Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about ABC’s Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) Training Program.

General Questions

Is RBS training and certification mandatory to serve alcohol in California?

Yes, effective July 1, 2022, RBS training is required by CA Assembly Bill 1221 and Assembly Bill 82. The regulations have been incorporated into the California Code of Regulations, Title 4, Article 25, Sections 160-173. On-premises alcoholic beverage servers and their managers must register in the RBS Portal, take training from an authorized RBS Training Provider, and pass the ABC Alcohol Server Certification exam within 30 days of completing the training within 60 days of initial employment.

What is an on-premises license?

An ABC on-premises license grants the privilege to serve alcoholic beverages to customers for on-site consumption. 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, 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.

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 does not fulfill the requirements mandated by AB 1221 and does not qualify as an ABC approved RBS Training.

If the city or county where I work has specific requirements for training for alcohol servers, do I still need to be certified?

Yes, you are required to be RBS certified. Cities and counties may apply additional ordinances that further support the efforts of AB 1221 but cannot supersede the standards defined in the act.

Am I required to take the RBS exam if I previously received RBS certification from a Training Provider and it is still active?

Yes, all alcohol beverage servers and managers are required to register in the RBS Portal, take training from an authorized RBS Training Provider, and pass the ABC Alcohol Server Certification exam within 30 days of completing the training. The requirements of AB 1221 supersede prior training and certifications.

Is RBS information available in multiple languages?

The RBS informational multi-language flyer is available to download in multiple languages. RBS training courses are offered in English and Spanish. The RBS exam is currently available in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Hindi, and Punjabi. To change the exam language, select Language next to your name and choose from the available languages.

Alcohol Server and the Manager of Alcohol Servers

What is the definition of an alcohol server?

An alcohol server is 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.

What is the definition of an alcohol manager?

An alcohol manager is anyone who trains, directly hires, or oversees alcohol servers at an ABC licensed premises, or who trains alcohol servers how to perform the service of alcohol for consumption for an ABC on-premises licensee. This definition specifically excludes an employee or contractor of another separate ABC licensee who is training alcohol servers for marketing or distribution purposes.

Is it a crime to serve alcohol without being certified?

No. The law expressly states that non-compliance by either licensees or servers is not a criminal violation (Business and Professions Code Section 25684).

Where can I get RBS certified?

Get certified in the RBS Portal, which has the tools you need to ensure compliance with the mandatory RBS training requirements.

How do I register as an alcohol server or manager?

Create an account on the RBS Portal and select the Server role. Registration requires a $3 fee, which is non-refundable. Watch a short video to learn how to become a registered server or manager.

Can I edit my personal information after I register?

You currently cannot edit your name, birthdate, address, or other personal information. You must register for training with the same information you provided during registration.

How do I reset my password?

Click Forgot Password? from the Log in page. Passwords must be a minimum of 15 characters and cannot be similar to a previously used password. Password reset is an automated, self-service feature, and our staff cannot view or change your password.

Is there a cost for the RBS exam?

The exam costs $3 and is included as part of your registration in the RBS Portal. Once training is confirmed by a training provider, you will have three attempts within 30 days to pass the exam with a 70% or better. If you do not pass, you will be required to retake training, pay another $3 exam fee, and pass the exam.

Is there an additional cost for RBS training outside of the $3 fee to ABC?

RBS training providers are authorized to charge a fee for their training program. The cost of training is determined by the training providers and ABC cannot negotiate corporate or group pricing.

Why doesn’t the RBS portal show my payment?

If you have a confirmation of payment but the system is showing your payment as incomplete, please forward your email confirmation from donotreply@fiserv.com to rbstp@abc.ca.gov so we can work to resolve the issue.

What is my Server ID number?

Your Server ID number is in the “Server Certificate Details” box on your dashboard. It is called “ID Number” and is a nine-digit number.

Why doesn’t my Server ID number work when I register for training?

Make sure your registration is complete and you are using the ID number from your dashboard. You must complete your payment, submit your application, and be able to access your dashboard before the Server ID number can be used for training.

How do I search for a training provider?

Select Search from the “Training Provider Search” on your dashboard to see a list of all available training providers. Use the filters to narrow your search results. If you do not see any training providers, try using fewer filters.

How long does training take?

The length of training varies by training provider, but generally takes between 90 minutes and four hours.

Why can’t I access my ABC Alcohol Server Certification Exam?

Your training provider has 24 hours to confirm you have completed your training course. Once your training is confirmed, you will receive an email from ABC notifying you that the exam is available, and the “Take Exam” button will be active on your dashboard. Please contact your training provider if they have not confirmed your training after 24 hours.

How long do I have to pass my exam after I take training?

You must pass your exam within 30 days of completing your training. If you do not pass the exam within 30 days, it will expire. You will be required to retake training, pay another $3 exam fee, and pass the exam.

How long does the ABC Alcohol Server Certification Exam take?

The exam is self-paced and contains 50 multiple-choice questions. It can take up to two hours to complete.

How do I get a copy of my RBS certification?

ABC is not issuing physical or downloadable RBS certificates. Once you complete training and pass your certification exam, your status on your dashboard will be updated to Certified. Your Server ID number and status are located in the “Server Certificate Details” box on your server dashboard.

Does my RBS certification expire?

Yes, certifications are valid for three years. Your certification must be renewed prior to its expiration to remain valid.

Does ABC share or sell my personal information?

ABC does not sell your information or distribute it to anyone outside of ABC unless required by law or necessary to process your online request. We may be required to comply with subpoenas and government orders and provide information to the extent permissible by law.

I received a text or email about RBS training and certification. How do I know whether it’s legitimate?

ABC will not contact you by text or email unless you have registered your email address in the RBS Portal. If a training provider contacts you, we recommend you contact them directly rather than responding to a text or email, since contact information can be spoofed. You can view the list of approved training providers on the RBS Portal.

Exemptions

Who is exempt from taking RBS Training?

Anyone whose job duties do not fall under the definition of an alcohol server or manager is exempt from mandated RBS training. However, RBS Training can be completed by any person who wishes to do so under the statewide program.

Are there specific instances when RBS training and certification is not required?

ABC recommends that everyone who serves alcohol for consumption complete the certification. However, certification is not required in some circumstances, including:

  • Alcohol distributors who provide trainings on how to feature products for marketing purposes.
  • Academic instructors who teach a college or university course where beer or wine is tasted.
  • Salon or barbershop owners or stylists who provide their customers with complimentary beer or wine.
  • Employees of a licensed plane or boat (Type 54 and 55).

Licensee

What is an on-premises license?

An ABC on-premises license grants the privilege to serve alcoholic beverages to customers for on-site consumption. 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, 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.

I’m not sure whether my license type requires RBS certification. Are there clarifications for specific license types?

Some specific license types which require certification are:

  • Instruction servers for a Type 86 license. Certification is required because the server is serving an alcoholic beverage to the public for consumption on the premises. Both the off-sale licensee and distributor must insure their employee or agent is certified because the server at these tastings is acting as an agent of both.
  • Club members or servers for a Type 50, 51, or 52 license. Anyone who pours, serves, or delivers drinks must be RBS certified
  • Employees of a licensed train for Type 43, 44, 45, 46, and 53 licenses. All staff who serve alcohol must be RBS certified.
  • Employees who serve alcohol on site for a business which is not licensed by ABC. There are limited exceptions to when alcohol can be served without an ABC license. Please contact your local district office to determine whether your business requires an ABC license.

Can I hire someone who is not RBS certified?

Yes. Alcohol servers and managers have 60 days from their first date of employment to register in the RBS Portal, take training from an authorized RBS Training Provider, and pass the ABC Alcohol Server Certification Exam within 30 days of completing the training.

Can I schedule someone to work who is not RBS certified?

Yes. Alcohol servers and managers have until August 31, 2022 to complete their RBS certification. The law expressly states that non-compliance by either licensees or servers is not a criminal violation (Business and Professions Code Section 25684).

If I hire someone who is already RBS certified, do they need to get certified again?

No. If the employee has a valid RBS certification in the RBS Portal, they do not need to get certified again. RBS certification is valid for three years and applies to the person, not a specific employer.

Can I register my staff?

No, each server will need to register for their account individually.

Is an employer required to pay for current employees to be RBS trained and certified?

The Department cannot give guidance on this issue, and strongly recommends employees and employers consult labor attorneys that specialize in the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act and similar laws under California law which often extend protections to employees further. The time an employee is being trained may be deemed as hours worked since the training is mandatory to remain employed and directly related to an alcohol server’s employment, even if asked to be completed away from the business and not during normal working hours. In addition, certain California laws require employees to pay any costs associated for trainings required to maintain employment. This information is shared not as a mandate that employers pay for the training or compensate employees for their time to take the training, as that would be dictated by decisions by either a court of competent jurisdiction, or the Federal or State fair employment departments. For more information you may visit the Labor and Workforce Agency website or the Labor Commissioner's Office website for more information on job-related trainings.

My server is not certified because their exam expired. How can they get certified?

Servers have three attempts within 30 days after they completed training to pass the exam. If they fail three times or do not pass the exam within 30 days, they must repay the $3 exam fee, retake training, and pass the exam.

License Administrator

What is a License Administrator?

The License Administrator is the person responsible for managing your license online. It should be the licensee, or someone designated to perform functions on the licensee’s behalf.

What can I do with a License Administrator account?

You can add your license, see your next renewal date, and manage your RBS roster, if applicable. As new features are developed, you will see them in your account.

How do I register for a License Administrator account?

Create your account and enter all required information. You will receive an email to verify your email address. Once your email address is verified, you can choose the License Administrator role to complete your registration.

If you already have a Server or Training Provider account, click My Applications, click the New Application button, and choose License Administrator.

Can I be a License Administrator for more than one license number?

Yes, you can add multiple license numbers to your License Administrator account. You will need the license number and validation code for each license.

How do I get my validation code?

ABC mailed validation code letters to existing licensees in phases, beginning June 3, 2022. If you did not receive a validation code letter, please contact your local district office.

Licensees will receive validation code letters for newly issued licenses shortly after receiving their license.

How do I add licenses to my account?

You must add one license to create your account. Once your account is created, you can add your other licenses. At the top of the licenses table click Add, enter the license number and validation code, and click Add License.

How do I remove licenses from my account?

Click Remove and then select the checkbox for the license number to remove it from your account. Once a license is removed, you will not be able to add it again without a new validation code.

Why can’t I add my license?

A unique validation code is assigned to each license number and can only be used one time. If the validation code you enter does not correspond to your license number, or if there is an existing License Administrator for your license number, you will not be able to add the license to your account.

How can I change the License Administrator for my license?

The current License Administrator must remove the license from their account. Once it has been removed, it can be added to another account, but it must have a new validation code. Contact your local district office for a new code.

Once I’ve created my License Administrator account, how do I register as an alcohol server or manager?

After you log in to your account, click RBS in the navigation bar to go to your roster management dashboard. Click My ApplicationsNew Application, and then Server. Server registration requires a non-refundable $3 fee.

How do I view my RBS roster?

After you log in to your account, you can click RBS in the navigation bar to go to your roster management dashboard.

If I have an off-sale license type, do I need to create a roster for my staff?

Most off-sale license types do not require RBS certification, so you do not need to create a roster for those license types.

What is an on-premises license?

An ABC on-premises license grants the privilege to serve alcoholic beverages to customers for on-site consumption. 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, 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.

Why don’t I see all of my license numbers on my roster management dashboard?

A license must be added to your License Administrator account before it will appear on the roster management dashboard. Click Switch Dashboard and choose Manage Licenses to add a license to your account. Only the license types subject to RBS requirements appear on your roster management dashboard.

How do I add a server to my roster?

On your roster management dashboard, select your License Number. In the “Add a Server to Your Roster” section, enter the Server ID number and the server’s last name. Click Search. Click the Plus icon next to the search result to add the server to your roster. The server’s information will be added to the roster below.

How do I remove a server from my roster?

Click the Trash Can icon next to the server’s name. You can search for a specific server on your roster by entering their first or last name in the search fields on your roster list.

Why can’t I find my server using their Server ID and last name?

Confirm with your server that they have registered in the RBS Portal and have provided you the correct Server ID number and last name. They can find their Server ID number on their server dashboard. Their last name must be the same as the last name they used when they registered in the RBS Portal.

Training Provider

How do I become a Training Provider for RBS?

ABC continues accepting and processing RBS training provider applications. If you are interested in becoming an approved RBS Training Provider, apply online in the RBS Portal. ABC is not approving individual trainers but training programs, so you will need to develop your own program and materials in the desired languages you wish to teach. Each language or format is its own program and will need to have its own materials developed.

Is ABC offering a “Train-the-Trainer” course?

ABC is not offering a “Train-the-Trainer” course. Anyone who is interested in becoming an approved training provider must apply and submit a training program based on our mandatory curriculum requirements as provided in California Code of Regulations, Title 4, Article 25, Sections 162-166.

I was previously on ABC’s RBS Trainer List. Do I need to re-apply to become an RBS training provider under AB 1221?

Yes. Curriculum standards were updated with the passage of AB 1221. Training Providers need to reapply to validate they conform to current curriculum standards. This includes those programs that were previously included on a list maintained by ABC.

One-Day License

Does AB 1221 apply to applicants for daily on-sale licenses?

Yes, at least one person must be RBS trained and certified for events occurring on or after July 1, 2022. 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. Local jurisdictions may have additional requirements.

Do servers for one-day licenses have a grace period to obtain their certification?

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

Catered Event

Do employees for a catered event need to be RBS trained and certified?

Catered events are an extension of a permanent on-sale licensee, and their servers are already required to be RBS trained and certified. If a caterer hires additional help for an event, the licensee must ensure those individuals are certified before serving alcohol.

If I supply my own alcohol for an event, do the servers need to be RBS certified?

Yes, all servers for a catered event licensed by ABC must be RBS trained and certified. Local jurisdictions may have additional requirements.

Contact

For server registration assistance call (916) 318-6435 or email your local district office:

- OR -


Bakersfield

map

4800 Stockdale Highway., Suite 213
Bakersfield CA, 93309

Phone:
(661) 395-2731
Fax:
(661) 322-5929
Email:
Bakersfield@abc.ca.gov

Concord

map

1800 Sutter St., Ste 450
Concord CA , 94520

Phone:
(925) 655-6314
Fax:
(925) 655-6310
Email:
Concord@abc.ca.gov

Eureka

map

1105 Sixth St., Suite C
Eureka CA, 95501

Phone:
(707) 445-7229
Fax:
(707) 445-6643
Email:
Eureka@abc.ca.gov

Fresno

map

1330 B East Shaw Ave.
Fresno CA, 93710-7902

Phone:
(559) 225-6334
Fax:
(559) 225-8740
Email:
Fresno@abc.ca.gov

LA/Metro

map

888 S Figueroa Street, Suite 320
Los Angeles CA, 90017

Phone:
(213) 833-6043
Fax:
(213) 833-6058
Email:
LAMetro@abc.ca.gov

LB/Lakewood

map

3950 Paramount Blvd., Suite 250
Lakewood CA, 90712

Phone:
(562) 982-1337
Fax:
(562) 982-1396
Email:
LongBeach/Lakewood@abc.ca.gov

Monrovia

map

222 E. Huntington Dr., Suite 114
Monrovia CA, 91016

Phone:
(626) 256-3241
Fax:
(626) 263-9858
Email:
Monrovia@abc.ca.gov

Palm Desert

map

34-160 Gateway Dr., Suite 120
Palm Desert CA, 92211

Phone:
(760) 324-2027
Fax:
(760) 324-2632
Email:
PalmDesert@abc.ca.gov

Redding

map

1900 Churn Creek Rd., Suite 215
Redding CA, 96002

Phone:
(530) 224-4830
Fax:
(530) 224-9338
Email:
Redding@abc.ca.gov

Riverside

map

3737 Main Street, Suite 900
Riverside CA, 92501

Phone:
(951) 782-4400
Fax:
(951) 781-0531
Email:
Riverside@abc.ca.gov

Sacramento

map

2400 Del Paso Road, Suite 155
Sacramento CA, 95834

Phone:
(916) 419-1319
Fax:
(916) 419-3994
Email:
Sacramento@abc.ca.gov

Salinas

map

1137 Westridge Parkway
Salinas CA, 93907

Phone:
(831) 755-1990
Fax:
(831) 755-1997
Email:
Salinas@abc.ca.gov

San Diego

map

1350 Front St., Room 5056
San Diego CA, 92101

Phone:
(619) 525-4064
Fax:
(619) 231-1171
Email:
SanDiego@abc.ca.gov

San Francisco

map

33 New Montgomery St., Suite 1230
San Francisco CA, 94105

Phone:
(415) 356-6500
(415) 356-6501
(415) 356-6502
(415) 356-6503
Fax:
(415) 356-6599
Email:
SanFrancisco@abc.ca.gov

San Jose

map

100 Paseo de San Antonio, Room 119
San Jose CA, 95113

Phone:
(408) 277-1200
Fax:
(408) 971-9421
Email:
SanJose@abc.ca.gov

San Luis Obispo

map

3220 S. Higuera St., Suite 103A
San Luis Obispo CA, 93401

Phone:
(805) 543-7183
Fax:
(805) 543-3814
Email:
SanLuisObispo@abc.ca.gov

San Marcos

map

570 Rancheros Drive, Suite 240
San Marcos CA, 92069

Phone:
(760) 471-4237
Fax:
(760) 471-6142
Email:
SanMarcos@abc.ca.gov

Santa Ana

map

2 MacAurthur Place, Suite 200
Santa Ana CA, 92707

Phone:
(657) 205-3533
Fax:
(657) 205-3520
Email:
SantaAna@abc.ca.gov

Santa Rosa

map

50 D Street, Room 130
Santa Rosa CA, 95404

Phone:
(707) 576-2165
Fax:
(707)527-9537
Email:
SantaRosa@abc.ca.gov

Stockton

map

31 E. Channel St., Room 168
Stockton CA, 95202

Phone:
(209) 948-7739
Fax:
(209) 546-7853
Email:
Stockton@abc.ca.gov

Van Nuys

map

6150 Van Nuys Blvd., Room 220
Van Nuys CA, 91401

Phone:
(818) 901-5017
Fax:
(818) 785-6731
Email:
VanNuys@abc.ca.gov

Ventura

map

1000 South Hill Road, Suite 310
Ventura CA, 93003

Phone:
(805) 289-0100
Fax:
(805) 289-0110
Email:
Ventura@abc.ca.gov

For training provider and general program assistance contact:

RBSTP Team
3927 Lennane Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95834
Email: rbstp@abc.ca.gov

Translation Services
Email: eeo@abc.ca.gov