News Release

For Immediate Release
December 17, 2002
CONTACT: Marie O’Brien
Director, Under 21 Program
Office: (312) 814-0706

Illinois Liquor Control Commission Announces a Statewide Decrease in Sales to Minors
PROJECT 21 Successful in First Year

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission announced today that the compliance rate of licensed liquor retailers increased to 73% through the first year of its new PROJECT 21 Program, a statewide crackdown on underage alcohol sales. Project 21 is part of the Governor and Mrs. Ryan’s overall commitment to reducing youth alcohol use. ILCC Executive Director Mark T. Bishop said, “we’re teaching people who serve and sell alcohol that underage sales will not be tolerated in Illinois and we’re proud to see we’ve had an impact on this serious problem during our first year.”

PROJECT 21 is a collaborative effort among the ILCC, the Illinois State Police, Illinois’ First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan’s Futures for Kids program, the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, local police departments, local liquor commissioners and liquor retailers throughout the state. The PROJECT 21 Program couples a retailer education component with enforcement follow-up by either the State Police or local authorities. Liquor retailers receive training on validating the age and identity of customers along with facts about the laws and consequences of serving alcohol to minors.

PROJECT 21’s impact on retailer compliance rates was measured by comparing baseline data from compliance checks conducted by the Illinois State Police through their Alcohol Countermeasure Enforcement (ACE) program with compliance check data collected in 32 counties after the initiation of PROJECT 21. In 23 of 32 (72%) counties, a dramatic increase in compliance rates was seen.

PROJECT 21 programs were first introduced in August of 2001 in the cities where Illinois’ largest college campuses were located. Soon after, PROJECT 21 programs were expanded to include fifty-five metropolitan areas in 32 different counties. On a statewide basis, the Illinois State Police conducted 2,448 compliance checks during the same period of time and found that 73% of Illinois licensed liquor retailers refused to sell to minors, a 4.5% increase from the previous year.

The plan to develop PROJECT 21 came about after the ILCC’s Under 21 Program conducted a survey on the drinking habits of underage college students in Illinois’ largest college towns. The survey found:

PROJECT 21 is partially funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Traffic Safety. In addition to providing education for liquor licensees and their employees, PROJECT 21 seminars also provide buttons, brochures, ID-checking guides and posters which inform minors that they will be carded and not served in Illinois bars and restaurants.

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission is the state regulatory agency, which ensures that liquor licensees comply with the provisions of the Liquor Control Act. The Commission provides industry education programs which focus on enforcement practices, interpretations of Illinois liquor control laws, reduction programs on illegal sales of alcoholic beverages to minors, and licensed training on responsible server and seller practices. In addition, the ILCC is also designated as the lead agency in developing a strategy for reducing the availability and delivery of tobacco products to minors.

For more information, call (312) 814-0706 or write to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission at 100 W. Randolph St., Suite 5-300, Chicago, IL 60601, or visit us on the web at