ABC Announces Innovation Award Winners

Department Gives Cash Awards for 25K Find a New Way Contest

(Sacramento) – The Director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) announced today the winners of its statewide Innovation Award Contest. ABC was one of three state agencies participating in the “$25K Find a New Way” contest, which came about from legislation introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (AB 2138), and signed into law last year by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. After an extensive evaluation process, ABC will be providing cash awards to two Californians who came up with the best unique ideas for helping the agency more effectively and efficiently prevent or reduce underage drinking.

The first prize was awarded to Bruce Lee Livingston of San Francisco for his winning submission of the CalBoozeBuster App, an innovative, cost-effective program designed to empower youth using smart phones to anonymously report to ABC alleged sales of alcoholic beverages to youth at and around retail stores in California. Livingston, Executive Director of San Rafael-based Alcohol Justice, proposed that ABC develop a free application for Android and iPhones (iOS) linked to the Department’s current geocoding License Query Mapping System. Users of the App could then tie into this system to pinpoint an establishment, providing an avenue for the public and engaged youth to monitor, and confidentially provide information and post pictures of storefronts suspected of violating various laws including sales of alcoholic beverages to minors, sales to obviously intoxicated persons, loitering, litter, and excessive signage. Livingston will be receiving a $7,500 award for his idea.

Timothy Gorsuch, Director of ABC, states that, “what makes this idea so exciting is the potential it has to facilitate communication between the public and ABC, harness the knowledge and observations of youth, and utilize mass data gathering through crowd sourcing social media to help the Department more precisely target problem premises. The App has the potential to reduce the costs of monitoring and enforcement, making it a revolutionary next generation prevention and enforcement tool.”

Innovation Award Winner Bruce Lee Livingston with ABC Public Information Officer John Carr

“The CalBoozeBuster App has enormous potential to reduce teen drinking and harm,” stated Livingston. “It will empower youth to report alleged off-sale violations, and eventually the app could be developed so youth and the public could report possible binge drinking or irresponsible beverage service practices at on-sale locations as well.”

The second prize went to Karen Kishita of Monrovia for her submission of “Take 1”, a program designed to use the talents of future film makers to educate parents and kids about the dangers of underage drinking. Her idea was for students with an interest in filmmaking to create a short film, vine, or You Tube video to be viewed on the ABC website and potentially school and law enforcement websites as well. The video might play on You Tube and show the increasing problems with underage drinking. She suggested that ABC partner with schools and local law enforcement agencies to facilitate the implementation of the program. Kishita will be receiving a $ 1,000 award for her idea. Kishita said “I would like to thank the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) for the privilege of being allowed to touch thousands of lives and to inspire the youth of today, who have the skills and talent to help prevent and hopefully stop the on-going problem of underage drinking.”

Innovation Award Winner Karen Kishita with ABC Supervising Agents Brad Beach (L) and Gerry Sanchez (R)

Director Gorsuch stated that he was particularly impressed with Kishita’s idea because “it encourages youth to do what they do best and what they do every day – use their cell phones and talents to take pictures and make videos for something positive and potentially life-saving,” ABC plans to organize work groups to evaluate the short and long term costs and viability of each idea.

ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.