to keep all alcohol service personnel carefully trained on the topic. The best way to make sure you check every ID correctly is by investing in an ID scanner.

2. Serve a few drinks after hours

Liquor licenses have a time frame in which you are allowed to sell alcohol. You might be tempted to be lenient with those last calls, but you can get in some serious trouble. If you hold a restaurant liquor license then you cannot sell alcohol after 2:00 AM. If you have a club license then you can sell drinks up until 3:00 AM. An after-party might be fun for some patrons but it is really not worth the risk.

3. Let people hang around to sober up

No one wants to force a happy customer to leave when they have had too many drinks. Unfortunately if you allow patrons to hang around while they sober up then you could lose your license. Restrictions say that customers must leave a restaurant by 2:30 AM, and leave a club by 3:30 AM. If you are worried how your customer will get home then call them a cab. Paying $15 for a cab is a lot less expensive than losing your license.

4. Neglect to sign up for a voluntary certification program

If you are signing up for your first liquor license or if you will be changing management, then it is important to get all the training done right away. The Pennsylvania Liquor Code offers a voluntary Responsible Alcohol Management Program, or RAMP, for all alcohol service personnel, management, and owners.

While the extra training is helpful, RAMP comes in handy if any mistakes are made. You can get your fines reduced if a staff member is caught serving alcohol to a minor after completion of RAMP. Without this training your staff might become too relaxed about serving policies, which can lead to repeated fines and a lost license.

If you have any questions about renewing a lost liquor license then contact an attorney. They can guide you through the requirements for a renewal.

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