In an effort to reduce underage alcohol purchases, the Winona County Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) paid for staff overtime for the Winona County Sheriff’s Department to conduct alcohol compliance checks for two consecutive years thanks to a Drug-Free Communities Federal grant.
In August 2018, an operation lead by Sgt. Josh Murphy of the Sheriff’s Department conducted 15 alcohol sales compliance checks at establishments that hold liquor licenses with the city of Winona. Two of these establishments were found to be in violation and sold alcohol to persons under the age of 21 years old.
“We want to help reduce youth access to alcohol. Ongoing checks remind retailers of the importance of these laws in protecting our youth,” said Chief Deputy Jeff Mueller.
The Winona Police Department regularly educates local alcohol retailers on minimum-age alcohol laws and the importance of verifying the age of customers before selling age-restrictive products such as alcohol. Community Liaison Officer Bridget Klinger hosted 10 free Responsible Beverage Server Trainings between January and August of this year. More than 200 bar, restaurant and liquor store employees attended this training to learn about serving best practices.
“Youth can easily purchase alcohol without proof of age,” said Klinger. “Alcohol servers and sellers who attend this training may be less likely to sell alcohol to underage individuals.”
ASAP is a coalition of community members devoted to cultivating a drug-free culture for youth in the Winona area. To learn more visit winonacountyasap.org.