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Majority of local businesses fail alcohol sale to minors test, DCP alleges

According to a statement released by the Department of Consumer Protection, it is alleged that the following Durham and Middlefield Businesses failed the compliance checks by selling alcohol to youth volunteers:

Middlefield Pizza and Restaurant, 480 Main Street, Middlefield

Indian Spring Golf Club, 132 Mack Road, Middlefield

Lakeside Mini Market, 275 Baileyville Rd., Middlefield

C & M Package Store, 484 Main Street, Middlefield

Lakeside Liquors, 222 Baileyville Road, Middlefield

Blackbird Tavern, 6 Way Road, Middlefield

Durham Wine and Spirits, 6 Main Street, Durham

Time Out Taverne Restaurant, 100 New Haven Rd., Durham

Quick Stop Country Market, 1041 New Haven Road, Durham

Nine out of 14 businesses allegedly failed alcohol sale compliance checks, according to a report from the Department of Consumer Protection. Underage volunteers trained by The Governor’s Prevention Partnership attempted to buy alcohol from 14 businesses in Middlefield and Durham as part of the compliance check.

“To be honest, we were a bit disappointed,” Durham Resident State Trooper Pete DiGioia said. According to DiGioia, this is the first compliance check since 2008. “We’re definitely going to come back and do it again,” DiGioia said.

DCP Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said in a statement that compliance checks are not intended to hurt local businesses.

“We don’t try to trick or entice establishments to sell alcoholic beverages to youth,” Rubenstein said. “If asked their age before making a liquor purchase, the youth volunteers hand over their actual I.D. and tell their true age. Our goal is to find businesses that sell to minors and bring them into compliance with the state’s liquor laws.”

DiGioia said the police are going to work with the businesses to improve compliance. “It seems that some may have looked at the license, and it clearly states on it when the kids turn 21 … I don’t know how they missed it,” said DiGioia, who added that there will be a facilitated training by The Durham Middlefield Local Wellness Coalition to teach employees, of local establishments that sell alcohol, how to properly check I.D.s.

“Alcohol continues to be the No. 1 substance of abuse among youth in Durham and Middlefield and I am happy that five businesses in our community did refuse alcohol sales to minors; but we still have work to do,” said Stephanie Moran, prevention coordinator for the Durham Middlefield Local Wellness Coalition, in a statement.

DiGioia praised the DMLWC for their efforts in preventing underage drinking and drinking and driving, which included obtaining a grant that helped fund police efforts to curb underage drinking.

The Drug-free Communities Grant, from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, provided funds to the police department for the compliance checks. Funds from the grant “are used for enforcement, education, and other services to help reduce the use of drugs and alcohol within our community. The funding used for enforcement initiatives is used at the discretion of local police based on identified gaps in services,” Moran wrote in an email to Town Times.

Moran praised the five businesses that passed the compliance check: In Durham, Cozy Corner Restaurant, Krauzer’s, Little Rooster Liquors. In Middlefield: Red Dog Saloon, Rover’s Lodge.

“Permitted establishments are expected to obey all provisions of the Liquor Control Act and that includes not selling or serving alcohol to anyone under the age of 21,” Rubenstein said in a statement. “As summer presents more opportunities for youth to engage in risky behaviors such as drinking and driving, so must permittees be even more diligent in consistently checking IDs when selling or serving alcohol.”

The establishments that allegedly failed the compliance test will appear before the Liquor Control Commission for an administrative hearing to address the charges.

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