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Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco performs statewide’ Alcopop’ Operation

By Staff | Apr 27, 2009

TALLAHASSEE — In conjunction with National Alcohol Awareness Month, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco conducted a statewide operation this past weekend aimed at keeping alcopops out the hands of underage people. The operation was conducted to ensure that licensed establishments are complying with state alcoholic beverage laws and to protect youth from the dangers associated with underage drinking. During the operation, ABT agents visited 440 establishments, arrested 88 individuals, and found an 80 percent compliance rate with underage drinking laws.
In the Fort Myers area, investigators hit 45 stores. They made four arrests, giving the area a 90.5 percent compliance rate.
“I am proud of our ABT agents for executing this successful ‘alcopop’ operation. We hope that this proactive enforcement will make parents and our youth aware of the various kinds of alcoholic beverages available today,” said Secretary Charles W. Drago in a prepared statement issued Monday.
The term “alcopop” is derived from the words alcohol and soda pop, and it contains liquor and a sweet or fruity concoction. The operation consisted of compliance checks, where underage investigative aides attempted to purchase “alcopops” at licensed establishments. Retailers who sold to underage individuals received notices to appear which could lead to a fine and possible jail time.
ABT executes a three-tiered approach to combating underage drinking which consists of education, prevention and enforcement. ABT educates alcoholic beverage retailers on upholding state law by facilitating vendor responsibility classes. During these classes, alcoholic beverage industry members are taught how to spot false identification and educated on safe practices for selling and serving alcoholic drinks. ABT also partners with industry and civic organizations to support their efforts to educate the public about “alcopops” and underage drinking.
During National Alcohol Awareness Month, ABT also launched the “Survival Guide for Prom and Graduation,” a prevention and education campaign aimed at preventing underage drinking and keeping Florida’s underage youth safe. The “Survival Guide” Web site includes a prom/graduation pledge not to drink underage, a way for teens to share how they say “no,” helpful tips for a safe night out, a “mocktail” recipe, and links to several social networking sites to share with their friends. The “Survival Guide” can be accessed at MyFloridaLicense.com
The mission of ABT is to keep alcohol and tobacco out of the hands of underage persons, to ensure that licensed establishments are in compliance with the laws and rules regulating the industry in Florida, and to collect taxes and fees related to these industries.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The Department licenses nearly one million businesses and professionals ranging from real estate agents, veterinarians, and accountants to contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit MyFloridaLicense.com

Source: Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco