Illinois BASSET Laws

What Is BASSET Certification and Who Needs It?

BASSET stands for Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training. It is a state-approved training program for Illinois alcohol employees that is regulated by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.

Bartenders, servers and many other types of alcohol employees in Illinois are required to earn a BASSET certification to demonstrate that they understand the state’s alcohol laws and are trained to sell alcohol responsibly. Your employer or local municipality may also require you to have a certification to sell alcohol.

On-premise BASSET certification is required for employees who ID customers or serve alcohol for on-site consumption, including:

  • Bartenders
  • Servers
  • Waitstaff
  • Bouncers
  • Bar managers
  • Sommeliers
  • Tasting room attendants

Off-premise BASSET certification is designed for staff who sell alcohol that is consumed off-site, including employees of:

  • Liquor stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Wine shops
  • Duty-free shops

Where Is BASSET Certification Currently Required?

As of July 1, 2018, the state of Illinois requires BASSET certification for all on-premise alcohol servers and employees who check ID for alcohol service.

Many off-premise alcohol employees, including workers at liquor stores and other businesses where alcohol is sold to be consumed off-site, must earn a BASSET certification to satisfy local alcohol laws or employer training requirements.

Illinois counties that require mandatory BASSET certification for bartenders and other on-premise employees include:

  • Adams County
  • Alexander County
  • Bond County
  • Boone County
  • Brown County
  • Bureau County
  • Calhoun County
  • Carroll County
  • Cass County
  • Champaign County
  • Christian County
  • Clark County
  • Clay County
  • Clinton County
  • Coles County
  • Cook County
  • Crawford County
  • Cumberland County
  • DeKalb County
  • DeWitt County
  • Douglas County
  • DuPage County
  • Edgar County
  • Edwards County
  • Effingham County
  • Fayette County
  • Ford County
  • Franklin County
  • Fulton County
  • Gallatin County
  • Greene County
  • Grundy County
  • Hamilton County
  • Hancock County
  • Hardin County
  • Henderson County
  • Henry County
  • Iroquois County
  • Jackson County
  • Jasper County
  • Jefferson County
  • Jersey County
  • Jo Daviess County
  • Johnson County
  • Kane County
  • Kankakee County
  • Kendall County
  • Knox County
  • Lake County
  • LaSalle County
  • Lawrence County
  • Lee County
  • Livingston County
  • Logan County
  • Macon County
  • Macoupin County
  • Madison County
  • Marion County
  • Marshall County
  • Mason County
  • Massac County
  • McDonough County
  • McHenry County
  • McLean County
  • Menard County
  • Mercer County
  • Monroe County
  • Montgomery County
  • Morgan County
  • Moultrie County
  • Ogle County
  • Piatt County
  • Pike County
  • Peoria County
  • Perry County
  • Pope County
  • Pulaski County
  • Putnam County
  • Randolph County
  • Richland County
  • Rock Island County
  • Saline County
  • Sangamon County
  • Schuyler County
  • Scott County
  • Shelby County
  • Stark County
  • St. Clair County
  • Stephenson County
  • Tazewell County
  • Union County
  • Vermilion County
  • Wabash County
  • Warren County
  • Washington County
  • Wayne County
  • White County
  • Whiteside County
  • Will County
  • Williamson County
  • Winnebago County
  • Woodford County

Why Is BASSET Certification Training Important?

BASSET certification teaches alcohol employees important knowledge, skills and strategies that prepare them to complete safe and legal alcohol sales. Serving responsibly and in accordance with Illinois alcohol laws makes businesses and communities safer.

Earning your BASSET certification not only keeps you and your employer in compliance with state alcohol laws, but it also saves lives. Knowing how to refuse service and avoid illegal sales to underage or intoxicated customers plays a key role in preventing DUI, property damage, injury and even death.

Does Illinois Have Dram Shop Laws?

Yes. Illinois is one of many states with dram shop laws that can hold licensed alcohol businesses and their owners liable for damages, injuries or death caused by intoxicated customers. If a business serves visibly intoxicated or underage customers, it could be sued for any property damage or harm the intoxicated customer causes.

According to the Dram Shop Act, recovery is limited to $45,000 for personal injury or property damage and $55,000 for loss of means of support or loss of society.

The best way to maintain a safe environment and avoid potential litigation is to ensure all alcohol employees are BASSET certified. This training ensures everyone understands alcohol laws and knows how to avoid illegal sales.

What Should Alcohol Employees Know About Illinois Driver’s Licenses and ID Cards?

To ensure safe and legal alcohol service, all sellers and servers should be familiar with the different types of Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards. In 2016, the state began issuing licenses and ID cards with an updated design. The new cards satisfy federal REAL ID requirements and include advanced security features that help prevent counterfeit ID.

Familiarize yourself with each type of ID and the security features you can use to determine whether identification is valid or fake.

How Long Does It Take to Complete BASSET Certification Training?

According to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, BASSET training for on-premise establishments such as bars and restaurants is at least four hours long. BASSET training for off-premise establishments, including liquor stores, grocery stores and convenience stores, must be at least three hours in length.

Our online BASSET certification courses meet the state’s length requirements and can be completed at your own pace. Finish your course in one sitting or break it up into multiple training sessions without losing your place.

When Will I Get My BASSET Card?

As soon as you successfully complete your BASSET certification training, you can download and print a temporary certificate to give to your employer. This certificate is valid for 30 days and proves that you completed your required training.

Your official BASSET card is issued by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and will be ready to download and print at before the temporary certificate expires.

How Long Is Illinois BASSET Certification Good For?

According to state law, certificates issued by BASSET-licensed training programs are valid for three years. To maintain your certification, the state requires you to renew your certification every three years by retaking a BASSET course.

What Is the Cocktails-to-Go Law?

Section 6-28.8 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act is known as the cocktails-to-go law. This legislation allows bars, restaurants and other licensed alcohol retailers to provide carryout and delivery services for mixed drinks and single servings of wine for off-premises consumption.

While the cocktails-to-go law was originally set to expire on January 3, 2024, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that extended the law until August 1, 2028.

Businesses and employees must meet certain requirements to legally sell cocktails and wine to-go:

  • To-go cocktails must be transferred to the customer within the premises for carryout, transferred by curbside pickup or delivered by the retail licensee.
  • To-go cocktails must be served by an employee of the retail licensee who has a valid BASSET certification and is at least 21 years old.
  • Employees must confirm the customer is at least 21 and is not intoxicated before selling or delivering a to-go cocktail.
  • For employee deliveries and curbside pickup, all to-go alcohol must be placed in the trunk of the vehicle. If the vehicle does not have a trunk, alcohol must be placed in a rear compartment of the vehicle that is not readily accessible to the passenger area.
  • To-go cocktails must be packaged at the retail licensee’s location and sealed in a tamper-evident container.
  • Sealed to-go containers must have a label or tag that lists:
    • The drink name and ingredients
    • The name, state license number and address of the business that filled and sold the to-go cocktail
    • The volume of the cocktail, mixed drink or single serving of wine
    • Information showing the sealed container was filled less than seven days before the date of sale

You are not permitted to sell cocktails to-go if you:

  • Do not have a valid BASSET certification
  • Are not 21 years of age or older
  • Are a third-party delivery driver who is not employed by the retail alcohol business

Violating the requirements of the cocktail-to-go law can result in penalties such as a fine, license suspension or license revocation.

What Are Illinois Happy Hour Laws?

Businesses in Illinois are permitted to promote happy hour specials, but alcohol employees must be BASSET certified and follow certain restrictions.

For example, licensees can sell discounted drinks for up to four hours per day. However, they can not offer drink specials for more than 15 hours per week. In addition, drink promotions cannot be offered between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and close.

Review Public Act 099-0046, which outlines everything you need to know about Illinois happy hour rules and requirements.