December 15 2015

All Tested Burlington Restaurants Pass Alcohol Compliance Sting

By: Rich Hosford

It looks like Burlington is not a place for minors to get a drink. 


Chief Michael Kent reports that the Burlington Police Department conducted alcohol compliance checks at 34 licensed establishments, all of which abided by state laws that prohibit the sale of alcohol to a minor.


According to a release, the department's Alcohol Compliance Unit conducted checks at the following establishments on Dec. 3: The Chateau, Burlington Wine & Spirits, Burton's Grill, Hilton Garden Inn, Chili's Grill and Bar, Del Frisco's Grille, Macaroni Grill, Border Cafe, Wegman's, Kings, Osteria Nino, The Bancroft, Tony C's, Redstone American Grill, Mr. Chan's, Tavern in the Square, Tuscan Kitchen, Cheesecake Factory, Uno's, Nordstrom Blue Stove, Lester's Roadside BBQ, Carli Convenience, Olde Towne Liquors, Sweet Ginger, The Liquor Cabinet, Bickford's Grille, Cafe Escadrille, Busa Liquors, Papa Razzi, Boston Burlington Marriott, L'Andana, Seasons 52, Not Your Average Joes, Bonefish Grill, Capital Grille, Legal Seafood, Besito and Rainforest Cafe.


Police say that in accordance with established Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) guidelines, Burlington Police used two underage buyers who were given explicit instructions on the methods used to conduct the compliance checks. They were each instructed to enter an establishment and attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages. When buyers failed to present identification proving they were of legal drinking age, employers at every business refused service. As a result, none of the establishments who were checked received any citations.


"It is important that we conduct these alcohol compliance checks on licensed establishments in town to be sure they all comply with liquor license laws," Chief Kent said. "I am extremely proud of each business owner whose establishment received a compliance check. They serve as an example of the tremendous responsibility that comes with owning a business that is licensed to sell alcohol and should all be proud of themselves for upholding the law in their respective businesses."


The news that all the businesses passed the compliance check was welcome at the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday. Town Administrator John Petrin said this was a big improvement over last year, when nine businesses failed checks within a six month period. 


That prompted the board to stiffen the penalties for businesses that sell to undercover minors. Previously if a business failed a compliance check it lost the right to sell alcohol for one day on the Monday following a hearing before the Board of Selectmen. If that same business fails again within a certain timeframe it lost its license for three days for a second offense, five days for a third offense and seven days for a fourth offense. Each of those penalties began on a Monday. 


The new penalties for getting caught selling to minors are a bit harsher. The penalty stays the same for the first offense but if a business fails a second time it will be subject to a 5-day suspension. Increasing penalties include 10 days for a third offense and 15 days for a fourth offense. 


There is some reprieve, however. If a company fails a second check it can opt to lieu hire a contractor that specializes in training on alcohol compliance to come in and give the staff training in lieu of the suspension. This training would include period compliance checks by the contractor for a year. The cost of the training would be about $2,000. 


“That is good to hear,” Chairman Mike Runyan said of the most recent sting results. 

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