How Bartenders Steal & How We Catch Them - Hospitality Checkpoint is a Bar Theft & Service Staff Evaluation Company. We spot Bartender Theft & Evaluate Service Staff Standards.

BARTENDER THEFT:Storing stolen money in the register

October 8, 2015 20:03 by administrator


BARTENDER THEFT:Storing stolen money in the POS register

Bartender Summary (Excerpt)

·       Bar 1:  Caucasian female, approximately 5’2, thin build, long dark hair that was tied back, wearing a black Xxxx’s tank top and jean shorts.

·       Bar 2:  Caucasian female, approximately 5’2, thin build, short blond hair in a pixie cut, wearing a back Xxxx’s tank top and white shorts.

·       Bar 3:  Caucasian male, approximately 6’, medium build, short blond hair, chin strap facial hair, wearing a black Xxxx’s shirt and jean pants. 

Agent observed bar 1, 2, and 3 working behind the bar.  However, throughout the duration of the evaluation Bar 3 was not observed serving a single drink, yet frequently observed using his cell phone behind the bar and in the DJ booth.  It was assumed that Bar 3 was a bartender due to the amount of time he spent behind the bar and the bar key that was resting in his back pocket.  It is possible that Bar 3 was a barback, however, was not observed performing a barback’s duties either.

Upon approach to the bar, Bar 1 asked the agent and the agent’s associate what they would like to drink while setting down beverage napkins.  A drink order was placed (See food and beverage summary for details).  Bar 1 did not, however, offer her name or a smile although she appeared to be friendly.

Bar 1 returned with the drinks in a timely manner but did not ring either of the drinks in the register nor start at tab within the point of sale system.  A credit card was also not requested in order to secure the sale, however, it was noted that this procedure was performed for various other patrons.  At the close of the tab, nonetheless, the drinks were appropriately accounted for.

Both Bar 1 and Bar 2 were observed serving drinks exceeding the legal amount of liquor per drink (specifically Bar 2 at 11:31 while pouring Crux rum into shot glasses, and Bar 1 at 11:54 for what appeared to be four vodka redbulls). 


4-244. Unlawful acts

23. For an on-sale retailer or employee to conduct drinking contests, to sell or deliver to a person an unlimited number of spirituous liquor beverages during any set period of time for a fixed price, to deliver more than thirty-two ounces of beer, one liter of wine or four ounces of distilled spirits in any spirituous liquor drink to one person at one time for that person's consumption or to advertise any practice prohibited by this paragraph.

Both employees were also observed not using an ice scoop or tin, not ringing in complimentary drinks onto a complimentary tab, handling bar fruit with their hands rather than gloves or a set of tongs, violating health codes, and not requesting identification from some customers.     

Agent returned from the patio to purchase an additional drink and noticed no bartender behind the bar, or in sight. 

The agent waited five minutes for a bartender to return.  During that time period an additional customer from the patio was observed standing at the bar, having also returned with an empty glass to refill.  The agent believes that it is imperative for staff to be attentive to all customers, including those patrons sitting out of sight on the patio, and that these customers being neglected is especially inexcusable when business is slow.

The agent additionally observed, without doubt, Bar 1 serve multiple drinks, each over-poured as a seven count (at 11:54), to a group of patrons, take a twenty dollar bill from one of the patrons, hit the “no sale” button to open the register and place the money into the drawer.  At 12:01 when the guests had departed, Bar 1, in front of Bar 3, hit the “no sale” button again, removed the twenty dollar bill from the drawer, and placed it into the tip cup.

Behind the bar, the agent noticed an array of personal items including but not limited to cell phones, cigarettes, bartender’s beverages, and purses, resting on the shelf of the window and around the register.  This reminded the agent of the array of items one might leave and collect on a kitchen or side table as he or she walks into his or her house and puts down the items in hand.  It was noted that both Bar 1 and Bar 2 were also observed using their cell phones behind the bar in view of guests.

Additionally, although the bartenders were appropriately dressed, Bar 1 was observed frequently playing with her hair.   The agent watched this bartender place slices of fruit on and in drinks with her bare hands and not wash them after playing with her hair.

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-1919
Toll Free: 800-880-0811


October 8, 2015 13:49 by administrator



Bartender Summary (EXCERPT)

Three bartenders were seen working on this visit.  Bartender A, this agent’s bartender was a male Caucasian with short dark hair and tattoos xxxxxxxxxx.  Bartender B was a male Caucasian with short cropped blonde hair.  Bartender C was a female of mixed ethnicity with long black hair worn down.

For the agent’s portion of the bar visit, Bartender A was reasonably quick on response to the agent taking a seat at the bar.  He offered something to drink, but did not offer a menu or any appetizer and did not make a suggestion of any kind.  He was quick with the drink delivery and immediately rang this agent’s drink into the POS.  The impression of this bartender was that he was competent and relatively fast, but not friendly and non-engaging to the bar patrons. 

At or around 1015pm, this bartender was seen pouring a long pour over 3 oz of a dark liquor for a patron seated at the outdoor window and ringing the drink into the POS, but the guest was only charged $2 on the mixed drink. Agent then observed bartender to high-five the customer.

At 1030pm Bartender C was seen making seven shots of pinkish fluid for a group at the point location on the bar.  When cash was handed to her, she waved it off.  When insisted, she deposited this cash directly into the tip vessel and was never seen ringing in this round of shots.  This same group shortly thereafter began a tab and this agent saw them start their credit card. 

Cocktail server chits were seen on various occasions on this visit and this agent believes that the cocktail servers are ringing in their drinks.  For an ice scoop, bartender C was simply using another glass rocks glass.  This is not only hand contact with a ready to eat product, but is also a health risk by using a fracturable implement in the consumables well.

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-1919
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

Do you get wine shipped from out-of-state? That may be about to end.

October 8, 2015 13:30 by administrator


Do you get wine shipped from out-of-state? That may be about to end. Here's why.


Richard Ruelas, The Republic |

Arizona officials have been cracking down on wine shipped to consumers. What are the rules, and will your wine club be cut off?

The Arizona liquor department cracked down this summer on wineries that ship bottles to consumers’ homes, slapping more than 150 businesses with notices that they are violating liquor laws. As a result, a long list of out-of-state wineries agreed to stop shipping wine to Arizona consumers.

Lee Hill, a liquor department spokeswoman, said Wednesday the state started the crackdown started through its own initiative.

She had said previously that the Liquor Department acted after receiving a letter from the Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix-based organization that typically supports free-market principles  and limited government. But on Wednesday, she said that a 2012 letter from the Goldwater Institute was the "catalyst" for a previous investigation, one that also affected wine shipping into Arizona. But not this summer's crackdown.

The Goldwater Institute's vice president for litigation, Clint Bolick, said the group did not seek the crackdown. Bolick said he feared the letter sent three years ago asking the state to relax regulations might have accidentally triggered the enforcement actions.

Bolick said on Wednesday that the Goldwater Institute would join forces with those wishing to rewrite Arizona's shipping laws when the legislative session starts in January.

The Arizona Department of Liquor started sending out notices of the violations in June to wineries that ship directly to Arizona consumers

Under Arizona rules, wineries anywhere can ship directly to consumers if they adhere to certain production limits and rules. (It's complicated, but read on if you want to know the specifics.) The notices of violation include accusations that wineries exceeded those production limits, violated those rules or did not give the liquor department the required report of how much wine was made.

Fines for the first offense are $500. Most offending wineries sidestepped the fine, Hill said, with citations ending in meetings where wineries agreed to comply with state statutes. But for some out-of-state wineries, compliance would mean a choice between no longer shipping to customers in Arizona or curbing how much wine they produce.

The department used information from Federal Express and United Parcel Service in its investigation, Hill said. Under state statute, those companies are obligated to provide information on liquor shipments.

The enforcement of these long-standing regulations began this year. A search of the liquor department's website shows that no out-of-state wineries were accused of violating shipping laws in 2014.

And the crackdown is not over. Hill said the liquor department is waiting for delinquent reports from more than 300 wineries. Depending on what those production numbers show, some or all of those wineries also might be found in violation.

But the crackdown has invigorated a push to change Arizona's shipping laws. Two California-based groups that have long sought to relax the state's shipping laws said they were contacted this summer by consumers frustrated that they could no longer order their favorite wines. The groups expect a bill to be introduced in the Arizona Legislature in January.

In recent years, at the request of Arizona winemakers, lawmakers have made a variety of moves to give in-state producers more freedom. They have lifted a rule that banned wineries from also operating a brewery, and now permit wineries to also be distilleries and form cooperatives to share space and equipment.

But for now, a growing number of consumers may find they can no longer get the wines they want from their favorite spots in Napa Valley, Oregon or elsewhere.

So, what is happening and will you still be able to order wine at home? The rules about this can get complicated fairly quickly. Here's a step-by-step guide:

What's happening, and how is it going to affect me?

If you are a wine club member of an out-of-state winery, or are used to ordering by phone or the Internet, those days could be over.

There are three main statutes that affect wine shipments into Arizona.

Wineries have different restrictions on their ability to sell directly to consumers, depending on how big they are.

The smallest wineries have the most freedom. Bigger wineries have less freedom. Those limits are defined in statutes.

One of the rules bigger wineries have to live by is this: They can only directly ship to a customer who is actually at their winery.

Additionally, out-of-state wineries can apply for a special license that allows them  to ship wine into Arizona. But that law restricts how much wine it can ship into the state.

The state found 74 violations of those regulations this summer. The vast majority involved wineries in California, and included the most popular regions: Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County.

In order to comply with the law, these wineries would have to change their shipping practices. Some will only be able to ship to customers who make an annual trip to their winery. Others will either stop shipping into Arizona or produce less wine.

Another 104 wineries were cited for not reporting their production numbers. These wineries are small enough to still be able to ship into the state — so long as the regulatory hassle doesn't make them shy away from Arizona.

All these rules apply solely to shipments to residences in Arizona. Obviously, the state can't regulate, say, what a California winery can ship to New York.

As the Arizona wine industry continues to grow, it's possible local wineries could soon go over the production limit. At that point, they could still ship to consumers in New York (where shipping rules are more permissive) but not to an Arizonan.

What are the rules in Arizona, exactly?

The rules are spelled out in Title 4 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, an entire section devoted to liquor laws.

Wineries that can ship to consumers through phone and computer sales must be licensed as a "farm winery." That means, essentially, it needs to be a winery that actually makes wine, not merely re-selling bottles of finished wine, or a catalog company selling bottles as part of a gift basket . Being a farm winery allows the winery to have a host of benefits, including operating an on-site tasting room.

If a farm winery makes less than 20,000 gallons of wine each year, or 8,412 cases, it is allowed to take orders over the phone or via computer and ship  directly to customers.

That is a small operation: To put it in perspective, Arizona's own Page Springs Cellars was investigated for going over that 20,000-gallon production cap this year.

Wineries bigger than that can ship wine to a consumer's house if that customer is "physically present" at the winery when ordering it. In practice, customers are considered physically present if they visit the winery once each year, fill out a signature card and verify their age.

Additionally, out-of-state wineries with a "limited out-of-state winery license" can ship only 240 gallons, or 100 12-bottle cases, of wine into Arizona each year.

A winery must keep track of how much wine it produces and how much wine it ships into Arizona. Failure to keep a record and provide those numbers to the state results in another violation.

How did these rules get to be that way?

We can start with Prohibition, which ran from 1920-1933.

Once alcohol was legal in the United States again, the worry was that alcohol producers would have too much control over the sale of their product.

So states, including Arizona, instituted a three-tier system of distribution:

  1. A producer of alcohol had to send their product to...
  2. A distributor, who would in turn move it to...
  3. A retailer.

The customer could only buy alcohol from a retailer.

While nothing in the law mandated it, as a matter of simple business practice, each tier that handled the product — the distributor and the retailer — would raise the price to earn a profit.

So, there was a time when Arizona customers could not have any wine shipped directly to them. And the state's wineries could not ship to any address, in state or out of state. Wines from both Callaghan Vineyards and Doz Cabezas WineWorks had been served during state dinners at the White House. But shipping that wine to D.C. was technically illegal.

Arizona’s liquor laws have evolved due to both consumer and industry pressure because its wineries and breweries have become popular and powerful.

The shipping law first changed after a consumer in Paradise Valley wanted to get shipments of the boutique and expensive Screaming Eagle label. He contacted his state senator, Barbara Leff, R-Paradise Valley. She introduced the law that allowed limited direct shipping if a customer was physically present at the winery. That law passed in 2002.

The next year, the legislature passed a bill that allowed Arizona wineries to ship directly to state residents. This was good news for the budding local wine industry, which had a new way to reach consumers.

A Supreme Court decision in 2005 complicated matters. The court ruled, in the case of Granholm vs. Heald, that a state could not treat an out-of-state winery differentlyhan an in-state winery.

So in 2006, Arizona made a distinction among wineries based on size rather than geography. The rules were no longer about being in state or out of state, but about being small, medium or large.

The caps were set defining those. . And, whether coincidence or not, at the time that law passed, all but one Arizona winery was below the 20,000 gallon limit and that winery, Kokopelli, was not concerned about direct shipping to customers.

Why is the state cracking down now? 

It appears the state acted because it finally had a database of information about licensed winemakers.

In December, the Liquor Department asked winemakers to submit their required reports about production and shipping by computer. That database made it easy, for the first time, for auditors to look at whether wineries were violating any of the rules, Hill said. It also let the department know which wineries had not filed any reports at all.

A letter from the Goldwater Institute in 2012 did inadvertently spark another investigation. In that letter, Bolick asked that the department to end the requirement that wine purchasers visit an out-of-state winery once a year. Bolick said the rule prevented people from joining wine clubs, where wineries send a number of bottles annually to a customer, usually at a discount, and sometimes including wines not available to the general public.

Bolick's letter, Hill said, made the department curious about whether those out-of-state wineries were licensed. Some wineries were sent letters to cease and desist. Though Hill did not know Wednesday how many.

Bolick, said his group would never have explicitly made a request for more enforcement.

"The last thing we would want is more stringent enforcement of a law we consider unwise and unconstitutional," Bolick said.

Bolick appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004 arguing on behalf of Virginia and California wineries. That case resulted in the Granholm decision, which eased restrictions nationwide, ensuring that states treat in-state and out-of-state wineries the same. At the time, Bolick was working for the Institute for Justice, a libertarian organization.

Arizona's wine growers were also not told the liquor department was taking this step, nor would they have asked for it, said Rod Keeling, president of the Arizona Wine Growers Association.

"The wine growers' association is not looking of any kind of protectionist approach," Keeling said.

Speaking as the owner of Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards, Keeling said his opinion is that wine shipping should be as free as possible.

How did Arizona officials catch the alleged offenders, anyway? 

The liquor board didn't have to go far. It checked its own electronic database.

Wineries are supposed to file annual reports listing the amount of wine made and the amount shipped.

Investigators started by looking at those reports, Hill said.

If a report was missing, the liquor department asked the winery to provide it.

Hill also said investigators worked with FedEx and UPS. The department asked for and received documents it used to verify shipping amounts and ensure that the wine shipments were delivered to a sober adult, as required by law.

The sheer number of violations over missing paperwork indicated that the department was not doing a good enough job in educating license holders, she said. The department changed the deadline for the annual reports — moving from fiscal year to calendar year — and that caused many of the violations, she said.

Hill said this type of investigation wasn't done much in years past because staff were working on other priorities.

What about this push to change the law?

Two California groups are working on a proposed change to Arizona law.

Though both entities, Free the Grapes and the Wine Institute, have long proposed changes to the wine shipping laws, as they have done in other states, this push comes from Arizona consumers who this summer found out they were being cut off from their favorite wineries.

Lisa James, of Gordon C. James Public Relations, said that her firm was hired by Free the Grapes to publicize the effort.

“Some people didn’t understand that law existed here,” James said. “Now they’re getting notices.”

Jeremy Benson of Free the Grapes said that his non-profit group hired the James firm using money donated by Arizona consumers. He said he expects Arizona to join the 43 states allow direct shipping from wineries of any size.

“Free the Grapes has been working to essentially channel consumer frustration… into some sort of constructive act,” he said.

Benson said his group’s model legislation would remove the production cap. It would allow wineries to ship a limited amount of wine to a customer each year.

“The idea of requiring customers to visit a winery before they can get wine shipped is ridiculous,” Benson said. “There’s no protocol or reason why that should be the case.”

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-1919
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

September restaurant openings and closings in Phoenix

October 8, 2015 13:22 by administrator


September restaurant openings and closings in Phoenix

Take a look at which Valley restaurants came and went in September.

Jennifer McClellan, The Republic |


Phoenix's restaurant season is about to hit the busy season, so it's no surprise that we saw an increase in the number of restaurant openings: 22 in September. And it looks like there's quality with the high quantity. Last month, we welcomed El Guero Canelo, Okra and Citrine to the Valley. We said farewell to at least seven restaurants, including controversial kitchens such as Amy's Baking Company in Scottsdale and Toby Keith's in northeast Phoenix.


El Guero Canelo

This restaurant has been a Tucson institution for more than 20 years, serving some of the best Sonoran hot dogs (sausage wrapped in bacon, topped with beans, tomatoes, onions, mustard, mayo and jalapeños and served inside a Mexican bolillo roll). Owner Daniel Contreras opened the first metro-Phoenix location near 51st Avenue and McDowell Road. El Guero Canelo, which also offers tacos, tortas and burritos, has been featured in "Man v. Food" and other TV shows.

Details: 5131 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix. 602-278-8560,


The sophomore venture from the crew behind Crudo in Arcadia, Okra is an ode to Southern cooking — with a bit of Italian flare. Fried chicken is served two ways: Umbrian-style and Tennessee hot. Country ham with pimento cheese aioli and hoe cakes, grilled okra with quark and pig cheek pot pie grace the menu. The cocktail menu is anchored by bourbon and gin drinks such as the French 75 and Sazerac.

Details: 5813 N. Seventh St., Phoenix. 602-296-4147,


This dining and entertainment complex — complete with restaurant, beer garden and coffee bar — opened near Third and Flower streets in central Phoenix. Co-chefs Walter Sterling and Sacha Levine have created an intriguing menu featuring local citrus pound cake, roasted vanilla-poached pear, black truffle quiche, petite herb salad with sumac-citrus vinaigrette, iron skillet roasted fennel and crispy chicken dumplings. The kitchen is currently serving lunch and brunch. Dinner service will start in the coming weeks.

Details: 3243 N. Third St., Phoenix. 480-390-7794,

Pedal Haus Brewery

Just in time for local Oktoberfest celebrations, restaurateur Julian Wright debuted his massive restaurant and beer garden in downtown Tempe. Derek Osborne, formerly of BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, is brewmaster, and cicerone Zach Fowle trained staff to showcase European styles such as Belgian dubbel and English bitter. From the kitchen, expect such dishes as Kaiserschmarrn, an Austrian pancake; and Belgian croquettes from chef Matt McLinn. Wright owns several popular Valley spots, including La Bocca Urban Pizzeria + Wine Bar, Modern Margarita and the Handlebar Tempe.

Details: 730 S. Mill Ave., Tempe. 480-314-2337,

The Coronado

Liam Murtagh, of Bragg's Factory Diner, opened this restaurant in the space that most recently housed Urban Vine and was previously home to Coronado Cafe in central Phoenix. Look for vegan and vegetarian dishes such as jalapeño waffles with agave butter, calabacitas burritos and jackfruit sliders. Murtagh’s Bragg's Factory Diner, a Grand Avenue favorite, is scheduled to close Sunday, Oct. 4.

Details: 2201 N. Seventh St., Phoenix. 602-252-1322,

Waffle Love AZ

This popular Gilbert food truck — popular for selling decadent liege waffles with such toppings as Nutella, cream, strawberries, Biscoff and bananas — opened a brick-and-mortar store near Santan Village Parkway and Loop 202 in Gilbert.

Details: 2743 S. Market St., Gilbert.

Whiskey Row

Country music star and hometown boy Dierks Bentley opened his second Whiskey Row, at Mill Avenue and Sixth Street in Tempe, joining the original in Scottsdale. The All-American comfort food menu features such dishes as wings, whiskey burger, fried chicken, mac and cheese and meatball sliders. The bar selection boasts more than 50 craft beers on tap, including local brewhouses Huss and San Tan Brewing, and more than 60 kinds of whiskey.

Details: 640 S. Mill Ave., Tempe. 480-794-1477. Also, 4420 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale. 480-945-4200,


Look for wood-fired baked pasta, charcuterie boards and fresh oysters at this much-anticipated Italian restaurant from chef Peter DeRuvo, of Evo in Scottsdale, and restaurateur Nick Neuman. The spot opened at Fifth Street and Forest Avenue, in the former Revo Pizzabar space next to the Tempe Transportation Center.

Details: 200 E. Fifth St., Tempe. 480-907-6721,

Duza's Kitchen

Chef Mensur Duzic opened this breakfast and lunch spot in the former Astor House space in central Phoenix’s Coronado neighborhood. Prime beef hash and eggs, pumpkin quinoa porridge, savory crepe, beet salad with creamy dressing, eggplant caviar sandwich, cinnamon rolls and tea bread are among the globally inspired menu items.

Details: 2243 N. 12th St., Phoenix. 480-252-3787, search “Duza's Kitchen” on Facebook.

Sauce Pizza & Wine

Order one of the signature handmade pizzas, such as the spicy chicken sausage or rosemary potato, or build your own. Salads, bruschetta, pasta, paninis, soups, dessert, beer and wine round out the menu. The Sauce restaurant was developed by Fox Restaurant Concepts, but was taken over by local restaurateur Scott Kilpatrick earlier this year.

Details: 25 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 602-845-7007. Other locations at

Mad Greens

The Colorado-based chain opened branches in Tempe and Scottsdale in June. The healthful, fast-casual eatery lets diners customize salads by choosing among three leafy green bases such as spinach, kale or field greens and then adding toppings such apples, black beans, edamame, egg and toasted almonds. There are more than 20 dressing options. There are also signature salads, wraps, sandwiches and soups — many named after famously eccentric people and literary characters. The Annie Oakley has chicken, avocado, bacon and Swiss cheese.

Details: 6137 N. Scottsdale, Scottsdale. 602-314-8386. Also, 1515 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix. 602-314-8470,

Mod Pizza

Seattle-based Mod Pizza opened its fourth and fifth stores in the Phoenix area in September. Now available in Tempe and Mesa, the fast-casual eatery lets customers create their own pizzas, choosing from among 30 toppings. Pies are baked in an 800-degree oven in less than three minutes. Draft beers, wine, garlic bread, cinnamon bread and milkshakes are served.

Details: 1084 S. Signal Butte Road, Mesa. 602-283-9836. Also, 2020 E. Elliot Road, Tempe. 602-314-8166. Other locations at

Kneaders Bakery and Cafe

Two new Kneaders, in Chandler and Glendale, opened in September. The Utah-based franchise specializes in breakfast, sandwiches, soups, salads, pastries and breakfast items. The bread is made from scratch daily. Among the menu items are the turkey bacon avocado sandwich on focaccia, the chicken raspberry nut salad and, for dessert, cannoli. There are now 13 stores in Arizona.

Details: 1090 W. Queen Creek Road, Chandler. 480-355-0533. Also, 20630 75th Ave., Glendale. 623-223-1636. Other locations at

No Que No! Mexican Grill

You’ll find a mix of Mexican and American dishes on the menu at this new spot, which took over La Taverna Mexican Grill and Cantina on Scottsdale Road south of Thomas Road in south Scottsdale. Look for strawberry salmon salad, Mayan cochinita pibil, enchiladas, apple pancakes and menudo.

Details: 2515 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 480-941-6966, search "No Que No Mexican Grill" on Facebook.

Eklectic Pie

Top your pizza with as many ingredients as you desire at no extra cost at this locally owned fast-casual restaurant at Baseline Road and Stapley Drive in Mesa. If you’d rather trust your pie to the experts, pick a signature pizza such as the Meaty Italiano, Cowboy BBQ, Besto Pesto Chicken and Loaded Potato Skin.

Details: 1859 S. Stapley Drive, Mesa. 480-207-1613,

Spoonz Cafe

This cafe knows how to cater to the downtown crowd. Watch out for breakfast specials, such as a medium drip coffee and your choice of fresh-made strudel for $2.75. For lunch, try a soup, salad or sandwich with sweet potato fries or made-to-order potato chips. The newest location at the Collier Center in downtown Phoenix joins one at the US Bank Center and another at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix.

Details: 2 S. Second St., Phoenix. 602-252-2042. Other locations at


Make your own dessert at this self-serve yogurt shop near Power Road and Loop 202 in Gilbert. Choose a flavor such as Irish mint, salted caramel, chocolate, pumpkin, cookie dough and peach mango. Then top with such treats as banana, lychee, strawberry, frosted animal cookies, marshmallows and Reese’s.

Details: 5022 S. Power Road, Gilbert. 480-783-2441. Other locations at

Rick's Pub & Grub

Grab a pizza and watch NFL Sunday Ticket at this sports bar, which took over the former Duke’s on Ray and Rural roads in Chandler. Happy hour features $1 off beer and mixed drinks from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays.

Details: 4910 W. Ray Road, Chandler. 480-404-9407, search “Rick's Pub & Grub” on Facebook.

The Wild Vine Uncorked

This wine bar, near Gilbert and Chandler Heights roads in Chandler, serves small bites such as sliders, ceviche and bruschetta along with main dishes such as Chilean sea bass, garlic-roasted shrimp and rib eye.

Details: 4920 S. Gilbert Road, Chandler. 480-883-3492,

Pieology Pizzeria

This national build-your-own-pizza brand opened its third Arizona store in Chandler, in the former Baja Fresh space near Chandler Boulevard and Loop 101. Diners can select toppings or choose from one of the signatures, such as the rustic veggie, Alfredo’s Alfredo or classic margherita. Salads and cinnamon sugar strips are also served.

Details: 3450 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler. 480-963-3499. Other locations at

Jamba Juice

Fruit smoothies, juices, tea and energy bowls are sold at the newest Jamba Juice, located inside the Chandler Fashion Center mall. Pumpkin almond milk, banana berry, strawberries wild and carrot-orange are among the smoothie flavors offered.

Details: Chandler Fashion Center, Loop 101 and Chandler Boulevard in Chandler. 480-722-1427,


This ubiquitous American diner opened a branch in northeast Phoenix, near Scottsdale Road and Loop 101. The menu features breakfast, burgers, sandwiches, dinner main dishes and desserts.

Details: 7000 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix. 480-513-7417,


Amy’s Baking Company, notorious Scottsdale bistro that made international headlines in 2013 after a disastrous appearance on "Kitchen Nightmares."

Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, country music venue and restaurant on High Street in northeast Phoenix.

Coach and Willie’s, sports bar and restaurant in downtown Chandler.

Urban Vine, neighborhood restaurant from chef Michael O'Dowd.

The Revival, Mexican restaurant in downtown Tempe that was in the former Mucho Gusto space.

The Spot, fast-casual salad and sandwich spot in Gilbert.

La Calabria, an Italian restaurant in Gilbert. Owners plan to reopen soon.


Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-1919
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

Stopping waiters and bartenders who steal

June 10, 2015 19:03 by administrator

Stopping waiters and bartenders who steal
Local police officer offers advice to restaurateurs, diners
Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2015 5:00 am | Updated: 9:15 am, Mon Jun 8, 2015.

Heidi Prescott South Bend Tribune
Posted on Jun 7, 2015
by Heidi Prescott

Craig Whitfield spent years in restaurant dining rooms and bars. Not as a customer, however. As an investigator.
In the 10 years he worked as director of safety and security for one of the nation’s largest restaurant franchise companies, the Mishawaka native watched bartenders pocket profits and servers help themselves to more than their tips.

He saw servers delete entire meals from point-of-sales systems and pocket the money. He caught a bartender who had stolen $40,000 from a restaurant over five years by not always ringing in what customers had ordered to drink.

He describes helping Ohio police arrest a waitress at a national chain restaurant after she admitted to inflating her tips on credit card transactions several years ago. She stole more than $200 over five months from customers, including Whitfield when he posed as a customer and she doubled her $3 tip on his credit card.

“Most restaurant employees are honest, hardworking people. Unfortunately, the dishonest employees cast a bad light on the good ones,” Whitfield says. “When they get greedy, that’s when they hit the radar.”
Employee theft costs U.S. restaurants 4 to 5 percent in sales each year. The National Restaurant Association estimates that employee theft accounts for 75 percent of a restaurant’s inventory losses.
“With a million restaurants and bars across the country,” he says, “this loss is enormous.”

And the problem does not center around one brand or concept. It can affect any restaurant, anywhere, family owned or chain, 50 seats or 250 seats.
“Yes, it even happens here. We have a lot of restaurants,” Whitfield says. “It’s an industry where there’s easy access to cash, and thieves are thieves, no matter the restaurant.”
Whitfield has worked in law enforcement for most of his life. He spent 25 years with the Mishawaka Police Department working as an investigator. Not long after he retired, he decided to join the Memorial Hospital police department, where he currently serves as assistant chief.

He draws on a decade of experience investigating internal theft at restaurants in his book, “Guess Who’s Eating Your Profits: The Manager’s Essential Guide to Restaurant and Bar Loss Prevention and Investigations.” The book serves as a guide to restaurateurs, offering advice about how to identify, investigate and prosecute employees who might be stealing from their business.
“So many mom-and-pop restaurants and shops go under,” he says, “and the ones that do, often have theft going on in some fashion.”

His own mother and father, who owned the G & L Diner in the mid-’80s at the corner of Mishawaka Avenue and Division Street in Mishawaka, caught a server stealing from them.
“She was throwing the meal ticket away and pocketing the money,” he remembers. “I learned that just because the person is your friend, and they treat you nice, you can’t close your eyes to the fact that if your numbers are off, someone might be stealing from you.”

Cases of restaurant theft don’t always make newspaper headlines, because restaurateurs often try to deal with the situation in-house.
“But if you’re not wise to all the ways there are to steal, and you don’t know how to push back on an employee who denies wrongdoing, you’re set up for a tough investigation on your own,” he says.
In some cases, the crime can even affect restaurant diners who hand their server a credit or debit card. Whitfield offers consumers this advice:

• Protect your credit card. If it is taken from the table to complete the transaction, make sure the server returns your card. Sometimes a card can be swapped with a lookalike, which is usually a card left behind by another guest and was subsequently canceled,
• Track your dining purchases. Keep your receipts. Leaving a receipt behind sends a message to the server that you really don’t care. Your copy serves as a reminder to check the transaction against your bank draw. You can confirm the amount is what you actually authorized.
• Speak to a manager when you discover irregularities on your check.
“Guess Who’s Eating Your Profits...” is available at Barnes & Noble book sellers and Amazon. Hardcover costs $28.95 and softcover is $19.95.

Guess Who's Eating Your Profits...: The Manager's Essential Guide to Restaurant and Bar Loss Prevention and Investigations Hardcover – April 25, 2013

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-1919
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

20 places for guacamole in metro Phoenix

March 24, 2015 20:48 by administrator


Barbara Yost and Georgann Yara, Special for The Republic

PNI 0917 Otro

Whether served with tortilla chips or atop a quesadilla, guacamole is the chunky, creamy avocado-based mixture we've come to love. Here are 20 places in the Valley where you can find the dip that makes all other dips green with envy.


Barrio Cafe

Watch your Guacamole del Barrio made with flair, prepared right at your table after dinner service commences, with creamy avocados, tomatoes, red onion, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice and a dollop of pomegranate seeds for color and crunch ($11.50).

Details: 2814 N. 16th St., Phoenix. 602-636-0240,

Otro Cafe

Share the guacamole or pig out all by yourself with this dip made from avocados, Serrano chiles, onions, tomatillos, orange and cotija cheese, served with tortilla chips ($4.50 for a single, $7 to share, add $1 to substitute raw veggies for chips).

Details: 6035 N. Seventh St., Phoenix. 602-266-0831,

Taco Guild

Choose your flavor profile. Fresh guac is prepared with minced jalapeno, cilantro, fresh-squeezed lime, red onion and tomatoes, and then you add the rest by choosing house ($7.95) , grilled Serrano ($7.95) , caramelized pineapple-mint ($8.95) or jalapeño-bacon ($8.95) .

Details: 546 E. Osborn Road, Phoenix. 602-264-4143,

America's Taco Shop

Get four times the fun with the Cuatro, one bowl of chips served with three dips: salsa, bean dip and guacamole ($4.99 and $7.99).

Details: 1615 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 602-264-4229, other locations at

Modern Margarita

You can make a meal of the guacamole and chips ($6) , a chunky mound of avocado mash sprinkled with white cheese and diced tomatoes — simply indulgent.

Details: 5410 E. High St. (near 56th Street and Loop 101), Phoenix. 602-795-8111,

West Valley

The green chile burrito, chimichanga style, at Rito's

Rito's Burritos

For a lighter fare, the tostada with guacamole ($3.25) is the way to go. An amazingly light and crispy tortilla is sprinkled with beans, cheese and lettuce, then topped with a smear of guac.

Details: 7416 N. 51st Ave., Glendale. 623-939-3001.

Ayala's AZ Kitchen

Smash up some avocados, add onion, jalapeno and green chiles, serve it with chips and you've got Ayala's satisfying appetizer ($6.50).

Details: 8427 W. Peoria Ave., Peoria. 623-979-1121, search "AZ Kitchen" on Facebook.

Nino's Mexican Restaurant

The chefs make it simply: avocados with sour cream, salt and garlic. Have it with the chips that come free for the table (small $4.25, large $6.75).

Details: 10659 W. Grand Ave., Sun City. 623-931-3572, search "Nino's Mexican Restaurant" on Facebook.

Marley's Restaurant & Bar

Have your guac on a big, fat burger. The Guacamole Burger comes with a half-pound beef patty covered in guacamole, melted Swiss cheese, red onions, lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise. It's served with choice of fries, sweet-potato fries, kettle chips or a cup of soup ($10.49).

Details: 15226 W. Bell Road, Surprise. 623-251-4854,

Old Pueblo Cafe and Pub

How about some nachos with your guacamole? Old Pueblo's signature guacamole is the star of the Old Pueblo Nachos, a pile of chips with beans and cheese, lettuce, sour cream and choice of chicken, green-chile beef or red-chile beef ($9.95).

Details: 102 N. Old Litchfield Road, Litchfield Park. 623-935-5059,

Northeast Valley

Dried fruit and pomegranate guacamole from SumoMaya.

The Blind Pig

Have your guacamole with greens in the House Guacamole Salad, made with spring greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and croutons topped with a mound of guacamole drizzled with a vinaigrette ($4).

Details: 3370 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale. 480-994-1055,

Los Sombreros Cafe & Cantina

The guacamole is a chunky-creamy mix of white onion, tomato, jalapeno and cilantro piled high in a stone molcajete and topped with cotija cheese (small $6.95, large $10.95).

Details: 2534 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-994-1799. Also, 14795 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-991-1799,


It's all about fusion here and the guac is no exception. Go with the dried apricots and cranberries and pomegranate ($11) concoction, or explore the savory side with the bacon version, made with chicharrones and queso cojita ($11).

Details: 6560 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 480-397-9520,


At Iron Chef Jose Garces' restaurant, the regular guacamole is prepared with avocado, roasted jalapenos and cojita cheese ($10), but you can make it extra special with the addition of real crabmeat ($5 extra).

Details: The Saguaro, 4000 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale. 480-970-4444,

La Hacienda

Choose one of four varieties: regular, made with avocados, onions, cilantro and Serrano peppers ($15) ; pomegranate, made with pomegranate seeds, mango, apples, pistachios and balsamic vinegar ($17); spicy crab, with blue lump crab, chile arbol and heirloom tomato ($18); and pepita, with roasted pumpkin seeds, queso fresco and salsa morito ($16). Can't decide? The combo gets you the pepita, crab and pomegranate varieties ($20) . Serves four to six people.

Details: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 7575 E. Princess Drive. 480-585-4848,

Southeast Valley

Guacamole side dish at TQLA in Mesa.

Joyride Taco House

There's crunchy jicama in the guacamole here, along with tomatillos, roasted garlic, Serrano chiles, cilantro and onion. Served with chips ($8).

Details: 302 N. Gilbert Road, Gilbert. 480-632-8226. Also, 5202 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. 602-274-8226.

Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill

Prepared table-side and served with warm chips, this guac has tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, jalapenos, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and cotija cheese ($10.75).

Details: 7221 W. Ray Road, Chandler. 480-893-7550, other locations at


Served with chips, this guac is a mound of avocado, diced onion, tomatoes, cilantro, peppers, pumpkin seeds and lime juice ($8.75).

Details: 1840 S. Val Vista Drive, Mesa. 480-813-8752,

Restaurant Mexico

Simple and classic, this rendition is a favorite of native Phoenician, longtime Tempean and former U.S Representative Harry Mitchell. Fresh avocado is tossed with tomatoes, onion and just enough cilantro for a citrus bite ($3.50, $5, $6.20).

Details: 423 S. Mill Ave., Tempe. 480-967-3280,

Original Burrito Company

The taco salad is a fried tortilla shell filled with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, cheese, chicken or shredded beef and a crown of guacamole or sour cream ($6.89).

Details: 4949 E. Elliot Road, Phoenix. 480-893-3857,

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-1919
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

Taking Care of your "regulars" - Should you “comp” them or give them “a little extra?”

March 13, 2015 18:14 by administrator


By Ian Foster of Sculpture Hospitality

Your ‘regulars’ are critically important to the health of your business. Unless you operate an airport bar or a tourist-focused establishment, the regular guests who visit week in and week out are the backbone of your business.

So, how are you “looking after them?” How are you making sure that they feel appreciated and valued?

Many bar and restaurant operators have not really given this question much thought. But your bartenders probably have. If you don’t have a policy to acknowledge your regulars, your bartenders are almost certainly trying to do that by giving your regular customers heavily over–poured drinks.

And the odds are that this is benefiting your bartenders more than it’s benefiting your business.

Of course we need to look after our regulars. But letting our bartenders over-pour is ineffective – and far too costly. Here’s why:

  • Over-pouring becomes the new normal

Once you allow the bartenders to over-pour when they think it is warranted, the inevitable result is that almost everyone will get an over-poured drink. Maybe at first over-pours will just be for the regulars; but then the bartender's friends will benefit too; then employees from other bars; anyone who throws a buck into their tip jar; and, eventually, over-pouring just becomes habitual and almost every drink is routintely over-poured

  • It is impossible to manage

There is no way to track or control which guests are getting “a little extra.” Without this most basic information, your management team won't be able to see what is and isn't beneficial for your business.

  • It is too expensive


Every industry study has discovered that the average bar is losing 25% of their alcohol to over-pouring and lost sales. The Glenfiddich example (above) fits this pattern. Our client had priced his drinks based on a 1-1/2 ounce portion but the bartender poured over 2 ounces, representing a 26.8% over-pour. This level of over-pouring has the exact same effect as giving away one drink for every four sold. And no owner or general manager would comp at that rate to anyone.

  • Your regulars don't appreciate it

After awhile, this generosity is taken for granted or simply goes unnoticed. And even when they do notice, your guests don’t value it very highly, thinking only about the cost of the extra liquor, not your labor costs, rent, overhead, taxes and other costs: "they can afford it - a bottle of Jack Daniels only costs $25 and they're only giving me an extra 1/2 ounce".

So letting your bartenders over-pour your regulars is a poor policy. What should a bar operator do to make sure the regulars are happy? More on this next week.



Great Read … I loved it!

I had some comments about this too.

“And the odds are that this is benefiting your bartenders more than it’s benefiting your business.”

The bartenders aren’t benefiting that much either because when they give away drinks gratis they are losing actual sales which in turn decreases gratuities - well honest gratuities. Secondly, overpouring drinks a customer will reach an alcohol threshold quicker and thus not purchase as many full priced drinks which again reduces their gratuities. Lastly, overpouring drinks can develop dram shop liquor liability issues.

“After a while, this generosity is taken for granted or simply goes unnoticed.”

I really like this statement because it is so true. Giving somebody their first drink becomes the new normal to them and therefore it is taken for granted and if they ever are not given this "normal" gratis drink then they become disgruntled with the establishment. It's been over a decade since I owned a nightclub but what I did was tell our bartenders if they need to give a drink anyway give away something like a kamikaze shot with well liquor that cost less than a quarter. That way the guest feels like they still got the freebie drink but then ponies up for the five dollar beer.

Most importantly, in my opinion, any alcohol that is given away gratis should be directed to the hospitality of the owner and not used as a tool for a bartender to increase gratuities and/or social status. It's not his or her booze inventory - it's the owners. And they should be the ones to benefit.



Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-1919
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

Better to hear about atrocious service from us than on a Yelp! posting.

March 13, 2015 03:42 by administrator


Server:  Xxxxxx male, about xxxx, xxxxxxx light facial hair, wearing all black clothing, light brown hair, longer than traditional male cut, towel hanging on back of pants

The Agent and Associate seated themselves as was directed by the Host.  About 3 minutes afterwards the Agent and Associate were greeted by the Server.  The server did not provide his name nor did he ask if this was the Agent and Associate’s first time visiting the restaurant.  According to the receipt, the Server’s name was listed as “xxxx xxxxxx.”

The Server asked for the Agent and Associate’s drink order.  The Agent stated that the Agent was considering a specific specialty cocktail.  The Server quickly said “it’s horrible!” The Agent asked why he thought so and the Server responded “look at the ingredients.”

A drink order was placed.  The Server returned with the beverages shortly after.  Coasters were not used for any of the beverages.

The Server returned several times to ask if the Agent and Associate were ready to place a food order.  The Agent and Associate were not ready to place a food order.  The Server did not attempt to suggest any specific entrées or appetizers.

The Agent and Associate placed a food order.  The Agent and Associate also asked what time the kitchen would close as the Agent and Associate wished to order a dessert.  The Server stated that even after the kitchen closed he could still serve dessert.  He explained that the dessert that the Agent and Associate wanted was “just microwaved” and that he could do that.

The salad to one of the entrées was served about 5 minutes after that.

The Server did not provide any utensils or napkins before the salad was served.  The Agent and Associate attempted to request utensils but did not see the Server for several minutes.

A few minutes later the Busser brought out the entrées and the Agent and Associate requested utensils.  Entrées were brought out 13 minutes after the order was placed.

Shortly after that the Server returned with utensils.

At this time there was something found to be wrong with one of the dishes (see Food and Beverage section).  The Agent and Associate informed the Busser as he was walking by the area.  The Busser informed the Server and the Server returned to address the problem.

The Server later returned with the Manager and he addressed the problem as well.

The Server checked back during the meal a couple of times.

The Server asked the Agent and Associate if they still wanted to order dessert.  The Agent and Associate placed a dessert order. 

No coffee or after dinner drinks were offered.

Dessert was served about 4 minutes after ordering.  About 5 minutes after, the server returned to check on the Agent and Associate.

The server was friendly but really lacked professionalism.

At the end of the visit the Server personally shared that he was “normally not scheduled to work and that he would rather not be here today.”

The check was requested and processed in a timely manner.  The dish with the problem was comped.

The dessert was not included in the bill.

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

Craft breweries bubbling up in the West Valley

March 12, 2015 22:14 by administrator



Craft breweries bubbling up in the West Valley

Srianthi Perera, The Republic |

Hefeweizen - Color: Pale yellow to dark gold with a

Those thirsting for local craft beer in the West Valley have reason for cheers: The West Valley is catching up to the rest of the Valley's — and the nation's — emerging craft brewery scene.

At least five new independent breweries opened in the area recently and more are to follow. So far, owners of the breweries said business is booming.

Neal Farrell opened Peoria Artisan Brewing in downtown Litchfield Park at the end of 2013. It was the first brewery to open west of Loop 101.

"The response has been amazing," said Farrell, who now serves nearly 400 patrons at his 23-seat taproom that includes a food menu. "People love having someone local and yet will travel for new breweries. We have had people come from Apache Junction."

Jared Dubina opened his European brew pub, Dubina Brewery, in Glendale last August. Last month, he served his European-style beer to about 3,300 patrons, most of them Millennials.

"Each month, we've experienced a 12 to 15 percent growth, month over month," Dubina said. "That's really good."

A first for Avondale

Avondale native Ryan Whitten, a home brewer for 11 years, said he is spending almost all his savings — $150,000, plus some funding from an investor — to create the 8-Bit Brewery. Whitten, a 31-year-old online marketer, said his hobby "turned to a passion that turned to an obsession" that's finally panning out.

Working together

The West Valley's brewery owners don't view each other as rivals. They are friends, they said. And they often brew collaboratively, experimenting with different brew techniques and helping each other.

"The brewing community is awesome. None of us look to each other as competition," Whitten said. "We're a very tight-knit community, and our competition is domestics like Bud Light, Miller Light and Coors."

The collaboration helps them promote their craft.

"Somebody who drinks craft beer gets really intrigued by it and wants to try other people's stuff," Dubina said.

Rob Fullmer, who heads the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild, said there are 3,000 breweries across the country, with about 60 in Arizona.

He estimates its value in the state at about $60 million in direct impact and $1.2 billion in indirect impact, creating about 4,000 jobs.

"For one brewer job, it's estimated there are 45 jobs outside the brewery that supports that job," Fullmer said.

The growing interest in home brewing has run parallel with people wanting to start breweries and explore new flavors, along with the natural food movement, he said. This has spurred interest across the state.

"But I think you're seeing them on the west side because of the landscape," he said. "You have a concentration of new development out there that's probably getting into maturity and some of the entertainment areas and shopping areas are being established, just like it was 10 years ago in the East Valley."

Fullmer said a lot of excitement is being generated by these neighborhood breweries.

"It just goes back to how we're maturing as a city and we're getting away from those big developments and we're wanting to meet our neighbors and we're wanting to do things in the community," he said. "To have a place somewhere where you can walk to or bike to that's close to your house, I think a lot of people want that."

Flavor, taste testing are key

Whitten said craft beer's popularity hinge on their unique flavors. "We're on smaller systems, so we can experiment, we can put stuff in a beer that hasn't been put into beer before," he said.

One example is his imperial stout, which has ingredients Mayans put in their chocolate — honey, Mexican vanilla, Mexican cinnamon, annatto powder, ancho chili pepper and Peruvian cacao nuts.

"I love making beer and I love watching people drink the beer that I've made," he said. "I've been to a couple of events and watched people's faces light up, and it's great."

Whitten's brewery incorporates a beer tasting room that can accommodate 46 people, with 14-foot ceilings and equally tall windows. It isn't exactly tucked away in a neighborhood, but he said it's a great location for a production brewery such as his.

"A production brewery's location is not quite as important as it would be for a restaurant," he said. "People don't normally stumble upon them. They've already had the beer at a bar and want to go to the brewery."

As 8-Bit's opening draws near, Whitten reflected on the roller coaster journey of creating his business. It was a major decision by him and his wife to fund it almost entirely by themselves, and the couple plans to work the brewery without hiring staff for now.

They are using a homemade keg washer to clean their 68 kegs, two at a time. Practice runs have been successful. Helped on by video game music, Whitten is making the first batches of the beer and nostalgia abounded in the brew house.

"It's pretty much complete," he said.

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Toll Free: 800-880-0811


Bill amended to allow craft brewers to increase beer production

March 11, 2015 21:18 by administrator


Bill amended to allow craft brewers to increase beer production

Ryan Randazzo, The Republic |

With dozens of microbreweries in the Valley, there's

Arizona's craft breweries have compromised on a bill that will allow them to produce more beer than currently allowed in the state while maintaining their restaurants and bars.

The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild is pushing for a change in state law this year that would clarify that the nearly 60 microbreweries could maintain restaurants and bars after exceeding a certain amount of production. Senate Bill 1030 was held up last month in a committee when the bill's opponents raised questions about its legality.

The Guild then compromised on an amendment, which passed its first test Monday while advancing unanimously through the Senate committee where it had been held up. The bill's sponsor is Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City.

The new bill language will allow microbreweries to produce as much as 200,000 barrels of beer annually among multiple locations. The cap is 40,000 barrels today. A barrel is 31 gallons, or two full-size kegs.

"This is exactly what we asked for," said Rob Fullmer, executive director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild.

Breweries need to know there is a path for them to continue growing if they are to continue investing in Arizona, he said.

Under the current law, brewers who make more than 40,000 barrels of beer a year are not allowed to run restaurants. That means the bigger breweries in the state, such as Four Peaks Brewing Co., can't keep expanding without selling or closing their restaurants, or changing the law.

Supporters hope the amended SB 1030 moves through a full vote of the Senate this week.

Under a three-tier system that dates back to the end of Prohibition, a company only can be a producer, distributor, or retailer of beer in the state, and can't do business as more than one of those.

In 1987, Arizona passed special rules to allow small brewers to make and sell beer at their restaurants and bars. That allows them to act as a producer and retailer, with no distributor.

Arizona brewers making less than 40,000 barrels of beer a year get special privileges, such as being allowed to "self-distribute" beer to a second location themselves without a distributor. Current law also allows them to self-distribute 3,000 barrels of beer a year to other retailers.

Under the amended bill, a brewer would have to give up those self-distribution rights once it exceeds 40,000 barrels, except for its on-site retail sales. Brewers also could not expand to any new retail locations once exceeding 40,000 barrels.

"We don't know of any opposition at all," Fullmer said of the amended bill.

The three companies that originally opposed SB 1030 approve of the amendments, Fullmer said. Those companies were Alliance Beverage Distributing, Southern Wine and Spirits and Young's Market. Collectively, the opponents refer to themselves as the Arizona Wine and Spirits Association.

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Toll Free: 800-880-0811