Dixon Council to allow 18-year-olds to sell liquor at retail locations

Liquor code was amended to lower the age from 21

DIXON — Retail businesses will be able to have 18-year-olds sell alcohol after job shortage concerns were presented to city leaders.

The City Council recently amended its liquor code to lower the age of workers selling liquor from 21 to 18.

City Manager Danny Langloss said businesses are having a hard time of attracting employees, in general, and they were approached by a business owner concerned about not having enough employees 21 or older to sell liquor.

A Walmart official said lowering the age would help increase the flow with cashiers and for pick-up, Langloss said.

“This addresses a need in the business community, and local establishments would be happy to see it,” he said.

Places that sell alcohol require employee training, such as how to card customers, he added.

Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said he doesn’t expect problems with changing the age. But there are other community concerns, including that younger people are more susceptible to selling to other minors or underage friends.

“Some communities do it, and some do not,” Arellano said. “I haven’t heard of this being a major issue.”

Business owners said older teenagers are proving to be reliable employees during the worker shortage, he said.

The ordinance passed in a 4-to-1 vote; Councilman Mike Venier voted against the measure.

The code change does not apply to bars; anyone who tends bar must be 21 or older.

“No person under the age 21 years may be employed by a licensee for the purposes of tending bar and/or drawing, pouring, mixing, selling, delivering or distributing any alcoholic liquor,” the code reads.

“Persons who are at least 18 years of age may be employed as waiters or waitresses for the purpose of serving alcoholic liquor in the ordinary course of such employment; persons who are at least 18 years of age may be employed as cashiers in retail stores for the purpose of selling alcoholic liquor in the ordinary course of such employment; and persons who are at least 16 years of age may be employed for the purposes of cleaning, cooking or bussing provided they may not be employed on the premises for any other purpose.”

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.