Responsible drinking today and for the next 365

Happy New Year!
Let’s raise our glasses to toast the seven community members who have recently been trained as teachers of TIPS–Responsible Beverage Service training.

It is exciting to think that Sheboygan County bartenders, wait staff, tavern owners, restaurant managers, beer vendors at the Fair, and liquor store employees have access to this proactive program. This fivehour training offers lessons in recognizing the signs of intoxication, how to handle a drunk customer, spotting underage drinkers and ways to check for fake IDs.

We like to think that when people decide to drink they take on the responsibility of their own drinking. Qualities of being a “responsible drinker” are: not drinking until you are 21, counting your drinks and knowing your limit, being honest with yourself and others when you have had too much, feeling good when you say “no thanks,” trying the nonalcoholic version of your favorite drinks, having a celebration with alcohol—not celebrate drinking, realizing you are not a good drunk driver (there is no such thing) and handing the car keys to someone else, and being known as a responsible drinker instead of the town drunk.

Not all drinkers remember to be responsible, as noted in the recent Sheboygan Press series “Under the Influence.” This series of articles explored many different aspects of drunk driving, overdrinking and the consequences to offenders and the community. Rarely do we think the car approaching an intersection will be driven by a drunk driver; we hope people will be responsible by not drinking and driving.

Seldom, if ever, do we question the ability of the bartenders mixing our drinks to spot underage drinkers — we hope they are checking IDs. Hardly ever are we telling our wait staff to stop serving to avoid “overserving” someone at our table.

We take for granted that people understand responsible drinking is a partnership between the drinker and the server. This is where TIPS training can help. Those in the hospitality industry and employees selling alcohol gain needed skills to become responsible servers. Participants are empowered by learning ways to say “no” to intoxicated patrons and “no” to people with fake IDs. They also learn about the liability that can be imposed on them and the establishment that employs them.

Upon successful completion of the TIPS training, participants will be certified in TIPS, which meets the criteria for beverage service licensing. Moreover, an establishment with staff who have been TIPS trained can lower their liability insurance payments and decrease the risk of alcohol­related lawsuits.

But most importantly, the community has gained a stronger partner in promoting responsible drinking. Through the financial support of the Drug Free Community Grant awarded to the Family Resource Center of Sheboygan County, community members can participate in TIPS for free.

If you are interested in becoming TIPS trained or hosting a training at your establishment, please contact MaryAdele Revoy at or 920-892-6706x207.

MaryAdele Revoy is drug free community grant coordinator at the Family Resource Center of Sheboygan County and chair of HSC2020 ATODA committee.