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Alcohol Server Training — Requirements and Details

Montana Alcohol Server Training — Requirements and Details

Approved by the Montana Department of Revenue (DOR)


A fun night out at your favorite bar or restaurant can quickly turn into a dangerous situation when alcohol is involved. While most people are aware of the biggest danger of an alcohol-fueled night out — namely, drunk driving — many other things can occur that put both the patron and the establishment at great risk. If employees are not properly trained, they face the possibility of over-serving a customer, serving to a minor, or even being held responsible for deadly consequences that occur after customers have left the establishment altogether.

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What Are the Dangers?

When a customer consumes alcohol at a place of business, that establishment is held entirely responsible for their safety and well-being — both while the customer is on the premises and after they walk out the door. Bartenders and waiters must be vigilant about knowing how much to serve someone, when to cut them off, and how to make sure that the customer is of the proper drinking age. Some of the possible hazards include:

  • Over-serving a customer
  • Serving to an already-intoxicated customer
  • Serving to a minor

Over consumption could lead to alcohol poisoning and even death, for which the server AND the bar or restaurant would be held liable should either occur. Even an alcohol-related car accident can be traced back to the business, and everyone involved can be prosecuted, and the establishment could lose its liquor license.

The only way to be sure that a server isn't providing alcohol to a minor or serving a customer who is already intoxicated is to be well educated in Montana state alcohol laws, and to be highly trained to recognize all of the warning signs to prevent an emergency from occurring.

The Responsible Sales and Service Act

The state of Montana takes the issue of alcohol safety quite seriously... so seriously, in fact, that in 2012 it put in place a mandatory program for training and education of all those who work in the alcohol service industry. This is known as The Responsible Sales and Service Act, and it requires that:

  • Anyone who sells or serves alcoholic beverages must complete a state-approved training course
  • This training must be completed within 60 days of hire
  • Certification must be renewed every 3 years

To meet Montana server training requirements, all those who work in a licensed establishment —including employees, management, owners, security staff, etc. — can take this alcohol training course online at work or at home, giving them (and their employer) maximum flexibility on how and when to work through the lessons.

What Servers Learn

The Montana server education requirements are quite clear and straightforward. All employees of a licensed establishment must take a state-approved alcohol training course that meets the state-mandated 4 hour length requirement. This course will cover all relevant topics associated with alcohol sales and service, including:

  • Montana state alcohol regulations
  • The effects of alcohol on the mind and body
  • How to properly check identification
  • Tips on preventing liability hazards
  • How to spot underage customers
  • How to properly perform safe interventions
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Proper Training Saves Lives

By completing this alcohol training, the Montana Department of Revenue claims that servers will be able to promote responsible consumption, reduce drunk driving statistics, and decrease the occurrences of alcohol abuse. Preventing customers from getting too intoxicated could not only save their lives, but also save the life of someone else whom they might involve in a DUI crash. Additionally, the business itself will be shielded from any liability in the event that one of the aforementioned mistakes does occur on the premises. Since they required their employees to undergo the mandatory server education, the responsibility for danger lies solely with the staff member, and not with the business. Regardless of liability issues, it's imperative to be properly trained so that everyone — both customers and servers alike — has a safe and happy time while drinking.