California’s RBS Training Requirements & Penalties

California’s RBS Training Requirements & Penalties

4 Min Read

Learn more about California’s RBS Training requirements and the consequences for not complying.

The Responsible Beverage Service Training Act, created after the passage of Assembly Bill 1221 in 2017, required the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to build a Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) Training Program. The comprehensive training program aims to provide alcohol servers with the skills needed to serve alcoholic beverages responsibly and reduce alcohol-related harm in local California communities.

As of July 1, 2022, all alcohol servers and their managers must complete alcohol server training and have valid RBS Certification to legally serve alcohol in California. Be prepared for the new requirements by getting your training with Userve’s state-approved RBS Certification Training Program.

RBS Certification is mandatory starting July 1, 2022

Currently, RBS Training is only required if a local government mandates it. Effective July 1, 2022, all on-premises alcoholic beverage servers and their managers in California must complete a state-approved RBS Training Course and have valid RBS Certification.

Those required to have a RBS Certification must complete alcohol server training by completing an RBS Training Course. Once completed, ABC will administer the state RBS exam which an alcohol server must pass no later than August 31, 2022. After completing the RBS Training Course and passing the state exam, a person will be certified for 3 years. This certification must be renewed before its expiration to remain valid.

Who needs RBS Certification?

A business with an “ABC On-Premises License” allows the licensee to serve alcoholic beverages to customers who then consume the drink on-site. ABC licensees that must comply to the training mandate and ensure staff are RBS Certified include restaurants, bars, tasting rooms (including off-sale locations), fast casual dining, stadiums and hotels.

Roles that must complete RBS Training:

Alcohol Servers

According to Assembly Bill 1221, alcohol servers are staff who are responsible for any of the following duties:

  • checking customer ID before allowing entry to an ABC on-premises licensed business or serving alcoholic beverages
  • taking alcoholic beverage orders from customers
  • pouring alcoholic beverages for customers
  • delivering alcoholic beverages to customers

Alcohol Server Managers

Managers are staff who directly hire, train or supervise alcohol servers at an ABC-licensed establishment. This includes people who provide alcohol service training for an ABC on-premises licensee, but excludes employees or contractors of a separate ABC licensee that trains alcohol servers specifically for marketing or distribution purposes.

Requirements for One-Day Licenses

Non-profit organizations that have acquired a temporary daily on-sale license or temporary daily off-sale license for an event must have at least one RBS-certified person on-site to oversee the alcohol service for the event. This designated person must have acquired their certification by the day of the event.

While certain roles are required to complete RBS Training, everyone working at a licensed business can contribute to ensuring safe alcohol service practices are met. We recommend that everyone from owners, managers and employees complete training so that all staff are familiar with alcohol service laws and regulations and have the tools they need to minimize safety risks and avoid alcohol service-related penalties.

What are the penalties for not completing RBS Training?

Enforcement of the training mandate begins September 1, 2022. ABC-licensed establishments must ensure that all alcohol servers and their managers have completed RBS Training and be certified. Businesses should maintain records of employee certifications. These records can be subject to inspection, upon request, by ABC.

Failing to comply with the mandate can result in disciplinary action. Licensed businesses can face a 10-day suspension if found in violation of the new requirement. The penalty can also vary based on the following factors:

  • the percentage of employees without RBS training and certification
  • the amount of time one or more employees have been employed without RBS certification
  • any prior warnings given to the establishment regarding Alcohol Server Certification requirements under the Responsible Beverage Service Training Act

This suspension must be served consecutively with any other alcohol service-related violations.

Ensure your licensed business is prepared for the RBS Training requirements coming into effect in July 2022. Userve’s RBS Certification Program is approved by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and provides alcohol servers with the required training to pass the state exam. Avoid administrative penalties for your business and know that alcohol servers in your establishment have the knowledge they need to serve alcohol responsibly through our flexible and engaging RBS Training Course!

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