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.

In-Person LEAD Training is Currently Unavailable

All in-person LEAD training classes have been canceled until further notice. The online LEAD course is still available.

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 serving 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 4 hours and covers the following topics:

  • ABC and the local law enforcement responsibilities
  • Licensee and server liability
  • Preventing liability: written policies 
  • The law and minors
  • How to check identification
  • “Legal” vs. “obvious”
  • Intoxication: The laws concerning drinking alcohol
  • Factors affecting intoxication
  • Managing patron consumption of alcohol
  • 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:

  • Owners and board members
  • Managers and/or assistant managers
  • All alcohol servers
  • I.D. checkers
  • Local law enforcement representative
  • Security supervisors /staff
  • Ticker takers/sellers
  • Parking lot supervisor
  • Overall operations supervisor
  • Concert promoter


ABC offers two options for the free LEAD training, online or in-person. In-person training is held at various locations throughout the state.

Mission of the LEAD Program

The mission of the LEAD program is to provide high quality, effective and educationally sound training on alcohol responsibility and the law to California retail licensees and their employees.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of LEAD training?

LEAD training provides alcoholic beverage servers with the tools and knowledge they need to promote reasonable consumption of alcoholic beverages, keep alcohol out of the hands of underage persons, deal with difficult situations, and contribute to making communities safer. As a result, licensees benefit from a reduction in risk of liability, including criminal (court action), civil (lawsuit), and administrative (ABC accusation), and possibly reduced insurance premiums.

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 days following the class.

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 is a type of training that is offered to promote public safety and to reduce risks associated with the retail alcohol environment. There are several public and private organizations that offer RBS training, including ABC. ABC’s training program is called the Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD) program. LEAD is one of the many training programs that offers training on Responsible Beverage Service (RBS).

If you are required to take a RBS class for employment, you should contact your employer or your local law enforcement agency to inquire if there is a specific training provider that you must use. If you are required to attend a LEAD class, you must register for the online LEAD course or an in-person class presented by an ABC LEAD trainer. If you are not required to complete the training by a specific training provider, you may contact any provider that offers RBS training.