Four out of five Montrose businesses fail the alcohol compliance check
By Caroline Wigmore
WRIGHT COUNTY, MN The latest round of alcohol compliance checks through Wright County has been one of the worst in years, according to Jill Hylla, Wright County health promotion coordinator.
Four out of five of the businesses tested in Montrose failed the check, including Casey’s General Store, Great Northern Bar and Grill, Clark Gas Station (formerly the 12 Hi Superette), and The Ugly Bar.
It was a first-time offense for the Ugly Bar and the Clark Gas Station, which will result in a $200 fine.
For the Great Northern Bar and Grill and Casey’s General Store, it was a second-time offense, which will result in a $500 fine.
Two businesses that failed from Delano are Applebee’s, and Dave’s Town Club. Applebee’s is a first-time offender and will be fined $750. Dave’s Town Club is a second-time offender and will be fined $500.
According to Delano City Clerk Marlene Kittock, the reason why Dave’s Town Club has a lower fee, in spite of the fact that it has received its second offense, is because the establishment is involved with the city’s “Best Practices” program, also called, “RU 21.”
Under this program, Delano businesses receive lenience in fines. Participants who receive their first compliance failure will receive a $250 fine, whereas nonparticipants will pay $750 for the first violation.
“Generally, the failure rate is about 10 percent,” Hylla said. This year, the failure rate is a high 29 percent.
“Many failures were due to the sellers’ inability to read an ID properly,” Hylla added.
Not only does the business face a civil penalty, but the server also faces a criminal gross misdemeanor charge.
Fines are set by each city unless the establishment is located in a township. If so, the business receives a fine from the county, according to Hylla.
Under Minnesota statute, cities can fine up to $2,000 for each violation, up to a 60-day license suspension, and/or revocation, depending on the city’s ordinance, according to Hylla.
For example, the City of Hanover charges a $100 fine, which is the lowest in the county. Otsego, on the other hand, charges $2,000 for first-time offenders.
Wright County Public Health continues to host alcohol sales training and all local establishments are notified of trainings and are encouraged to send staff, according to Hylla.
Cities like Howard Lake, Buffalo, and Annandale are not involved with county compliance checks because they have their own police departments, according to Hylla.