The Underage Buyer (UB) program is an ongoing effort by Virginia ABC to visit alcohol and tobacco retailers throughout the Commonwealth to verify compliance with the state age requirements—18 for tobacco and 21 for alcohol sales.
Special agents, who are sworn officers from Virginia ABC’s Bureau of Law Enforcement, accompany underage operatives during attempts to purchase cigarettes or alcohol at grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants and other businesses, including Virginia ABC stores.
The purpose of the UB program is not to trick businesses. In fact, it is the hope of Virginia ABC that 100 percent of the businesses comply with state law by not selling to the underage buyer.
- Virginia ABC selects operatives who look their age, making it easier for clerks and servers to request ID and avoid the sale.
- Operatives are instructed not to alter their appearance or mannerisms or mislead clerks in any way while attempting to make a purchase.
- Operatives carry their own valid identification. If the store clerk asks for ID, the operative presents his or her own valid identification.
Virginia ABC special agents throughout the state complete nearly 400 alcohol and tobacco compliance checks every month. View inspection results