Liquor license suspended for serving minors

A Carson City business owner Thursday vowed to change the practices at his liquor store that resulted in the suspension of his liquor license for a week.

Sierra Wines, 1442 E. William St., will be closed for seven days beginning Feb. 24 after its license was suspended by the Carson City Liquor Board because clerks at the business were cited three times within six months for serving alcohol to underage Carson City Sheriff's decoys participating in Alcohol Compliance Checks.

Owner Puneet Kalia said he was embarrassed by the violations.

"Basically we made mistakes and didn't ask for IDs," Singh said. "(The clerks) went on appearance of the person rather than asking for the ID. So now we are going to invest money into a machine, technology that nobody can get past. People will have to give an ID.

"It's unfortunate that has happened and we are sorry that we had to go through this. It is definitely an embarrassing thing."

According to Sheriff Ken Furlong, underage decoys working with deputies with an Enforcement of Underage Drinking Laws grant, were sold alcohol by clerks at Sierra Wine in September, October and January.

The first two clerks were not only cited, but arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally, said Furlong.

Furlong said when a business is cited three times they must appear before the liquor board hearing officer to explain the circumstances of the offense. A first violation is a $632 ticket for the clerk and a $100 fine for the business. A second violation if a $632 ticket for the clerk and a $500 fine for the business. A third violation is a $632 ticket for the clerk and $1,500 fine for the business. Additionally, on a third violation, a week suspension also is generally levied, said Furlong.

Though the notice of the suspension took place Monday, Singh has 15 days to appeal.

Singh said he will not appeal the suspension. He will instead close down the liquor store, which opened in July.

"By choice we are going to close it for a week," Singh said. "It's just a reminder to myself what an embarrassment and loss of business this is going to cause me. I live in this community. It wasn't the fines and loss of business, the embarrassment is more concerning to me. Like, how could we do it not once, not twice, how could we do it all the time? How could we be so stupid? We just happen to be the unfortunate one - unfortunate because of our negligence. We were not careful enough so here are the consequences."

Singh said the new machine is already in place at the business.

"We are also getting a new point-of-sale system which does not allow the sale to complete unless the date of birth has been put in. And they'll have to get the date of birth from the ID. So they'll have to ask for the ID," said Singh.

"We're hardworking people and we're not here to jeopardize our living or anyone's life."


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