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County offers liquor law lessons

Jim Giacone, owner of My Place and Co. in Delmar, said it's important to keep up with liquor laws, stay informed and take advantage of the information available.

"Some things change, and you don't realize it," Giacone said. "It's nice to know what the laws are."

Giacone said he has attended several events sponsored by the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, including this one.

He added there is a lot of liability and exposure for restaurants, and it is vital to be informed.

Topics discussed at the event included licensing privileges, displays and signs related to licenses, employment, acceptable forms of proof of age, "classic signs of visible intoxication," responsibilities related to fights, gambling and drug activity, hours of sale and penalties for non-compliance with the laws.

Speakers at the event included Scott Wexler, executive director of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Owners Association, and Daniel Boyle, commissioner of the State Liquor Authority.

"As a former police officer and chief of police, I have witnessed firsthand the tragic consequences that far too often result from the irresponsible use of alcohol. These unfortunate outcomes are preventable, and prevention starts with proper education and training," said Boyle.

Wexler discussed how to properly handle altercations at their establishments.

"It's critically important that you document those instances," Wexler said.

"How you respond makes a difference. I don't think we can emphasize this enough."

Some questions were raised about why there are not stricter laws penalizing the underage drinkers who use fake identification, while harsh penalties are placed on the establishments.

Wexler pointed to the unfortunate reality that "parents are sending children mixed messages," related to alcohol and have created a societal expectation that anyone who serves their son or daughter alcohol deserves the harshest penalties.

Orth said last year, 120 people attended an event sponsored by Soares' office and the SLA at the University at Albany, and they are planning to make the seminars ongoing.

New this year was the opportunity for one-on-one meetings between SLA examiners and bar owners, and the invitation to the event was extended to establishments from all over the Capital District, rather than just the county.

The SLA also sponsored an event in Buffalo on Wednesday, Jan. 14, and there are two other events scheduled, one for March 19 in Brooklyn, and the other for April 17 in Manhattan. ""

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