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Harford businesses have 100 percent pass rate on alcohol compliance test

None of the businesses checked during a recent liquor compliance test sold an alcoholic beverage to an underage police cadet, the first time anyone can remember that happening in more than two decades.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Harford County Liquor Control Board Chair Sheryl Davis Kohl said after Wednesday’s board meeting. “It’s a testament to our inspector, working with the license holders to help them understand the importance of alcohol laws in Harford County.”

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All 15 of the businesses the liquor inspector tested April 4 asked the Harford County Sheriff’s Office cadet for identification, which he provided, and refused to serve him because he showed them a vertical license, inspector William Colburn told board members.

Those businesses included Towne Grill & Pub in Joppatowne; Edgewood Liquor and Grocery; Sunoco gas station in Edgewood; Box Hill Pizzeria in Abingdon; Sizzling Bombay, Festival Spirits and Wine, Fuji Sushi, Naughty Dogs, Hickory Lodge and Red Robin, all in Bel Air; North Harford Liquors in Jarrettsville; Hess Country Spirits in White Hall; and Basta Pasta, Texas Roadhouse and Smitty’s Fine Wine and Spirits, all in Fallston.

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It’s the first time anyone who works with the liquor board, including Special Projects Coordinator Judi Powell, who started working for the board in 1998, can remember a 100 percent pass rate on a compliance test.

DJ Big Sexy’s plan for a baby race at the St. Patrick’s Day festivities at Hickory Lodge over the weekend didn’t go quite as expected, and the liquor licensees could be facing violations, the county liquor board inspector said.

Colburn, who has been with the liquor board since October, said he’s trying to conduct compliance tests of each business once a quarter in different areas of the county.

On Jan. 14, only one business — Silver Spring Mining Company in Bel Air — served the cadet, Colburn said. A server requested the cadet’s ID, looked at it and served him anyway, he said.

On Nov. 9, 13 passed and two failed the test, he said. Pizza Hut of Havre de Grace and Short Stop Beverage Barn in Aberdeen both served the cadet.

The Havre de Grace restaurant was one of two Pizza Hut restaurants in Harford that served alcoholic beverages. Both have since turned in their licenses, Colburn said.

“Our inspector has done a lot of due diligence getting out in the field, trying to make sure we’re all on the same page, all working together, to protect the public,” Kohl said. “It’s about public safety.”

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