Bars urged to train staff to spot alcohol misuse

27th October, 2014 by Melita Kiely

Bar managers are being urged to ensure staff complete a new hard-hitting training course in order to be better equipped to spot alcohol misuse.

UK spirits consumptionThe recommendation comes as Alcohol Action Ireland revealed more than 1,000 people in the country had died from alcohol-related causes in the last 12 months.

The Responsible Serving of Alcohol Programme on-line training course, designed by private industry training consultant Alcohol.ie, features a graphic video, was filmed in The Odeon Bar in Dublin and shows “good” and “bad” bartenders dealing with drunken, unruly and underage customers.

Its aim is to train bar staff on appropriate intervention techniques and how to spot problem drinking and drunk customers.

According to Mary Kennedy, chief executive of Alcohol.ie the video, endorsed by the State tourist board, Failte Ireland, the Licensed Vintners Association, the Vintner’s Federation of Ireland and the Irish Hotels Federation, did “raise industry eyebrows”.

“They were a bit wide-eyed,” Kennedy told the Independent Ireland. “A lot of them did go ‘wow’.”

One scene depicts a drunken customer storming out of a bar and kicking over a bar stool before swearing at the female bartender, while another shows a “creepy bartender” leering at a group of women running riot rather than intervening.

The final scene, however, shows a “menacing” bartender antagonise a group of underage drinkers who have no proof of age with taunts such as “run home to mummy and daddy” before the teens retaliate aggressively.

Bar staff are not required to hold licenses to serve alcohol, but can face civil and criminal prosecution for breaking the law by serving drinks to those who are underage or someone who is already drunk.

In 2008, a consumer died from acute alcohol poisoning after a night of heavy drinking and two hotel bar workers in Tipperary were charged with manslaughter, but acquitted following a trial in 2011.

James Murphy, a lecturer in Bar and Beverage Management at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), said the video was a bit “over the top” but added the training programme and its message were a “move in the right direction”.

“Training is a bit hit and miss,” he explained. “Personally, I’d like to see individual licenses for bartenders.”

In July, The Spirits Business asked whether alcoholism is a problem among bartenders?

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