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Demystifying California RBS Training Requirements: Who Needs It and Why

September 21, 2023

As of July 1, 2022, California has taken decisive steps to uphold responsible beverage service (RBS) through Assembly Bill 1221 and Assembly Bill 82. These bills have made it mandatory for alcohol servers and their managers at on-premises establishments to undergo RBS training. The regulations have been meticulously incorporated into the California Code of Regulations, Title 4, Article 25, Sections 160-173, aiming to promote safe alcohol service and benefit both establishments and patrons.

 California RBS trianing

Defining the Roles: Alcohol Servers and Managers

An alcohol server, as per the RBS regulations, is an individual involved in activities related to alcoholic beverage service within an ABC on-premises licensed establishment.

This encompasses:

  • Verifying customer identification
  • Taking orders
  • Making alcoholic beverages
  • Serving alcoholic beverages, and
  • Delivering alcoholic beverages.

An alcohol manager is anyone who trains, directly hires, or oversees alcohol servers within an ABC licensed premises. This includes those who provide training on how to serve alcohol for consumption at an ABC on-premises licensee. However, this definition excludes employees or contractors of a separate ABC licensee who train alcohol servers for marketing or distribution purposes.

RBS Training: Who Needs It and Who's Exempt

The ABC highly recommends that all individuals involved in serving alcohol for consumption complete the certification. However, there are specific circumstances where certification is not mandatory. These include:

  • Alcohol Distributors: Providing training related to featuring products for marketing purposes.
  • Academic Instructors: Teaching a college or university course where beer or wine tasting is involved.
  • Salon or Barbershop Owners/Stylists: Offering complimentary beer or wine to customers.
  • Employees of Licensed Planes or Boats

Registration and Certification Timeline

Alcohol servers and managers have 60 days from their first date of employment to register in the RBS Portal, undertake training from an authorized RBS training provider, and pass the ABC Alcohol Server Certification Exam within 30 days of their confirmed training.

Renewing Your California RBS Training

Renewing your California Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) training is a straightforward process. The RBS training certification remains valid for a period of three years. As the expiration date approaches, servers have the opportunity to renew their certification 90-days prior to the expiration of their current RBS certification.

This involves again completing a training course from an approved RBS training provider, such as LIQUORexam.com, and successfully passing the ABC RBS exam. Additionally, a fee of $3 is required by the ABC for the renewal. During this process, servers utilize their current Server ID initially provided through the ABC RBS portal. This ensures consistency and ease of access, allowing servers to maintain a consistent Server ID throughout their service tenure, enhancing the continuity of their training and compliance record.