9 Stillwater businesses cited for alcohol sales to minor

Nine Stillwater business were cited for alcohol compliance violations this past month by the Stillwater Police Department.

The organized operation was part of the police department’s annual check of businesses that sell alcohol.

The establishments failng the compliance checks were Chilkoot Cafe, Haskell’s Wines and Spirits, Nacho Mamas, Kitchen Lolo American, Freight House, Luna Rossa, Tin Bins, Murasaki and Lift Bridge Brewing Company. This is the second violation in five years for Haskell’s Wine and Spirts, and the second year in a row for Chilkoot Cafe.

The police department used underage volunteers as part of its operation. The volunteers would enter the business, order an alcoholic beverage and wait to see if they were asked to produce identification. If the business failed the test, the volunteers would notify police with their cell phones and police would enter the establishment for further investigation.

The number of failures to the compliance checks is higher than usual and is a concern for the police department, said Stillwater Police Chief John Gannaway.

“The usual number is two to four failures in a year,” Gannaway said. “Most of our businesses are very conscientious of checking for identification before selling alcohol.”

Gannaway said that he was not sure why so many failed, but said that it would be beneficial for business managers to do more server training and to remind employees of the policy.

This is the second year in a row that police reported an increase in alcohol compliance violations. In 2013, eight businesses were issued citations, but none of the citations were given to businesses with a recent history of alcohol compliance violations.

According to the city’s ordinance, a liquor license holder’s first offense is charged a $500 fine. For the second offense, a $750 fine is charged and a 3-day liquor license suspension. A third offense is charged with a $1,000 fine and a 9-day liquor license suspension, and the fourth offense ends with the revocation of the liquor license.

One business is going through the appeals process and will meet with an appeals officer to discuss the fines, Gannaway said.

Contact Alicia Lebens at alicia.lebens@ecm-inc.com