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State Alcoholic Beverage Control Modernizes Business Process

The department is working with two technology providers to update how it engages on training and pricing, partially in response to state legislation.

Screenshot of the homepage of the website for the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
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The state entity responsible for licensing, education and enforcement related to alcohol is modernizing its processes and user experience.

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) went live this spring with a new portal aimed at helping industry stay up to date on training requirements — but more updates are in the works. Among the takeaways:

  • ABC went live March 22 with the Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) Portal Minimum Viable Product (MVP), as part of its business modernization (BizMod). It’s designed to let “alcoholic beverage servers, licensees, and training providers” make sure they’re in compliance with training requirements, according to a news release from the contractor, HHS Technology Group, which was awarded the contract in January 2020. The BizMod project includes RBS and online renewals as part of licensing services.

    “We will continue to work on RBS post-MVP user stories as we start the work on our licensing services, beginning with online renewals for ABC licensees,” ABC Chief Information Officer Jeff Obrecht told Techwire via email. The department has successfully deployed two more post-MVP releases in roughly the following month.
  • A separate functionality that’s not part of BizMod is Price Posting, which lets wholesalers post beer prices in the system; it started the fourth phase of its go-live rollout on April 19. ABC has worked with Cambria Solutions to develop this solution. The rollout has been divided into six phases, with phases 1-3 for manufacturers to input product information and phases 4-6 for wholesalers to submit prices. Dividing the rollout has enabled more timely issue resolution by ABC staff.
  • The RBS portal was set in motion by the Responsible Beverage Service Training Act of 2017, which was aimed at curbing “alcohol-related harm within local communities, particularly in regards to drunk driving and alcohol-related crimes,” according to the League of California Cities. It mandated alcoholic beverage servers in the state be able to attend training by July 1 on the “dangers of overserving alcohol to patrons.” The League estimated the new law requires training for 600,000 servers. ABC has worked with HHS Technology and the California Department of Technology on the new RBS portal, which the contractor described as “a state-of-the-art platform for addressing the legislation’s new licensing and educational requirements.”

    “We are proud to collaborate with the state of California to support comprehensive training and education for alcoholic beverage servers,” Tommy Swider, HHS’ executive vice president of professional services, said in a statement.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.