AGE: Training the people on the front lines of alcohol enforcement

July 20, 2023

​​​​​​​Responsible Beverage Server Liaison Cleven Duncan sitting at his desk.When not traveling across Minnesota, Responsible Beverage Server Liaison Cleven Duncan reviews the curriculum of the Train the Trainer Program out of the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement division headquarters in St. Paul.

When it comes to serving alcohol at a bar or restaurant, refusing to bring someone a drink can cost you a large tip. But serving someone who is already intoxicated or underage can cost not just you, but your whole community.

That's why it is important for those in the hospitality industry to know the signs of intoxication and how to spot an invalid ID. The Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and our Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement (AGE) division worked together to develop a Train the Trainer Program to share their expertise with people across Minnesota. AGE Responsible Beverage Server Liaison Cleven​ Duncan travels the state to make sure Minnesotans know what the law is and how to best follow it when serving alcohol.

“The benefits of responsibly consuming alcohol go well beyond AGE," Duncan said. “With this partnership, we can reduce crime, reduce traffic crashes and save lives."

Duncan, who joined AGE in June, teaches classes for law enforcement agencies and the hospitality industry. He discusses not only how to prevent irresponsible drinking behaviors, but also how to teach others the same techniques. After the course is done, each participant can take the knowledge back to their organization and use it to help keep their communities safe.

“Our classes remain consistent for law enforcement, safety coalitions, the hospitality industry and health officials," Duncan said. “Responsible service is responsible service, no matter who will deliver the message."

We provide those we train with up-to-date information on laws, statistics and other things they need to know. Workers in the hospitality industry get to see the real-world impact that serving someone who is intoxicated or underage can have. Preliminary numbers show alcohol was a contributing factor to 33 traffic fatalities in 2023 as of June 30.

“When you put actual numbers like the more than 30 deaths so far this year in front of students, they understand how important their work can be," Duncan said. “After that, when we discuss cutting customers off or identifying invalid IDs, people are always engaged."

Criminal charges and civil lawsuits can be filed against establishments and servers for both over-service and underage service. While most people are aware that it's against the law to serve obviously intoxicated customers, Duncan teaches participants how to spot signs of intoxication like poor coordination, failure to control speech and changes in behavior. He also shows them how to spot invalid Minnesota IDs, going over the security features that make a real card stand apart from a fake.

Our goal is to encourage voluntary compliance with Minnesota's liquor regulations. Learn more about AGE on our website.