June 8, 2022 Vol. 22

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The National Liquor Law Enforcement Association (NLLEA) is a non-profit association

of law enforcement personnel dedicated to the enforcement of liquor laws and regulations.

Click Here to Renew 2022-23 NLLEA Membership

To renew your NLLEA Agency Membership for 2022-23 go to www.nllea.org and log in with your email and password.   Click on my agency, (right below your name) that will take you to your agency page, then click on renew membership, it is a purple button in left corner, then enter your credit card information and hit submit. If you have any problems at all just call Carrie Christofes, Executive Director at 724-762-5939 and she will take your payment over the phone. 

Click Here to Register for the 2022 NLLEA Conference

Conference Registration and Hotel Booking are Now Available

Registration is $500.00 for members and $650.00 for non-members

Hotel Accomodations for NLLEA Guests is $149.00/night

NLLEA Conference is a professional law enforcement event, open to NLLEA members, qualified non-members, public health professionals and exhibitors

DE-Several People Arrested Following Shooting in Dewey Beach

Several men have been arrested following a shooting late Saturday night in Dewey Beach.

The Dewey Beach Police Department says shortly before midnight there was a shooting in the area of 23 Saulsbury St. A Delaware Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Agents was in the area at the time of the shooting and says he saw the muzzle flash. When he arrived to the scene the agent along with Dewey Police officers arrested several men in the 20s, who were from Pennsylvania.

Police later learned that the men were involved in a large fight before the shooting with several other men, who ran from the scene.

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MA-As alcohol home delivery persists, public health officials worry about substance abuse

Home delivery of alcohol has skyrocketed in Massachusetts since the start of the pandemic, raising concerns about increases in substance abuse and minors' alcohol consumption.

State alcohol regulators say home deliveries of beer, wine and liquor are up 300% since February 2020.

"At the height of the pandemic, it went dramatically through the roof,” said Ralph Sacramone, executive director of the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. “And you don't see it retracting.”

Sacramone told GBH News the dramatic increase in home deliveries has him worried about the potential for abuse, especially among young people.

"We're always concerned about public safety,” he said. “We want to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors. That is our number one goal."

To that end, the state trying to control home delivery sales, especially to minors, warning package stores about using outside companies that may be more concerned with making timely deliveries than checking IDs. Earlier this week, Sacramone met with owners and employees of liquor stores, bars, restaurants and clubs in Springfield, telling them "your license is on the line."

Substance abuse experts say that with more people using alcohol at home, reports of problem drinking are on the rise.

Dr. Rachel Cox, an assistant professor at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professionals, said she's seeing a link between home delivery and substance abuse.

“There is a higher risk of danger for people who are drinking at home,” she said, noting home delivery makes alcohol more accessible. “I've definitely seen more patients self-reporting behaviors in terms of increased alcohol use." And Cox said in the future those reports are likely to lead to increased demand for substance abuse treatment.

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SCIENTISTS INVENT AN EDIBLE SOLUTION TO FAKE ALCOHOL

Every dive-bar denizen knows: If you order a whiskey and don’t specify your brand, the bartender will give you the “well” — the house’s choice. Fundamentally, this is a moment of trust: You trust the bartender to pour you a drink using a whiskey you will likely never know the name of or much else about it. But even if you go for a top-shelf liquor, you might not be drinking the whiskey you ordered.

Like handbags and watches, counterfeit whiskey is more common than drink connoisseurs might like to acknowledge. Problem is, how do you know when whiskey is the real deal or not living up to its label? A new, edible invention may be able to help.

In a study published in May in the journal ACS Central Science, a team of researchers based in the United States and South Korea developed a smart, silk-based tag that drinkers can use to scan and authenticate their whiskey with their smartphones. The tag could also be used to essentially barcode other alcohol-containing liquid products, like medicine, other liquors and spirits, and more.

“Alcohol spirits are vulnerable to counterfeiting. There are a lot of fake whiskeys being sold,” says Jungwoo Leem, a postdoctoral research associate at Purdue University and co-author on the new study.

Leem and his colleagues uses silk spun from silkworms genetically engineered to fluoresce under the right conditions. The silk was made into little white tags printed with a QR code that can be read by a smartphone but that isn’t visible to you or me. They then tested the silk tags’ ability to withstand being in 80 percent alcohol volume whiskey (40 proof) and whether it could be digested if swallowed by a drinker — also, importantly if you enjoy whiskey, they tested whether it had an effect on the taste of the whiskey.

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CA-LAST CALL AT 4 A.M. IN FRESNO BARS? FAMILIAR BILL RETURNS YEARS AFTER VETO

Fresno bars could get the green light to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. under a familiar proposal from state Senator Scott Wiener (D- San Francisco).

Senate Bill 930 would allow seven pilot cities to move back to 4 a.m. last call for alcohol at bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Fresno is one of the pilot cities, along with San Francisco, Oakland, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Coachella and Cathedral City.

In a Twitter thread about SB 930, Wiener said each city has requested to be included. A similar bill was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2019. In a veto message, Brown said it would lead to “mischief” and “mayhem.”

“No, it won’t lead to mischief & mayhem. But it will lead to better, more diverse & more interesting nightlife in cities that decide to participate,” Wiener wrote in a Tweet Friday. “It will also help the nightlife sector, which has been battered by the pandemic.”

Wiener said each city would have autonomy over how to roll out SB 930 with guidance from California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

“The named cities that choose to participate will have control over where & when to implement,” Wiener wrote. “They can decide which areas, what nights of the week, only special events, etc. Any hours extension will go through the usual ABC process.

It isn’t the first time Fresno has flirted with extending operating hours for nightclubs and bars. Around 2013 Fresno allowed nightclubs in the downtown entertainment district along Fulton Street to remain open until 4 a.m. Alcohol sales were still required to end at 2 a.m.

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NC County Sheriff Busts Illegal Gambling Arcade, Seizes $280K

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office has carried out a raid against a suspected illegal gambling venue which resulted in the seizure of close to $280,000 in money generated through the unlawful activities. An investigation into the Duck Arcade Sweepstakes on Mooresville Road in Salisbury that commenced back in March 2021 has yielded results with the 41-year-old owner, Jindeng Dong, arrested on May 31, 2022.

Arcade Business Turns out a Gambling Den

Dong had attempted to conceal his illegal gambling habits by masking the Duck Arcade Sweepstakes as a traditional arcade venue, a bit of an anachronism in an age dominated by cheap and affordable gaming technology. The sheriff’s office trod carefully and sent in an undercover agent who played and accessed games for several months, making sure that there was evidence of a systematic breach of state laws.

In the course of the investigation, police officers established that the games run at the bogus arcade were indeed games of chance that offered real money payouts to winners. This was in breach of state laws as only games of skill may be operated in such venues. Rowan County Sheriff’s Office reached out to the Salisbury Police Department to secure a search warrant and raid the venue.

The arcade had 95 gaming stations and many of them were found to be breaching the law and indeed offering a form of gambling that has not been authorized under the venue’s license. Police were able to seize surveillance cameras, accounting systems, money counters, firearms, ammunition, various receipts and documents, and $126,149 in cash.

A further operation at Dong’s home found more documents and $155,628 in cash, along with a money counting machine. Dong is now charged with several misdemeanors, including gambling, slot machine operations, and a felony – because he operated more than five machines.

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If Alcohol Servers Look Younger Soon, You Won't Be Wrong -- Michigan Lawmakers Drop Age For That Job

Michigan will be the second state to let 17-year-olds serve alcohol at restaurants, bars and tasting rooms under a law going to the governor.

Representatives voted 78-29 Wednesday afternoon to lower the age by a year for serving or selling alcohol for on-site consumption, according to Crain's Detroit Business. Senators approved the bill earlier. 

The legal age for drinking stays at 21. Maine is the only other state letting employees under 18 serve alcoholic beverages. (In Alaska, Nevada and Utah, drink servers must be at least 21.)

The Lansing action is a break for employers scrambling for servers and bartenders in a tight labor market. The Michigan Retailers Association wanted store cashiers to be included for the same reason, but the Liquor Control Commission opposed that and the legislative language was adjusted to exlude takeout shops.

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The buzzy new drinking trend: Alcohol-free booze

Non-alcoholic alternatives to booze have been around for a while. But recently, the sector has been booming.

For a long time "you had 'near beer,' which was kind of a joke," said Duane Stanford, editor of Beverage Digest. "People would be discreet about drinking them. And now that's completely changed."

The non-alcoholic trend started to pick up a year or two before the pandemic, with no-alcohol bars catering to the so-called "sober curious" popping up in some cities, and has continued to grow at a rapid clip.

In recent years, major alcohol companies including Heineken, AB InBev and Molson Coors have started offering more zero alcohol options. Smaller brands, such as Athletic Brewing, which makes non-alcoholic craft beer, and Seedlip, which makes booze-free liquor alternatives, have also arrived on the scene.

Seedlip "started to gain momentum a few years ago and continues to today," said Lizzy Freier, director of menu research and insights at food service consulting firm Technomic.

Mentions of Seedlip on drink menus has grown 100% year-over-year, Freier said, adding that "we're now starting to see some new alcohol-free spirits show up on the market, especially in independent restaurants."

Non-alcoholic booze alternatives are still a tiny market compared to regular alcoholic beverages. But while alcohol sales slip, sales of their alcohol-free counterparts are soaring.

In the year ending May 14, US retail sales of non-alcoholic spirits grew 116% to $4.5 million, according to NielsenIQ. Alcoholic spirit sales slipped about 1% to just under $21 billion.

In that same period, non-alcoholic beer jumped 21% to $316 million and non-alcoholic wine rose 20% to $50 million. Traditional beer sales fell 4% to about $46 billion, and sales of alcoholic wine declined 6% to nearly $20 billion.

Stanford sees it this way: As interest in non-alcoholic alternatives rises, there's a greater imperative for brands to deliver better products as more of them launch.

"There is a real market force now to go and create those solutions and to really work at it," he said. "There's money to be made. So people are figuring it out."

But, Stanford added, "I do wonder what the natural ceiling is for these products, because you don't have the functionality of alcohol." In other words, how many people really want booze without the buzz?

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CT-Liquor Permit Suspended at Meriden Bar After Large Fights Break Out

The Department of Consumer Protection signed a summary suspension of a Meriden bar's liquor permit after a large fight and shooting broke out on Monday.

Officials said the suspension is for Tequila Galore, a bar located at 575 North Colony Street.

The DCP Liquor Control Division made the referral Tuesday regarding events that happened in the early morning hours of May 30.

The suspension comes after a large fight and shooting broke out, in which at least one person was shot and a suspected seven rounds were fired, according to the DCP.

This comes after two other incidents at or near the bar in the past month. This includes a shooting in front of Tequila Galore on May 14 and what's being described as a large disturbance that resulted in injuries. 12 officers were needed to disperse the crowd during this incident, which happened on May 12, officials said.

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4th Circuit Upholds North Carolina Retail Delivery Law

Today the 4th Circuit issued its opinion rejecting the challenge by wine afficandos and a Florida retailer to a law that prohibits out of state retailers from selling to North Carolina consumers. This opinion is consistent with opinions in the the 6th (MI) and 8th (MO) Circuits upholding similar state laws from dormant Commerce Clause challenge.

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Tiffany Clason: What ‘services’ means for the new Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services

What’s in a name?

A lot when it comes to defining our evolving mission. You may have noted that the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control just changed its name to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services, striking the word “control” and replacing it with “services.” The change is the result of recent legislation signed by the governor this year.

As executive director of the new Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services (DABS), I can assure you, this is an appropriate change that more accurately reflects the work we do. It’s true that Utah is among 18 control states in the country, meaning the state oversees the sale and distribution of alcohol. But we do a lot more, too.

The DABS is made up of hardworking public servants. Our work generates millions of dollars for state and local communities annually, keeping taxes low for all Utahns and paying for things like roads and transportation, education, public health and public safety. Last year alone, the DABS generated more than $200 million in revenue that is spent in communities throughout the state - benefitting all Utahns – whether they drink alcohol or not.

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Center Announces Upcoming Traffic Safety Webinar with Industry Leaders

On June 15th, 2022, at 2:00 PM Eastern, the Center for Alcohol Policy will host a Webinar on traffic safety and alcohol use featuring several national leaders to talk about a disturbing trend on our nation’s highways and in our communities.   

During the COVID Pandemic, traffic deaths soared to new heights. While many predicted the crisis would lead to a reduction in highway deaths, the opposite occurred. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced early estimates for traffic deaths in 2021 and the findings are grim. According to NHTSA, traffic deaths reached a 16 year high in 2021, with an estimated 42,195 deaths amounting to a 10.5% overall increase in deaths. This follows a two-year trend of increasing highway deaths and injuries.   

While the news is not good, the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law contained several provisions that could help, including new technologies aimed at stopping distracted and impaired driving. In addition, the Department of Transportation launched the National Roadway Safety Strategy which adopts the international Safe Systems approach to highway safety. 

Impaired Driving continues to play a major role in traffic deaths. According to Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), in 2020 alcohol impaired driving deaths increased 14% to 11,654. Among the concerns for this increase includes challenges facing law enforcement, including alcohol deregulation.   

This Webinar will include the latest information on traffic deaths as well as share potential solution for to stop these tragedies 

Webinar Registration Page

If you have Alcohol Law Enforcement news to share please send it to Carrie Christofes, Executive Director carrie.christofes@nllea.org

2021-22 NLLEA Board Members:

Todd Merlina, President - PA - tmerlina@pa.gov

Thomas Kirby, Vice President - VA - thomas.kirby@virginiaabc.com

Israel Morrow, Secretary/Treasurer - NC - israel.morrow@ncdps.gov

Jim Diana, Sergeant at Arms - DE -james.diana@delaware.gov

John Yeomans, President - DE - john.yeomans@delaware.gov

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