Four of 16 SK retailers fail latest compliance check

In a compliance check done on July 27 by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, four out of 16 South Kitsap businesses were caught selling alcohol to a minor.

Although 75 percent compliance is a better result than last November’s compliance checks, when nearly half of the businesses checked sold alcohol illegally, it does not reach the compliance numbers of checks done in May and July. In those two checks, less than 25 percent of checked businesses sold to a minor.

In addition, in the most recent check, which assessed groceries, mini-marts and eating establishments from Port Orchard, Southworth and Manchester, one mini-mart failed its second check since this time last year.

Country Junction, located at the intersection of Mile Hill Drive and Long Lake Road, illegally sold alcohol to a Liquor Control Board operative in both the November checks and in this most recent check.

According to Control Board policy, this second violation could have meant an automatic seven-day liquor license suspension. However, because Country Junction only received a written warning in November, it was instead was given a first-violation penalty — a $500 fine or a five-day liquor license suspension.

“We try to use these compliance checks as an educational tool,” said Control Board Spokeswoman Tricia Currier.

The other three businesses which sold illegally — Manchester Food Center in Manchester, P.J.’s Market in Port Orchard and the Typhoon 76 on Bay Street in Port Orchard — all received written warnings.

The Typhoon 76 was checked for compliance last November as well, but passed the test.

The checks are done by volunteer operatives between the ages of 17 and 19. The young adults, who are selected because they look their age, are sent into businesses with their own identification cards — usually driver’s licenses. They are instructed to attempt to buy alcohol of some form and are required to state their true age or turn over their ID on request.

Currier said in most businesses that fail, the employee either does not ask for ID or does not calculate the operative’s age correctly.

In every case of an illegal sale, the employee which sold the alcohol is served with a criminal citation. Bartenders with too many citations can in some cases lose their personal license to serve alcohol as well.

At least four of the 12 businesses that passed the most recent round of checks have passed every check done in the last year. Time Saver Grocery in Port Orchard, Friendly Food Mart of Port Orchard, South Kitsap Grocery in Port Orchard and the End Zone in Port Orchard all passed at least one other check done since last fall.

Currier said that isn’t surprising since, in general, she usually sees more businesses pass than fail. In addition, she said most businesses only need one violation to encourage improved identification-checking skills.

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