A brand-new brewery in Ramona has been cited for supplying alcohol to a minor during their second weekend open.
ChuckAlek Independent Brewers, which celebrated its grand opening Jan. 10 at 2330 Highway 67 Suite C, was among six San Diego breweries cited by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department last weekend in a Minor Decoy Operation.
"It was an unfortunate incident," said Marta Jankowska, who owns ChuckAlek Independent Brewers with her husband Grant Fraley. "It was a wake up call in a sense of 'here are the actions we need to take to make sure it doesn’t happen.'"
Through a partnership with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), the Sheriff's Department goes to retailers and servers throughout the county with underage decoys to test whether the minors are able to get alcohol.
Jankowska said that Fraley did card the minor decoy, but misread the birth date.
"We carded them, but unfortunately… my husband got a little flustered and didn't look that closely and totally miscalculated the age," she told Patch. "As soon as the sale was made, I turned to [my husband] and asked him ‘are you sure that kid was 21?’"
When Jankowska heard his birth date and recognized the decoy wasn't of age, she said she immediately went to the table and asked the person for his license and took the beer away.
San Diego Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Arens told Patch that though the brewers were cited, it was still an odd case.
"Obviously the person who provided the alcohol was cited," Arens said in an email. "But at the same time, we were pleased to see the other owner question her partner about providing alcohol to a very young looking person."
According to state regulations, a first-time citation could result in a suspended alcohol license or fines. An autmoatic license suspension comes with a second sale to a minor within three years.
"It was the first time we carded somebody," Jankowska said of their fourth day open, noting that previous visitors were all "clearly over 30."
"We have absolutely no intention of selling to people under 21," the ChuckAlek owner said. "We don’t want to, at all, be known as that kind of establishment.
Jankowska said that she wants residents to know that they're taking action to ensure something like this won't happen again.
"We are going to be taking the LEAD training in February so we can get better educated on how to read and identify licenses and how to properly card people," she said, as well as obtaining a sign that will clearly identify what earliest birth date needs to be seen on IDs.
Jankowska said that she, personally, worries enough already about people leaving her brewery, which dumps onto Highway 67, but she emphasized that ChuckAlek Ind. Brewers is all about having fun while being safe.
"We’re all about being safe. We really want to be a positive addition to the community," she said. "We want to only provide a fun, safe atmosphere."
Fifteen county retailers were checked during Saturday's sting and six employees at five locations were cited, including at Lightning Brewery. The other citations went to retailers in Poway, Oceanside and Vista.
—Shauntel Lowe contributed to this report.