Practicing Responsible Appreciation

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Last year I received an amazing gift in the mail (see photo). I call it a gift because it is a great reward for all the work, attention, and care I’ve put into training others to become responsible alcohol servers. I certainly had not been keeping track, but to realize that I’ve helped more than 100 people achieve Training for Intervention ProcedureS (TIPS) certification was gratifying.

Practicing Responsible Appreciation

Of course we all know this, but a reminder is always good: promoting responsible appreciation and preventing intoxication, drunk driving, and underage drinking should be a daily goal and a priority for anyone and everyone who works in the alcohol beverage industry. We also need to prioritize responsible appreciation for ourselves.

Different states have different regulations regarding server training; in some states it is mandatory. Regardless, any and all training helps to reduce risk, inform and empower servers, and leads to safer, healthier customers.

We know that many in the beer community serve up beer education on a daily basis, including quality, pairing prowess, and sales potential. It’s also important to study how the beverage of beer impacts the wellness and behavior of those who consume it.

What Ways Do You Address This Topic?

How I personally choose to address the topic is to be a certified TIPS trainer, which requires me to conduct a minimum of one training per year, and take an annual retest to show that I’m still in touch with the main concepts of the program.

I also exercise regularly. What does this have to do with beer consumption? Planning to get up early almost every morning to work out provides its own balance and empowers healthy choices: it means not having that dessert, late-night coffee or caffeinated tea, or additional beer. Don’t get me wrong. I love beer just like the rest of us, and I’d drink many beers every night…if I could. However, that’s not sustainable or practical. The point of a workout is that it takes work—and it’s simply harder to exercise when one has overindulged in food or drink the night before. So as another tactic of responsible appreciation, exercise plays a key role in my consumption.

When I co-authored my book with Gwen Conley (Beer Pairing: The Essential Guide From the Pairing Pros, Voyageur Press 2015), I made a commitment to donate my profits to the Foundation for Alcohol Research, an entity dedicated to exploring how alcohol affects our health, its use in society, and the benefits and detriments related to its consumption.

Although labeling on beer must not contain health related statements, if we as individuals invest not only in the appreciation of beer, but in responsible appreciation and awareness of beers potential attributes and detriments, we are on the right path. Being consciously in touch with what you, your friends, and your customers are doing in regard to alcohol consumption is proper practice. Watch for behavior cues. Consider intoxication rate factors and insist on responsible service when you are the one serving or being served—both for liability and also because it’s the right thing to do.