Business caught selling alcohol to minor speaks out

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

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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  • by Johnathan Location: Augusta on Nov 9, 2008 at 08:17 PM
    Bill, how about holding your son personally acountable for his actions? I have bartended for quite a while and many under age persons around age 19 or 20 use fake id's or legitimate id's of others who are close in apperance. We can get ticketed or loose our jobs, etc. even when we are trying to do the right thing. And when we do catch offenders and call the police the parents are the ones cussing us out and saying we over reacted. Then you have the state cops doing under cover stings in places that aren't trouble spots and do really enforce the rules and yet the bars and gas stations that are well known for selling to minors every day never get checked. It's all a joke and when the state boys team up wiht the news media and save the story for sweeps week everyone with 1/2 a brain knows what is really going on. If they really wanted to prevent under age drinking they would go where all of the HS kids go every weekend to buy their beer or party but they could really care less.
  • by Matt Location: Augusta on Nov 9, 2008 at 08:10 PM
    As the manager of Somewhere In Augusta, this article is not completly acurate. First, this was a first offense at Somewhere In Augusta in its new location under a new permit. In the old location, in businees for 8 years, there was one other incident during those 8 years although the bar caught over 200 attempts during those 8 years and had the under age persons arrested by the Sheriff's Office. In our new loaction, we have had over 20 attempts and again have every single time called the police and work closely with them and had charges brought against the individuals. The employee did make an error in judgement serving and under cover person who appeared well above age along with the reporter from channel 12 who accompinied him. Our policy is to fire for failure to ID and we did that same day. We take everys step possible to ensure that under age persons do not obtain alcohol from training to bonuses for catching fake id's, etc. and always work very closely with the RCSO.
  • by Bill Location: Augusta on Nov 6, 2008 at 08:28 PM
    Entrapment? Someone under age goes in...they buy alcohol..they are not carded...business screwed up plain and simple. So my 14 year old can buy alcohol there...I would be outraged. Yes, these other problems you list are important, but this agency's specific role is this type of enforcement. See your local police for those other problems.
  • by Robert Location: North Augusta on Nov 6, 2008 at 09:51 AM
    I like how African American clubs can have shootings, stabbings and gang violence and get to stay in business, but a very nice place to go have a cold beer and good food and watch the game gets in trouble for entrapment by the ATF or under cover agents. I think instead of worrying about someone buying a cold beer under age they need to worry about [inflammatory remarks removed] selling crack to people!!!!!!
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