During compliance checks, Craig Police officers instruct a volunteer younger than the age of 21 to attempt to purchase alcohol from local bars, restaurants and liquor stores. The most recent compliance check showed that 10 out of 22 businesses sold alcohol to the underage volunteer.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

During compliance checks, Craig Police officers instruct a volunteer younger than the age of 21 to attempt to purchase alcohol from local bars, restaurants and liquor stores. The most recent compliance check showed that 10 out of 22 businesses sold alcohol to the underage volunteer.

Ten out of 22 businesses fail recent alcohol sales compliance checks


— The Moffat County Sheriff's Office recently conducted an investigation to determine if local establishments were selling alcohol to individuals under legal drinking age.

The results were "disappointing," and suggest that more effective alcohol sales training is necessary, Craig Police Capt. Jerry DeLong said.

On Jan. 11, law enforcement officials and representatives from Grand Futures, a substance abuse prevention program, tested 22 Moffat County businesses licensed to sell liquor.

Of those businesses, 10 failed.

"I thought local businesses were doing a better job," DeLong said, adding that previous checks yielded "much better" results.

The investigation was conducted with the aid of one underage participant who entered bars, restaurants and liquor stores in Moffat County and attempted to purchase alcohol.

The checks are conducted in "a very controlled environment" with two or three officers stationed nearby, DeLong said.

The department conducts these investigations annually to ensure local businesses are complying with state and local laws that prohibit alcohol sales to individuals younger than 21 years old.

This year's compliance check results were a step down from previous investigations.

"I think overall it shows that there should be better training for liquor licensees," DeLong said.

Training for Intervention Procedures is one such program.

The training covers various topics, including how to determine if an identification card is fake and identifying signs of an underage purchaser.

Under state law, the Craig City Council can mandate the training to establishments cited for selling alcohol to a minor, City Attorney Kenny Wohl said. The council acts as the city's liquor licensing board.

These trainings are issued at the council's discretion.

"In virtually all cases, the violator will be required to provide training for servers and cashiers, usually provided by the TIPS program," Wohl said.

No local ordinance exists that makes the training mandatory for businesses that sell alcohol to underage individuals.

Chad Kiniston, Moffat County Grand Futures executive director, intends to help change that.

Grand Futures works with local law enforcement, schools and the 14th Judicial District to prevent substance abuse in Moffat County, Kiniston said.

He will administer TIPS next month to businesses that failed the compliance checks and any others that wish to attend.

The director said he hopes to raise support for a city ordinance that would make TIPS mandatory for all businesses that sell alcohol to the underaged.

Kiniston intends to raise support for the ordinance through the Youth Wellness Initiative, a grassroots organization created under the Northwest Colorado Community Health Project to prevent underage drinking in the Yampa Valley.

For Diane Miller, Health Project executive director, the recent compliance check tests indicate that liquor licensees require additional training.

"Alcohol retailers are really asking for help," she said.


xrsareus 9 years, 3 months ago

Well come on Daily Press!!!!! Where is the rest of the story. Who were the businesses???? Don't leave us hanging..... There should be no warning for the businesses that failed, take away their permit for awhile... It is not rocket science to uphold this law, just check everyones ID. The one's who complied should be comended...


redneckgirl 9 years, 3 months ago

Since you brought up the bad check issue and the topic at hand is liquor (stores); how is it legal (or right) that Loadout Liquors can place bad checks from individuals underneath the glass on the counter top? I work in a bank in Steamboat and customer confidentiality is one of our biggest concerns; especially now in the day of identity theft. Granted the people should not be writing bad checks, but throwing their account numbers out there for everybody to see is not right either. Could Loadout be held accountable if some bad check writer under the glass had their account information stolen? I have seen this at other places of business as well--posting up returned checks. They could at least black out the account number with a sharpie.


jraehal 9 years, 3 months ago

Greetings, Thank you for your comments. Not all the businesses have been contacted about this issue by the Police Department. Once that is done, we plan to publish their names.

Jerry Raehal Editor of the Craig Daily Press


lonelyone 9 years, 3 months ago

The way I see it is, if you send someone in who is of a legal age for buying alcohol, then you can't say these businesses did anything wrong!! The only way your going to find out if they are doing things by the book is to send someone in who shouldn't be trying to buy and see if they are carding people like they are suppose to be. It is plain and simple to me!?!?!? This also means if they are not sure and a person doesn't have any ID, they don't get served. Unless your one of the kids whose trying to buy booze when your not old enough, I don't know why you'd complain. Well yes I do. It's entrapment or appears to be, but this sort of thing is done all the time in the big cities only sometimes with cops posing as drug buyers or hookers!!


xrsareus 9 years, 3 months ago

Let me see if I have this right: Some people here and in the newspaper article this morning are questioning the tactic's used by law enforcement to protect our kid's and to try and stop underage drinking and a possible tragedy. What the hell is wrong with you guy's? To the people who are complaining about the birth date being to small to see. If the article is correct about Grand Futures sending out warning letters and businesses still failed, How stupid are you? If my business depended on liquor sales I would make sure I followed the law. Don't blame your mistakes on others. Thank you to law enforcement and to the businesses that are legal.


redneckgirl 9 years, 3 months ago

I understand what you are saying native. I'm not saying the police are doing anything wrong but if the business is going to get a citation for serving a minor; then why doesn't that minor get a minor in possession? I managed a bar for many years and was a TIPS instructor so I'm not saying that it's not a serious thing. I carded every body and it was always the older people that threw the fit about having to show their I.D. When I get carded now, I take it as a compliment and gladly show it. I think a matter that is just as serious as a minor buying; is the local bars not cutting people off when they should. I was in a local bar at Halloween and was shocked at how many people were intoxicated so much that they could hardly stand. The bartender's didn't care, they were too worried about getting a tip. Those are the people that we should all be scared of.


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