A Modesto neighborhood market had its liquor license suspended after a year-long investigation found it sold alcohol to minors more than half a dozen times, authorities said.
The Midway Market, just south of Hatch Road near the Ceres border, was issued the suspension Thursday by the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. It’s a rare move reserved for some of the worst violators. Over the course of its investigation, which started last March, ABC found seven instances of store employees selling beer, Four Loko and other alcohol to underage buyers.
Deputy Division Chief Matt Seck said the department only issues these sort of suspensions “a few times” a year statewide. The suspension will last until the liquor license is transferred to another person and location approved by the department. If no transfer is made within 180 days, the license will be permanently revoked.
“It really demonstrates that it was not an accident. It was not someone doing the math wrong on an ID. It’s a blatant disregard of the law,” Seck said.
At one point ABC investigators uncovered a clerk who was only 15 years old working at the market. The store, which opened in 2011, had gained a reputation among area youth for selling to minors, Seck said.
Typically, ABC has a three-strikes rule when it comes to issuing license revocations. If a business sells to minors three times in three years, the license will be revoked. The Midway Market’s seven violations in a single year warranted its indefinite suspension, Seck said.
No new ABC license can be issued at the business location, 1629 Midway Ave., for at least a one-year period.