The Cambrian

Cambria, San Simeon liquor stores caught in alcohol sales sting

San Simeon Liquor on Pico Avenue was one of two businesses cited.
San Simeon Liquor on Pico Avenue was one of two businesses cited.

Two North Coast businesses sold alcohol to minors during a compliance operation Friday, Feb. 3, in unincorporated coastal areas of the county, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.

During the operations, the Sheriff’s Office Alcohol Compliance Team used two underage decoys to test 16 businesses in Avila Beach, Los Osos, Cayucos, Cambria and San Simeon.

The two businesses that allegedly violated the law are:

▪  The Pit Stop, 800 Main St., Cambria.

▪  San Simeon Liquor, 431 Pico Avenue, San Simeon.

The retail clerks who have been charged with those violations — selling alcohol to a minor — were issued a Notice to Appear. Those charges are criminally prosecuted through the District Attorney’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office report of enforcement action taken against each licensee will be forwarded to California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), which can consider taking administrative action against the business.

Grants from the ABC pay for the enforcement operations. Sheriff’s officials say those operations will continue through June 30 of this year.

Minor-decoy operations, which the state Supreme Court has ruled to be a valid law-enforcement tool, have been conducted throughout the state since the 1980s, according to the Sheriff’s Office. When the program began, the violation rate of retail establishments selling to minors was as high as 40 to 50 percent. When those decoy operations are conducted on a routine basis, the rate has dropped in some jurisdictions to as low as 10 percent or less.