Alabama ABC conducts investigations of Shoals-area restaurants that serve alcohol

Lane Bryan Volunteer Writer [email protected]

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is currently investigating restaurants in the Shoals area for serving alcoholic beverages to underage customers. The most recent Shoals area locations that have were caught serving alcoholic beverages to minors are Wildwood Tavern and On the Rocks, both which are located in downtown  Florence, Ala. Both locations were caught by the ABC Board in early January. 

The Shoals area is very popular for many underage alcohol consumers due to the University of North Alabama being located within it, which makes it a primary area for the ABC Board to focus on. The ABC Board controls the distribution of alcoholic beverages and the enforcement of laws concerning these beverages throughout the state. The ABC Board also controls the licenses that businesses use to sell alcohol within an establishment.

Getting caught providing an alcoholic beverage to a minor comes with many consequences. For servers, it can lead to numerous amounts of large fines, dismissal of employment and probation. In some cases, it can even lead to possible jail time. For a business or restaurant, many first violations can result in a citation or a warning. However, if violations continue to happen, the business can potentially have their liquor licenses revoked by the ABC Board. This has led many local restaurants and businesses to start using extra safety measures when it comes to serving alcoholic beverages to customers.

One local restaurant that is attentive to taking extra precaution, for both the business and its employees, is Champy’s Famous Fried Chicken, located in Muscle Shoals, Ala. Not only is the restaurant focused on not providing alcoholic beverages to underage customers, but it is also focusing on not providing these beverages to customers who have an expired or invalid form of identification. 

The reason that Champy’s has chosen to do this is because the restaurant and its employees can face the same consequences as serving under-aged person alcohol to a person with an invalid ID if caught serving to person with an invalid ID. All of the employees, including the shift leaders and servers, within the restaurant were required to sign a form that states that they are aware of the consequences that can come if they provide any alcoholic beverages to people who do not meet these requirements.

These safeguards have caused employees at the restaurant to take the responsibility  of serving alcohol seriously according to Champy’s server Taylor Woods. 

“I make sure that I’m always on time––I even try to get there early on some days, especially during festivals, to prepare for any possible situations that may happen when it comes to serving alcohol,” Woods said.  “I also make sure that I am carding anyone who orders alcohol in order to confirm that they are of age and that their ID has not expired.”

Shift leaders are held to an even higher standard than the servers are, due to their elevated rank of employment and the responsibility that they have over all of the other workers in the restaurant. Champy’s shift leader Britten Randolph is doing everything that she can during her work hours to ensure that none of the laws set by the ABC Board are broken. 

“I make sure to show up on time, dressed appropriately and have a positive attitude,” Randolph said. “I make sure to hold all of the girls on my shift accountable, and to follow all ABC rules and regulations by making sure that anyone who orders alcohol has a valid ID.”