Department of Revenue earns back-to-back awards



Kacey Collins and Lisa Scates

The Liquor Education Unit of the Montana Department of Revenue recently earned the third annual Leadership in Alcohol Regulation Award by the national Center for Alcohol Policy. Alcohol Education Coordinator Lisa Scates and Liquor Education Professional Kacey Collins were presented with the award in September at the Center’s eighth annual Alcohol Law and Policy Conference in Chicago. The leadership award recognizes a program, agency or person that oversees the alcohol industry and promotes public safety. The award highlights effective best practices that may serve as examples to alcohol regulators in other states. The Center for Alcohol Policy is a nonprofit organization that educates policy makers, regulators and the public about alcohol, focusing on its uniqueness and regulation. The Department of Revenue’s Liquor Education Unit has developed a broad network of community partners, brought in more than 240 active volunteer trainers and expanded and updated the state training program Let’s Control It. The unit has worked with statewide partners to launch efforts such as the Montana Community Change Project, DUI task forces across the state, the Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan Alcohol Strategy Implementation team and the Interagency Coordinating Council on State Prevention Programs.


The Liquor Education Unit also earned the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Performance. Their leadership advanced public health and safety by promoting responsible sales, service programs and education. They collaborated with several partners to develop and hold Montana’s first Alcohol Education Summit that brought nearly 200 alcohol stakeholders together for two days of education, dialogue and sharing of best practices. Attendees strategized and worked together on issues related to alcohol education and enforcement. The unit also launched a new partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to broaden outreach efforts to parents.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Who needs responsible alcohol sales and service training?

Q. Do I need responsible alcohol sales and service training if I sell or serve alcohol?

Yes. You must complete a state-approved program within 60 days of hire.

Q. If I supervise an employee who sells or serves alcohol and I don’t serve or sell myself, do I need responsible alcohol server training?


Q. Are volunteers required to have responsible alcohol sales and service training?

Yes. All volunteers need training unless they are working under a special permit.

Q. Do all licensees need responsible alcohol sales and service training?

No. Only licensees that actually serve or sell alcohol need responsible alcohol sales and service training.

Q. Do employees who remove alcohol from the table when cleaning up need to get responsible alcohol sales and service training?

No. Only people who serve or sell need training.

Q. If an employee has current training from their previous employer, do they still need to go through responsible alcohol sales and service training?

No. As long as the training is from a state-approved program and is not older than three years.

Q. Is responsible alcohol sales and services training mandatory for both on and off premise locations?

Yes. The law applies to all retail establishments and manufacturers who are licensed to serve or sell alcoholic beverages.

Q. Do agency liquor store employees need to have responsible alcohol sales and service training?

No. Agency liquor stores are under contract and do not have a liquor license.

Q. Does the responsible alcohol sales and service training requirement apply to airlines?

No. Airlines are exempt under the law because they are not a retail establishment or manufacturer.

What does training cost and where I can find classes?

Q. Is there a list of state-approved responsible alcohol sales and server training programs?

Yes. State-approved programs.

Q. Can I search for a state-approved Let’s Control It class?

Yes. On the state calendar.

Q. Is online responsible alcohol sales and service training acceptable?

Yes. But it must be from a state-approved program.

Q. Is there a cost for responsible alcohol sales and service training?

Yes. The state's Let’s Control It program can cost up to $15 per person depending on the trainer. Other state-approved training programs are run by for-profit companies that set their own fees.

Q. Can I make my employees pay for responsible alcohol sales and service training?

Yes. The law doesn’t specify who is financially responsible for the cost of training.

Q. Do responsible alcohol sales and service classes have to be a certain length?

Yes. All classes must last at least three hours.  

Q. Can I order free education materials?

Yes. You may order free education materials on our website.

Q. Is there a way to check a person’s responsible alcohol sales and service training record?

Yes. You can print out a valid training verification on our website.

Q. Is there a sign I must display if I sell alcohol?

Yes. The Notice to Persons Under the Age of 21 sign must be displayed.

Q. Is there a sign I must display if I sell tobacco?

Yes. You must display the Montana Tobacco sign.

What kind of proof of training do I need to have?

Q. Do state-approved responsible alcohol sales and service training programs issue a proof of training document?

Yes. All state-approved programs are required to issue proof of training.

Q. Do I need to send in proof of responsible alcohol sales and service training to the department?

No. However, you will need to provide proof when asked by the Department of Revenue.

Q. As an employer, do I need to keep a copy of proof of training for my employees?

Yes. You should keep a copy in your employee records and the original belongs to the employee.

Do I have to renew my training certification?

Q. Does a server or seller need to get renewal responsible alcohol sales and service training?

Yes. Servers and sellers need training every three years from a state-approved program.

What happens if I or my servers and sellers don’t have training? What if we break alcohol sales and service laws?

Q.Is the mandatory responsible alcohol sales and service training requirement enforced?

Yes. When a violation for a sale to underage or intoxicated persons occurs, the department will ask the licensee for proof of training for their employees. 

Q. Can law enforcement inspect any licensed establishment at any time?

Yes. A law enforcement officer may enter your location at any time for any reason.

Q. Are there administrative penalties for a no-training violation?


First offense: $50 penalty

Second offense: $200 penalty

Third offense: $350 penalty

Q. Can a no-training violation be mitigated?

No. Only the penalty can be mitigated. The count will still go against the license.

Q. Is a no-training violation another count on the liquor license?


Q. Are there criminal penalties for a seller or server who sells alcohol to an underage person? 


First offense: $500 fine and possible jail time up to 6 months.

Second offense: $1,000 fine and possible jail time up to 6 months.

Q. Are there administrative penalties for a liquor license holder if their establishment sells
 alcohol to an underage or intoxicated person?


First offense: $250 fine

Second offense: $1,000 fine

Third offense: $1,500 fine and up to a 20-day suspension

Fourth offense: license revoked

What are some regulations about selling and serving alcohol?

Q. Does a person who serves or sells alcohol have to ask a customer for identification?

Yes. The person actually serving or selling the alcohol should be the person carding customers.

Q. Are there certain types of identification that can be accepted as proof-of-age to purchase alcohol?

Yes. Any valid government-issued form of identification is acceptable.

Most common forms used in Montana:

Current state or Canadian driver license or identification card

Current armed service identification card

Valid passport or passport card

Montana tribal identification card

Montana temporary driver license and identification card

Montana probationary driver license

Q. Should I serve or sell to a person if they provide a fake or altered identification?

No. Refuse the sale. If you confiscate the fake or altered identification, you must turn it over to your local law enforcement agency.

Q. Can I sell or serve alcohol to someone who is intoxicated?

No. It is illegal to sell or serve alcohol to anyone who is actually, apparently, or obviously intoxicated.

Q. Does a person have to be a certain age to serve alcohol in Montana?

Yes. On premise locations: You must be 18 or older to serve open container alcohol. For example: waiter, waitress, or bartender.

No. Off premise locations: There is no age limit for a person to sell closed container alcohol. There are Fair Labor Standards that say youth must be at least 14 for most nonagricultural work.

Q. Is there a standard drink equivalency?

Yes. Drinks that have the same amount of ethyl (pure) alcohol (approximately 0.6 oz.) are also known as Standard Drink Units (SDU): 

1.5 fluid ounce drink of 80 proof distilled spirits

5 fluid ounces of wine

12 fluid ounces of beer or wine cooler

8 to 9 fluid ounces of a malt liquor

Q. Can alcohol be opened or consumed at an agency liquor store?

No. Alcoholic beverages may not be opened or consumed at an agency liquor store.

Q. Is there any law that limits the amount of drinks an establishment can serve at one time to each customer?

Yes. Only for breweries and distilleries. Breweries can’t provide more than 48 ounces per person and distilleries may only provide two ounces per person.

Q. Are there certain types of food an establishment can serve to help slow down the absorption of alcohol?

Yes. Foods with a high percent of fat and protein like pizza, chicken wings, cheese sticks, and deep fried foods will slow the alcohol absorption rate.

Q. Are there certain hours that an agency liquor store is open for business?

Yes. They may be open between 8 am and 2 am Tuesday through Saturday. They may be open on Sunday if they have an exemption filed with the department. Agency stores must be closed on Sundays and legal holidays.

Q. Are there hours that a liquor establishment is allowed to be open for the sale of alcohol?


Retail locations may sell/serve between 8 am and 2 am. If there is another lawful business such as a hotel, restaurant, bus depot, railway terminal, grocery store, or pharmacy at the same location, they may remain open to conduct that other business, but may not sell alcohol.

Breweries may provide samples between the hours of 10 am and 9 pm but must stop selling at 8 pm and no more than 48 ounces per person. 

Distilleries may provide samples between the hours of 10 am and 8 pm with no more than two ounces per person.

Restaurants may sell alcohol between the hours of 11 am and 11 pm. 

Q. Is it against the law for children to be in a bar after a specific time?

No. However, a liquor establishment may set their own house policy that restricts age.

Q. Can someone under the age of 21 sit at the bar?

Yes. However, a liquor establishment may set their own house policy that restricts it.

Q. Can an underage person legally buy a beverage that contains alcohol?

Yes. Any beverage that contains less than 0.5% alcohol by volume is not considered an alcoholic beverage in Montana.

Q. Are there penalties for an underage person who attempts to purchase alcohol?


First offense:  Fine between $100 and $300, 20 hours community service, driver license confiscated for 30 days, pay costs for participation in a community-based substance abuse course.

Second offense: Fine between $200 and $600, 40 hours community service, driver license confiscated for 6 months, pay costs for participation in a community-based substance abuse course and complete a chemical dependency assessment and treatment.

Third offense: Fine between $300 and $900, 60 hours community service, driver license confiscated for 6 months, pay costs for participation in a community-based substance abuse course, and complete a chemical dependency assessment and treatment.




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Liquor Education Unit


The Liquor Education Unit participates in community events, DUI Task Force meetings, Highway Traffic Safety Plan meetings, Interagency Coordinating Council on State Prevention Programs (ICC), on the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA) education committee and provides law enforcement trainings. To request a visit or training by the Liquor Education Unit call (406) 444-4307.

Please feel free to contact any of the below staff members if you have any questions:

Lisa Scates

Alcohol Education Coordinator

(406) 444-4307 - LiScates@mt.gov

Kacey Collins

Liquor Education Professional

(406) 444-6457 - KCollins@mt.gov

Liquor Education Unit

Unit website: AlcoholServerTraining.mt.gov
Unit e-mail: AlcoholServerTraining@mt.gov

 Trainer Application

Let's Control It Liquor Education Logo

Do you want to become a state-certified trainer for the Let's Control It program?

The Department of Revenue (DOR) is responsible for implementing the state's responsible alcohol sales and service training program, Let's Control It. DOR relies heavily on volunteer trainers to provide training across the state. The department conducts recruitment for trainers every year between January through March. Once the recruitment period has closed, approved applicants are notified of the dates and locations for the six hour Train-the-Trainer sessions. Train-the-Trainer sessions are held April through September.

You can complete and submit the application either online or through the mail:

By mail:

Liquor Education
Liquor Warehouse
2517 Airport Road
Helena, MT 59601

Additional Information

State Trainer Criteria
State Trainer Application and Supplemental Questions

 Liquor Education Laws

Let's Control It Liquor Education Logo

16-4-1003 MCA - Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service Training Act

Responsible alcohol sales and service training is mandatory in the state of Montana. Liquor license holders are required to ensure that all employees who serve or sell alcohol, their immediate supervisor and the licensee, if they serve or sell themselves,  are trained through a state approved training provider. Training must occur within 60 days of hire and every three years thereafter. Licensees are also required to maintain employment records verifying employee completion of training.

Alcohol server training includes ways to identify and prevent sales and service to underage persons by covering ways to identify fake or altered identification, how to refuse a sale or service and how to handle difficult situations. Additionally, server training also covers the signs of intoxication, standard drink units, behavior cues and evaluation models to help determine intoxication and prevent over-service.

ARM 42.13.903(6) - Cost
The law is silent as to whether the licensee or the employee is responsible for the cost of the training. This is to be determined by agreement between the licensee and employee.


Need some help writing a policy for your business? Listed below are some examples to get you started.


Disclaimer: The sample “house policy” described in this document is intended only to serve as a suggestion based on the experiences of other similar business owners. The Department is not providing legal advice in this document; we strongly recommend that you consult your attorney when creating and implementing your business’ policies.  This document does not in any way supersede or augment the statutes and administrative rules that apply to alcoholic beverage licensees.  Your choice to use this document does not in any way mitigate or excuse any violations and will not reduce any penalty or liability your business may face for any such violation.  The State of Montana, including the Department of Revenue, will not in any way be liable for any damages of any kind that may result from your decision to use this document.


Alcohol Sales Policy example one

Alcohol Sales Policy example two

Alcohol Sales Policy example three

Alcohol Sales Policy example four

Alcohol Sales policy example five template

Alcohol Sales Policy example five how to complete template


Register for Liquor Education Classes

Listed below are the current educational opportunities the Liquor Education Unit is offering.

Please register for your desired class. Please call 406-444-4307 if you have any questions


Law Enforcement Education Classes

Register for This Class

Scheduled Classes
Date Time Location
Tuesday, April 25, 2017 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Law Enforcement Academy. Main Classroom, Room number 121

2260 Sierra Road East

Helena MT



Liquor Licensee Training

Register for This Class

Scheduled Classes
Class Date Time Location
No classes are currently scheduled


 Conference Registration

2017 Alcohol Education Summit

August 15-17, 2017

Big Sky Resort, Bozeman, MT

This year's free Alcohol Education Summit will be held at the Yellowstone Conference Center at beautiful Big Sky Resort. The Yellowstone Conference Center sits at the base of Lone Peak. The climate is sunny with low humidity with cool Summer nights. Temperatures range from 70 to 80 degrees and daylight hours stretch to nearly 10:30 pm. The elevation is 7,500 feet and a tram ride will land you at 11,166 feet. The conference center is located just 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park.

Big Sky Resort affords many activities. These include an 18 hole Arnold Palmer designed golf course, world-class zipline, high ropes course, paintball course, bungee trampoline, disc golf, hiking, biking swimming, spa services and shopping. Off-mountain you will find Yellowstone National Park tours, fly-fishing, rafting and horseback riding.

The Alcohol Education Summit is great for:

• Law enforcement officers

• Probation officers

• Parole officers

• Health prevention specialists

• Addiction counselors

• Attorneys

• Judges

• State certified alcohol seller/server trainers

• Community coalitions

• DUI Task Forces

• Courts.

Download our summit flyer


We are currently accepting nominations for the following categories:

• Outstanding Community Program of the Year

• Volunteer of the Year

• Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

• Prevention Specialist of the Year

• Trainer of the Year

• DUI Task Force of the Year

• Community Coalition of the Year

• Outstanding Service

Nominations will close on May 1, 2017. More information regarding each category can be found on the nomination form.

Please save the completed form and email your nomination to AlcoholServerTraining@mt.gov.

Call for Presenters

Call for presenters is currently underway. A wide variety of submissions are encouraged. Examples include: effects of de-regulation, criminal over-service operations, high risk impaired drivers, changing the drinking culture, community messaging, Adverse Childhood Experiences, DUI case law, working with Tribal Nations, prosecuting DUIs, administrative over-service violations, Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), marijuana regulation, trade associations, etc.

Call for presenters will close on April 1, 2017. Submission forms should be emailed to AlcoholServerTraining@mt.gov.


Hotel Information

Big Sky Resort
50 Big Sky Resort Road
Big Sky, MT 59716

You can only reserve your hotel room by calling (800) 548-4486, use group code 2017 Alcohol Education Summit.

Download the Room Description and Facility Map.

Group room rates have been extended to three days before and three days after the Alcohol Education Summit. Room rates start at $139 plus 19% tax. One nights lodging is required at the time of booking. Check in time is 5 pm and check out time is 11 am.

Room reservation includes complimentary pool, hot tub and fitness center access. Guests will also receive a 10% discount on greens fees at the Big Sky Resort Golf Course. (nine hole rounds excluded) Block room rate will close July 14, 2017.

Airport transportation is available through:

• Karst Stage

• Big Sky Shuttle and Taxi

For questions, please contact Lisa Scates LiScates@mt.gov, (406) 444-4307.

2017 Alcohol Education Summit Registration Form