Ten Ames businesses found violating liquor laws


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Beer is pouring into a glass from bottle.

Gibson Akers

Ten Ames businesses have been found selling alcohol to underage customers in a recent compliance check conducted by the Ames Police Department.

On Nov. 8, the Ames Police Department conducted a compliance check on 33 Ames businesses that sell alcohol. Of the 33 businesses, 10 had sold alcohol to underage persons.

According to the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking, an alcohol compliance check is “a type of environmental prevention that deters alcohol outlets from selling alcohol to underage youth.”

A compliance check is done with the help of college-aged students who are under 21. They go into the business undercover and try to purchase alcohol. When the businesses sell the alcohol to the underage person, the Ames Police Department will give the employee a citation and warn the business. 

According to the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking, “If the attempt is successful, the establishment is penalized. Compliance checks are thought to be most effective when they are frequent, well publicized and well designed, solicit community support, and impose penalties on the licensed establishment rather than just the server.”

Lt. Jason Tuttle of the Ames Police Department said it is a $735 citation for the employee selling the alcohol to the underage person. It also goes on the record for the business and is brought up the next time the business applies for an alcohol permit, which may or may not determine whether or not the permit is renewed.

“We just want to hold [the] business accountable,” Tuttle said.

The compliance check is normally conducted several times a year by the Ames Police Department.

According to the committee, “Frequent use of compliance checks decreases alcohol sales to minors significantly, are associated with reduced alcohol-related injuries and impose penalties on the licensed establishment rather than just the server. By decreasing alcohol availability, compliance checks are believed to also reduce alcohol-related problems and crime among youth.

“Nationally, an estimated 8.6 percent of past-month drinkers purchased their own alcohol the last time they drank.  Variations by state ranged from 3.1 percent to 18.8 percent.”

Tuttle said the number of businesses that violated the law was higher than normal. He said this was most likely due to the amount of time lapsed since the last compliance check.

The compliance checks are funded in part by the Youth and Shelter Services, Inc. in an effort to hold business accountable and help curb underage drinking.

The following businesses declined to comment: Hy-Vee Gas at 4018 Lincoln Way and Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill at 105 Chestnut.

The following could not be reached for comment: Swift Stop at 3406 Lincoln Way, Swift Stop at 1118 S. Duff Ave., Swift Stop at 3218 Orion Dr., Casey’s at 3612 Stange Road, AJ’s Liquor at 2515 Chamberlain St., Kum & Go at 4510 Mortensen Road, Tobacco Outlet at 204 S. Duff Ave., and Dahl’s at 3121 Grand Ave.