Michigan Liquor Control Commission sending mystery shoppers to cut alcohol sales to minors

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 3:59 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Bars and restaurants in college towns will have to be extra careful when selling alcohol in the coming days.

Mystery shoppers will be making their way into East Lansing and Ann Arbor to make sure liquor licensees are not selling alcohol to minors, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission announced today.

Through the new Michigan Alcohol Responsibility program, alcohol retailers and bars will be visited by young, legal-age mystery shoppers who will monitor whether staff are correctly verifying age and the authenticity of I.D.’s.

Owners and managers will receive confidential follow-up reports and assistance in making sure I.D.’s are checked properly.

“As parents, educators, businesspeople and those in law enforcement, we all have a vested interest in preventing underage drinking,” said MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi. “We must continue to be vigilant and engaged in our collective efforts toward keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors by cracking down on the use of fake IDs and promoting the legal sale of alcohol by licensees in our university and college communities.”

Since the Controlled Buy Operation Program began in the 1990s, there has been a steady and significant rise in licensees’ compliance rate with Michigan’s liquor laws. In 2019, more than 2,100 businesses holding a liquor license in Michigan passed controlled buys as reported by the MLCC.

“The sale of alcohol to a minor is a serious violation against any liquor licensee,” said MLCC Commissioner Dennis Olshove. “It’s just good business for licensees to be viewed as responsible retailers who know and abide by our state liquor laws and are concerned with the health and safety of their customers, staff, and their community.”

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