Aspen liquor sting nets four violations

Staff report
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – Four Aspen establishments face sanctions after allegedly serving an underage patron during a state sting operation last month.

Aspen Brewing Co., Boogie’s Diner, The Little Nell and The Wine Shop all failed the compliance test, according to the Liquor Enforcement Division for the Colorado Department of Revenue.

The state notified City Clerk Kathryn Koch of the results of the sting; she said she reported them to the Aspen Liquor Licensing Authority board Tuesday morning.

Thirty-three other randomly selected establishments, including bars and liquor stores, passed the test. Two were outside the city limits – the Sundeck on Aspen Mountain and Airport Liquor at the Aspen Business Center.

Not all of Aspen’s watering holes were tested, but the compliance rate among those that were checked was “very good,” according to a state official.

The city was not involved in the sting, according to Koch.

“This is a state action. We didn’t even know they were in town,” she said.

According to the state, the investigation involved sending an underage person into establishments to order an alcoholic beverage. They carried no ID and told the truth if asked their age or date of birth. Businesses that served the minor face administrative action against their licenses.

For a first-time violation, which is the case for all of the Aspen establishments that allegedly failed the test, penalty options include payment of a fine, a 15-day liquor-license suspension, a five-day suspension with the remainder of the suspension put in abeyance or a hearing before an administrative judge, Koch said, relaying information provided by the state.