Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) Training

Responsible Beverage Service training educates persons seeking employment or who are currently employed as servers of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption. It aims to provide servers the necessary skills to responsibly serve alcoholic beverages and mitigate alcohol related harm in California communities.

What is the RBS Training Program?

Passage of Assembly Bill 1221 in 2017 created the Responsible Beverage Service Training Act. The bill required the Alcoholic Beverage Control to create the Responsible Beverage Service Training Program (RBSTP) to ensure servers and their managers of alcoholic beverages are educated on the dangers of serving alcohol to minors and over-serving alcohol to patrons with the intention of reducing alcohol related harm to local communities. The new mandate creates a new training requirement for an estimated 1,000,000 on-premises alcohol servers, their managers, and licensees beginning in 2021. ​The passing of Assembly Bill 82, on June 29, 2020, has extended the date in which this requirement is enacted to beginning in 2022. This change was made to alleviate the financial strain on the hospitality industry caused by the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Beginning July 1, 2022, any alcohol server and their manager must have a valid RBS certification from an ABC accredited RBS training provider and pass an online ABC administered RBS exam within 60 calendar days from the first date of employment.

Mission of the Responsible Beverage Service Training Program  

Our mission is to ensure effective Responsible Beverage Service training for servers and their managers to curb harm related to underage drinking and the overuse of alcohol in California communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is RBS training mandatory and do I need a certificate to serve alcohol in California?

RBS training under the requirements of Assembly Bill 1221 will become mandatory on July 1, 2022. The implementations date was modified by Assembly Bill 82. This new state mandate will require on-premises alcoholic beverage servers and their managers to successfully complete an ABC approved RBS training program and exam no later than August 31, 2022.

Currently, RBS training is only required if your local government mandates it. If you are required to take an RBS class for employment, contact your employer or local governing body to inquire if there is a specific training provider you must use.

Local jurisdictions may require you to attend an ABC Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD) class and receive a LEAD Certificate. If  you are required to attend a LEAD class, you can register for online LEAD training or in-person LEAD training presented by an ABC LEAD trainer if currently available.

Who must be trained under AB 1221?

Beginning in July 2022, any ABC licensee who has an “ABC On-Premises License” will need to have their staff (alcohol servers and managers of alcohol servers) trained and certified in RBS within sixty (60) days of the date of initial employment. This includes but is not limited to restaurants, bars, fast casual dining, tasting rooms (including off-sale locations), hotels, and stadiums.

RBS certification means that the alcohol server has successfully completed training by an ABC approved training provider and passed the alcohol server certification exam (hosted by ABC). Once the server has successfully completed the training and exam, their certification is valid for 3 years. The alcohol server certification must be renewed prior to its expiration to remain valid.

“ABC On-Premises License” means an ABC license that grants the privilege to serve alcoholic beverages to customers who then consume them on the licensed premises.

The following license types have on-premises privileges: Type 1, 2, 3, 4, 23, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47,  48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53,, 54, 55,  56, 57,  58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78,  80, 83, 86, 87, 88, 99.

Does AB 1221 apply to person(s) obtaining daily on-sale licenses?

Yes. For anyone obtaining a daily on-sale license, at least one person must be RBS trained and certified. This designee must be present at the event and actively oversee the alcohol service for the entire duration of the event. Additionally, this designee must also create and implement policies for the event that mandate and foster responsible alcoholic beverage service.

The 60-day grace period exemption for not having an alcohol server certification is not applicable to daily licenses.

What is the definition of an alcohol server under AB 1221?

An alcohol server, as defined under AB 1221 includes anyone who does any of the following:

  1. Checks customer identification for purposes of alcoholic beverage service or entry to an ABC on-premises licensed establishment;
  2. Takes customer alcoholic beverage orders;
  3. Pours alcoholic beverages for customers; or
  4. Delivers alcoholic beverages to customers.