Six stores cited for allegedly selling liquor to minors

Commentary: The Department of Consumer Protection conducted liquor sales compliance checks this past weekend and has reported results of those checks.

Since it is prom time, and therefore a key time for youths to attempt to buy alcohol, this was an ideal weekend to conduct the investigations. Package stores found to be in violation won’t likely make the same mistake in the coming weeks. And teens who hear about the violations will be put on alert that they should not try to purchase alcohol.

During the afternoon of Saturday, May 11, agents from the department’s Liquor Control Division and officers from the Milford Police Department conducted a compliance check of all package stores and grocery stores licensed to sell beer in Milford.

Twenty-nine stores were tested for compliance with the help of two volunteer minors trained and provided by the Governor’s Prevention Partnership.

Of the stores tested, six allegedly failed by selling alcohol to one of the youth volunteers.

The six Milford package stores that allegedly failed are Whiskey Barrel, Fairway Liquor Mart, Liquor Connection, On the Rocks Spirit Shop, Vineyard Package, and Seaside Wine and Spirits.

“We thank police Chief Keith Mello and the officers of the Milford Police Department for their participation and support,” Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said in a prepared statement sent to local media. “Restricting sales of alcohol to minors is a responsibility that we expect retailers to faithfully observe throughout the year, in order to prevent needless tragedy.”

The six establishments were charged with selling liquor to a minor and will be scheduled for an administrative hearing before the Liquor Control Commission, where each will have the opportunity to address the charges.

The remaining package stores that properly checked identification and refused to sell to minors ought to be congratulated for their diligence.

The Milford Police Department, too, should be applauded for being proactive in trying to curb sales to minors.

In addition to helping with the compliance check, the department runs educational forums for businesses to keep them up to date on laws associated with underage drinking and the tricks teens use to try to buy alcohol.

In conjunction with the Milford Prevention Council, the Milford Police Department hosted a Liquor Retailer Forum on May 7 at Simon Lake School. The purpose of the forum was to educate retailers on current issues, trends and laws regarding alcohol-related matters in the community. Several representatives from package stores and restaurants attended the event.

Tony Lota from Dichello Distributors Alcohol Awareness Program provided an overview of the TIPS program — Training for Intervention Procedures Seminar, which is done at the stores of interested retailers. The program focuses on preventing intoxication.

Lt. Tom Mrozek presented a program on fake identification card recognition.

Supervising Agent Stanley Burk Jr. from the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Liquor Division provided an overview of liquor laws and compliance issues for retailers.

Attorney Jan Trendowski of Trendowski & Allen PC discussed alcohol-related liability issues for retailers.

The more information retailers have about underage drinking, the easier it will be for them to spot people who should not be buying alcohol. Kudos to the people who organized the program, and even more to those who attended.