Ramona's New ChuckAlek Brewery Cited for Providing Alcohol to Minor

Sgt. Mike Arens was "pleased" with how the owner handled the situation.

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.

sandra j January 17, 2013 at 04:01 AM
do you understand what happened? it doesn't sound like it.
Joe Minervini January 20, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Sandra J, or whoever you are in real life: Yes I know what happened. I read the article. ....so what do you think we should do with the kids ? ...change their diaper ? Please be specific as to who did wrong here and what percentage of culpability you feel occurred....the kids or the business ? I'm in the phone book. You can type your response but follow it up with a phone call to me so that we can discuss the merits of my response vs yours. Joe Minervini
sandra j January 20, 2013 at 09:50 PM
brewery -- 100% at fault kid(s) -- 0% at fault what you seem to be missing is that the kids were decoys, acting under the direction of the sheriff. they absolutely did nothing wrong (unless you take exception to that sort of sting operation). whether you consider the error major or minor, it was entirely the business' fault.
Joe Minervini January 22, 2013 at 08:53 PM
Sandra j, I didn't get your call but you are right....I did miss the fact that the kids were decoys. That just makes me even more empathetic to the owners of the brewery. I've been in businesses before....one was a bar in Texas. For the Sherriff's Dept., who should be out chasing the real bad guys, to put a decoy in a brand new business....maybe before the business got to know the ropes, is absolutely over the top. The Sherriff's should be out getting the dope dealers who supply our East County youth with all their drugs instead of sending kids out to do their jobs. Hopefully the business got a minor citation. Sandra, not knowing if you were ever in business, I think you have to understand where I'm coming from. I'm the guy that is the first one to help somebody up after they are on the ground......and I just think this was a bad bust....its a brand new business for sake. This action is just short of entrapment. Joe Minervini, I'm in the phone book.
Mz. February 08, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Where is the brewery located? Id like to go have a beer!


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