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Wisconsin Alcohol Age Compliance Checks (AACC) Manual

Alcohol age compliance checks promote compliance with the law and reduce underage access to alcohol. This manual is prepared by the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project (WisAPP), which supports local elected leaders, public health professionals and others as they identify local alcohol-related issues and implement policies to address them.

Wisconsin Alcohol Age Compliance Checks Manual

The information contained in this manual is specific to Wisconsin, is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice. For specific legal questions or concerns, consult your local municipal or county attorneys.
View/download the full Wisconsin AACC Manual (PDF)

Using the Wisconsin AACC Manual

This manual is intended to serve as a practical resource for planning, developing, conducting, and using Alcohol Age Compliance Checks (AACC) to reduce and prevent sales and service of alcohol beverages by licensed retailers to people who are underage. Its goal is to provide law enforcement, prevention coalitions, public health professionals, and municipal and county officials with guidance on conducting compliance check efforts to prevent underage alcohol consumption in their communities. Alcohol age compliance checks and tobacco compliance checks are governed by different laws, and this manual does not address tobacco regulation in any way.

How you use the manual will depend on your role in compliance checks. You may find some chapters that are more relevant to your needs than others. Reference the “Table of Contents” to move between sections or find tools in the Resource Toolbox. Compliance check protocols vary depending on local jurisdiction size, budgets, staff capacity, or law enforcement preferences. Specific protocols for checks are not outlined in statute so steps provided in this guide are best practices based on local experience.

Check out the appendices which have a variety of forms and other tools that you can use as templates for your local compliance checks. References are also included at the end of each chapter, with clickable links when available, to further assist you.

Don’t know where to start?

Whether you’re just starting out or are looking to energize your compliance checks effort, this guide provides the rationale for compliance checks and the basics for how to implement them in support of a prevention strategy. There are also comprehensive summaries available in this guide explaining how compliance checks are allowed under state statute, as well as an overview of the Wisconsin alcohol licensing process.

Need to build community buy-in?

Strong relationships are necessary to develop support, build community buy-in and address equity considerations when implementing compliance checks. Whether it is with municipal leadership, law enforcement, public health, or others connected to your prevention coalition, these relationships will tell the story of why the community needs to care about reducing alcohol access to youth. Take a few moments to review the comprehensive section that explains how each partner plays an important role from pre-check through a possible enforcement action.

Compliance Check Resource Toolbox

We’ve developed a specific Alcohol Age Compliance Check (AACC) Resource Toolbox designed to support implementation of compliance check strategies in your community. Community inspection teams across the state have shared practice-based examples of the tools and forms they’ve used successfully, which are incorporated here for your learning.

The Roadmap | Conducting Checks From Start to Finish

1. Establishing Your Program

  • Assemble, establish commitment, and formalize collaboration among key stakeholders
  • Make infrastructure decisions
  • Compile retailer list for checks
  • Notify Retailers (recommended: 4-6 weeks before checks start)
  • Arrange underage buyers
  • Arrange officers (plainclothes and uniformed)
  • Contact municipal prosecutors and judges
  • Choose data collection goals and methods

View/download Getting Started Checklist (PDF)

2. Preparing For Checks

  • Gather paperwork, tracking tools, and supplies
  • Secure payment method(s)
  • Train underage buyer(s)
  • Develop route or area to be completed on day of checks
  • Confirm team members participation

View/download Pre-Check Checklist (PDF)

3. Conducting Checks

  • Ensure proper documentation
  • Prepare underage buyers
  • Conduct team prep meeting
  • Conduct checks
  • Post check/wrap up

View/download Day of Checklist (PDF)

4. Follow-Up

  • Analyze compliance check data
  • Follow-up with law enforcement to learn the outcomes of any law enforcement actions
  • Send individual follow-up letters to each establishment
  • Notify collaborators of results
  • Notify licensing decision-makers of results

View Follow-Up Checklist (PDF)

Training & Technical Assistance

We would love to learn about your community needs, strategies, and how we can best support your efforts.

For additional training or technical assistance needs, questions about compliance check strategies, or questions about the Wisconsin Alcohol Inspector, please email us at


The following organizations support preventing youth access to alcohol and endorse the use of the AACC Manual to inform local compliance check efforts: