LEAD Training

ABC offers training to licensees and their employees through its Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD) program. Here you will find information about the LEAD program, training options, and how to register for LEAD training.

LEAD Training is Currently Available!

ABC offers two options for the free LEAD training, Online LEAD Course or In-person LEAD Training.
Note that LEAD does not meet the RBS requirements under AB 1221 which can be found on RBS Training page.

What is the LEAD Program?

The LEAD program started on January 1, 1991, and continues today as a free, voluntary prevention and education program for retail licensees, their employees and applicants. The program provides attendees with practical information on selling alcoholic beverages safely, responsibly, and legally, with emphasis on preventing sales to minors, sales to obviously intoxicated persons, and illicit drug activity at the licensed establishment.

The program length is approximately 3 hours and covers the following topics:

  • ABC and the local law enforcement responsibilities
  • Licensee and employee liability
  • Preventing liability: written policies 
  • The law and minors
  • How to check identification
  • “Legal” vs. “obvious”
  • Intoxication: Laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages to obviously intoxicated persons
  • Intervening with minors and obviously intoxicated patrons

Who Should Attend LEAD Training?

Alcohol-related problems can affect retail licensees, their employees and applicants. We suggest the following people attend the training:

  • Licensee(s)
  • Managers and/or Assistant Managers
  • All employees who sell or deliver alcoholic beverages

Mission of the LEAD Program

The mission of the LEAD program is to provide free, effective and educational training on alcohol responsibility and the law, to California retail licensees and their employees.

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control expects licensees to act responsibly with their alcoholic beverage license privileges. The LEAD program provides the licensee and their employees with practical information on selling alcoholic beverages safely, responsibly, and legally, and preventing illicit drug activity on or around their licensed establishment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I obtain a LEAD certificate?

In order to obtain a LEAD Certificate, you must either complete the online LEAD course or attend an in-person LEAD class and pass the exam. The certificate for the online course is made available immediately following the completion of the course. The certificate for an in-person class is provided via email approximately 1 to 3 business days following the class.

What are the completion requirements for the online LEAD course?

This course is divided into 10 modules, with an assessment at the end of certain ones. The assessments become available after the student has viewed the entire content portion of the module. Successful completion of all assessments is required to obtain a LEAD Certificate.

What should I bring to the in-person LEAD training class?

Each participant should bring paper, a pen, and a copy of their email confirmation showing they are registered to take the class. It is also recommended that each participant bring a copy of their (or their employers) ABC license. The license is used for educational purposes during the training. You can still attend even if you don’t have a copy of an ABC license.

What is the difference between RBS and LEAD?

Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) training educates people seeking employment or those who are currently employed as servers of alcoholic beverages at on-premises licensed locations. It provides servers with the necessary knowledge and skills to responsibly serve alcoholic beverages to avoid causing alcohol related harm to their communities.

Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD) is ABC’s free voluntary prevention and education program for off-sale licensees and their employees. LEAD provides practical information on selling alcoholic beverages safely, responsibly and legally, and preventing illicit drug activity on or around their licensed establishment.

Although some local governments currently require servers working in their jurisdictions to attend a LEAD course, the ABC LEAD program will not fulfill the requirements mandated by AB 1221 and will not qualify as an ABC approved RBS Training when the new training mandate goes into effect in 2022.