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Acton Selectmen Meet with Restaurant Owners for Over-Serving Alcohol

What steps Tailgaters Grille has taken to curb over-serving alcohol after an incident last year.

Acton's Board of Selectmen met with the owners of Monday night to discuss an incident that happened on June 13, 2011. Just a few months after Tailgaters Grille officially opened in April of 2011, a who was charged with leaving the scene of property damage, speeding and OUI (second offense); he told the arresting officer that he had three beers at Tailgaters Grille before the crash. According to the police report, his blood-alcohol level was 0.18%, significantly higher than the legal limit of 0.08%. See full police report.

When someone is charged with an OUI and it is discovered that he/she consumed alcohol at a restaurant/bar in town, it is the duty of the Acton Board of Selectmen (BOS) to determine if the establishment is properly serving alcohol. So the selectmen met on Monday with the owners of Tailgaters Grille, where they stressed the importance of being conscientious when serving alcohol to customers.

“We have to rely on what you do there every day in order to keep the people in our streets safe and if you put somebody out there who has over-bought (alcohol) and goes out there and kills somebody, you’re going to wear that and carry that with you and we don’t want you to have to deal with that,” said BOS Chair Mike Gowing. “This is a partnership and we’re just trying to keep people safe.”

This particular court case was wrapped up in December, 2011, but the BOS was unaware of the incident until recently; same with the owners of Tailgaters Grille. Owners Dean Weeks and Kimberly Gehlerg presented to the BOS a few changes that they made immediately following their knowledge of the incident.

  • One employee was fired for violating their serving alcohol policy, while drastically cutting down the hours of another employee.
  • A camera system that has a seven-day recording window with the capability for the owners and managers to view on their computers and mobile devices was installed.
  • Bartenders are now randomly checked by owners and managers for proper serving techniques, i.e. mixing the proper amount of alcohol in a drink.

The owners also said they have been making an effort since last summer to become more family-friendly.

“I will say that when we opened up we were learning Acton’s demographics,” said Gehlerg. “Right around July we wanted to make a conscious effort in changing the environment that was there. It was a learning curve for us and we tried very hard and we lost business for quite some time because of the transition and we accepted it but that’s what we wanted to have – a comfortable atmosphere so we didn’t have to worry about bad behavior.” 

Board member Janet Adachi referred to the police record of the person slapped with the OUI in basically saying the drunk driving charge was not all Tailgater's fault.

“I have to say that this particular person – I read the police blotter and this person showed up twice (on the blotter) for another reason and so it may be that you confronted somebody who was going to be a difficult person anyway and it is not necessarily a reflection on you,” said Adachi. “In any event, now you’re going to be aware of this issue.”

pete February 29, 2012 at 03:48 PM
How silly. If I go rob a bank, can I then get the bank in trouble for letting me do it? This clown is on his *second OUI offense* - clearly he will find a way to get more booze if he wants it.
Terry February 29, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Kinda bogus. Who determines over-serving anyway? Is someone supposed to walk around the bar all night and administer random breathalyzer checks? You could hire a doorman, I suppose. Three beers registers differently to different people. Some people can drink all night without going too far, while others are one-and-done. Is it really the bartender's responsibility to babysit a bunch of adults? Come on. Unless someone's blatantly drunk -- i.e., passed out on the floor in a pool of their own vomit, or running around the bar singing "Sweet Caroline" with a bottle of Jack in their hands -- how can you tell when someone's too far gone? It's stupid. You shouldn't have to fire good people over grey areas. No bartender forces someone to drive while drunk. Where's the personal accountability here? If I'm going out for a full night of drinks, I'm walking. But to be fair, it's pretty hard to do anything in Acton without a car. So . . . there's that.
Sonwas Killed January 23, 2013 at 06:57 PM
so sorry to hear the nonchanlant attitude of the commenters. In case you need to know....IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY AND THE LAW FOR A BAR TO NOT OVERSERVE A PATRON. All bartenders and servers of alcohol are(or should be) trained in alcohol awareness and know the scientific factors and social factors that influence alcohol consumption. They bar holds the license to serve alcohol and should do so respsonsibly. once a person has the alcohol in them...their judgment is impaired...the more they have..the more impaired. Look out for friends, family, drivers,...don't let someone slip thru the cracks. IT IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH.

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