Business caught selling alcohol to minor speaks out

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News 12 at 6, November 5, 2008

AUGUSTA -- A business that was recently busted in an undercover sting on underage alcohol sales says it is taking big steps to keep it from happening again. If not, it might be out of business.

Somewhere in Augusta was one of five businesses busted selling alcohol to a minor in a recent sting. And this was the second time in a year they had been caught. Restaurant managers say they're taking it seriously because they can't afford to become a third time violator.

When it comes to keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors, the alcohol and tobacco division of the Georgia Department of Revenue is doing everything it can.

That's exactly why they go on undercover stings to make sure businesses are obeying the law.

On a recent undercover sting, five out of eight business tested sold alcohol to a minor for the second time in a year, including somewhere in Augusta.

We caught the audio of the purchase on a hidden microphone.

Department of Revenue agents coming in to ticket both the bartender and the business. The bartender will likely face a fine or probation.

Because this is the second offense for the restaurant, it may have its liquor license suspended. Restaurant managers didn't talk to 12 On Your Side that day, but did invite us back.

"The employee that was cited is no longer working at Somewhere in Augusta." said Marketing manager Matt Kolinoski says this may be a second offense, but the restaurant is very strict on preventing underage alcohol sales.

"We're really tough on id's. It sounds odd we got cited, but we write citations. We arrest people." Matt said.

He also said he usually he has off duty police officers checking id's at night and on the weekends, but the sting happened in the afternoon on a weekday and no one was on duty.

Matt says the staff is heavily trained, but slip-ups can happen.

"Unfortunately, people are people. They make mistakes. It was a mistake."

To keep a mistake like that from happening again, training is being beefed up because they want to send a message.

"It is not our business to provide alcohol to underage. That's not what we do."

Because if they get caught again, Somewhere in Augusta could become nowhere to be found.

"If we have another citation, it's possible lose our liquor license and we go out of business."

We're told everyone is getting their i.d. checked at Somewhere in Augusta now from age 5 to 105.

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