Proof of Age Requirements

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Proud Texan's picture
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I wanted to get the group's take on this.

In the state of Texas,  it is illegal to sell or provide alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.   This creates a dilemma in that persons over the age of 18 are considered adults and can vote, get married and serve in the military.   Our minimum age requirement for a stay here is 18.

We offer a romance package that is advertised as coming with a "complimentary sparkling beverage" and is thus worded so as not to say we are selling you a bottle of champagne within the context of the package.  According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission,  if we said "complimentary champagne" then we would be required to offer anyone who ask for it, a complimentary bottle of champagne.   It's all semantics and ridiculous.

We also offer this "complimentary sparkling beverage" as part of our new elopement package.   It suddenly occurred to me that we could get into deep doo doo if we had a young couple over the age of 18, yet under the age of 21, come to get married or purchase our romance package with champagne.

What is a discreet and nice way to verify online someone's age for the serving of an alcoholic beverage without indicating that anything other than a "sparkling beverage" is available?

Obviously,  once they arrive and if they "look" underage,  I would ask to see a driver's license.  They might be getting sparkling cider. wink

 

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I wouldn't risk it.  There are plenty of sparkling non-alcoholic beverages out there, a few that are not super sweet like the sparkling ciders.  I would go that route. 

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seashanty's picture
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i would just go with sparkling cider.  it's a lovely drink, fizzes beautifully in champagne flutes and leaves liability OUT of your hands.

folks of drinking age can always btob. 

smiley  cheers  !

gillumhouse's picture
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We have a local company that does a great sparkling cider that I get in splits. Special times (found THE house, anniversary, birthday, etc) get 2 splits and 2 blown WV goblets - that way I never have a problem. Given that I do not know the diff between a "good" bottle or plonk (I read Rumpole), the sparkling cider is the best route and no worry about the age or the "wagon.".

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Why risk it?

Don't risk it.

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Madeleine's picture
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Can you ask online for the guest to contact you ONLY when purchasing this pkg? (Say it is in order to verify the time the guest would like the pkg brought to the room or what ever.)That way you can find out the age and have the appropriate beverage on hand. You can explain the short version of the state law stating you cannot provide alcohol to anyone under 21.

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Madeleine wrote:

Can you ask online for the guest to contact you ONLY when purchasing this pkg? (Say it is in order to verify the time the guest would like the pkg brought to the room or what ever.)That way you can find out the age and have the appropriate beverage on hand. You can explain the short version of the state law stating you cannot provide alcohol to anyone under 21.

And those under 21 who want the package will always tell the truth!!!cheeky

Madeleine's picture
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copperhead wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

Can you ask online for the guest to contact you ONLY when purchasing this pkg? (Say it is in order to verify the time the guest would like the pkg brought to the room or what ever.)That way you can find out the age and have the appropriate beverage on hand. You can explain the short version of the state law stating you cannot provide alcohol to anyone under 21.

And those under 21 who want the package will always tell the truth!!!cheeky

Under 21 just isn't an issue here unless it's prom time. Our guests are comfortably over ANY drinking age! I guess because anyone can lie online he's just gonna have to card at the door. And to avoid discrimination charges he's gonna have to card everyone. (I used to be annoyed at being carded when I was in my 40's, now I just laugh at the absurdity of asking me for proof I'm old enough to drink.)

I have no idea why guests under 21 would even want to stay here. It's just SO not a cool place! It would be like staying with their parents!

Generic's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

I have no idea why guests under 21 would even want to stay here. It's just SO not a cool place! It would be like staying with their parents!

Drinking age is 18 here and frankly, I've NEVER seen someone carded, ever.

I even get parents that call sometimes to try to reserve for their children. But having been in education and knowing the law, I know that I end up being legally responsible if they are all under 18, so we NEVER take the reservations.

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Madeleine's picture
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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

I have no idea why guests under 21 would even want to stay here. It's just SO not a cool place! It would be like staying with their parents!

Drinking age is 18 here and frankly, I've NEVER seen someone carded, ever.

I even get parents that call sometimes to try to reserve for their children. But having been in education and knowing the law, I know that I end up being legally responsible if they are all under 18, so we NEVER take the reservations.

Believe me, as the parent of teenagers in northern VT, I knew EXACTLY what the drinking age was an hour away. As did every kid in the northern part of the state.

My take on the situation with the alcohol and the underage drinkers at a B&B is that we just do not get guests even in their late 20's, much less under our drinking age. ONE weekend everyone in the dining room was a college student. I have no idea why or how that happened but it was never repeated! I guess I'm wondering how much of a problem it is going to be.

Hillbilly's picture
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I will throw this out to cause problems!
What happens if one is 21 and they other is not of age? Could also effect who made the reservation if that happens. If the one who made the reservation and is the card holder is under 21, you could have problems there as well. Lots to think and check on when offering adult beverages!

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Proud Texan's picture
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In Texas,  if one spouse is 21 or older,  they are acting as the "guardian" of the other younger spouse and it's permissible.  However, if they're an unmarried couple,  it's a problem.

My problem is that many times the Romance Package is a surprise for a wife/girlfriend etc. and communication with the party purchasing the item is sometimes difficult without spoiling the surprise for the other person.

It's also hard to ask when they arrive if the package is supposed to be waiting in their room on arrival.   We've tried to encourage them to delay setup of the package and have it waiting for them when they return from dinner so it will have more of a wow factor.  When that occurs,  I can generally weed out the youngsters.

The online part becomes sticky because I can't even mention alcohol without opening a can of worms with the state.

Hillbilly's picture
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Proud Texan wrote:

In Texas,  if one spouse is 21 or older,  they are acting as the "guardian" of the other younger spouse and it's permissible.  However, if they're an unmarried couple,  it's a problem.

My problem is that many times the Romance Package is a surprise for a wife/girlfriend etc. and communication with the party purchasing the item is sometimes difficult without spoiling the surprise for the other person.

It's also hard to ask when they arrive if the package is supposed to be waiting in their room on arrival.   We've tried to encourage them to delay setup of the package and have it waiting for them when they return from dinner so it will have more of a wow factor.  When that occurs,  I can generally weed out the youngsters.

The online part becomes sticky because I can't even mention alcohol without opening a can of worms with the state.

We do a pkg like that as well. We only serve non alcoholic sparkling juice. We have never had a problem with people being upset it is not alcohol. That would be my suggestion. Then you will be able to sleep at night. This way you do not have to ask for ID.and spoil anything. Have the alcohol an up sale item and put in the discription "Available upon ID check"

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06/24/2008

I would just have both chilled and ask which they would prefer when they check in, obviously if they appear to be of questionable age, you then can ask for ID.  Are you performing the ceremony or do you have clergy/JP coming to handle this?  The DOB should be on the paperwork provided in the license so you could get the info from that rather than even asking.  If you have someone else doing the service, you could just have them let you know discreetly if they are under 21. 

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Majority of our wedding night guestss are close to or under 21 here. They also arrive late after the reception, etc and have a self check in. So we never see them at check in. And sometimes they skip breakfast, so we don't see them until they leave. If someone paid for the room for them (which happens) we never see them! 

You are the one to pay the fine, so do whatever you think makes sense at your place.

The one and only time I gave a couple champagne for a monumental anniversary they laid into me and emailed me to tell me the different in sparkling cider and sparkling champagne, I won't ever go that route again. They can BYO.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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05/26/2009

Our packages come with "champagne or sparkling cider". On arrival, if they look really young I'll ask them if they're 21 or over. I don't think it's necessary to have them verify their age online. It's such a rare occurrance.

Generic's picture
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I would be upfront about it because you may have those who would actually prefer the cider (Friends of Bill W., Mormons, and teetotalers.) You can even offer a price difference (if there is one) and that proof of age is required for the alcoholic option.

I would be careful with the word champagne. In most of the western world, the term Champagne is protected (Treaty of Madrid, reaffirmed in the treaty of Versailles, US is not a signatory) and can only refer to wines from the Champagne region.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Since you say "sparkling beverage" on your web site, if you card them on arrival you then give them the "sparkling" cider and have provided exactly what you say you will provide. If you do not say you are providing champagne just Sparkling you are covered - at least in my itty-bitty brain.

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