Alcohol server training is a form of occupational education typically provided to servers, sellers and consumers of alcohol to prevent intoxication, drunk driving and underage drinking. This training is sometimes regulated and mandated by state and local laws, predominantly in North America, and increasingly in other English-speaking countries such as Australia. In some places, such as Australia, gaining such qualifications is required by law, before one can work to sell alcohol.
The training can be used to mitigate liability during a lawsuit involving intoxication by providing evidence of intent on the part of the establishment that serves and sells alcoholic beverages – a "reasonable efforts defense." This training is intended to lower liquor liability insurance premiums, offer compliance with local laws and regulations, reduce penalties for alcohol violations, and is thought to prevent alcohol-related crimes such as property damage and assault.
This training can be delivered in the classroom by certified trainers or via a web-based eLearning program. Most providers or states are able to offer either option. The training can be anywhere from 2 to 6 hours depending on the course content and provider. The majority of programs will have a certification attached to it where the participant is required to complete an assessment at the end of the training. In addition, many providers will offer unique programs for the variety of venues where alcohol is served, sold, or consumed. For example, an Off Premises location (grocery stores, liquor stores, convenience stores) may require unique training compared to an On Premises location (restaurants, bars, hotels, night clubs). The same is true for stadiums, arenas, amphitheatres, and casinos.
Establishments that train their employees benefit by reducing risk and creating a safer, more responsible work environment.
Effective training will enhance the fundamental people skills of servers, sellers, and consumers of alcohol. The training should help individuals understand the difference between people enjoying themselves and those who are getting into trouble with alcohol. Employees and managers who participate in this training are able to spot underage drinkers and prevent sales to minors, recognize signs of intoxication, effectively intervene to prevent problem situations, and handle refusal situations with greater confidence.