Six Big Lake businesses failed alcohol compliance checks in June by selling or serving alcohol to someone under the age of 21.

That word comes from Mark Lees, the community health coordinator for Sherburne County, who conducted compliance checks with an under-aged youth on June 23.

The compliance checks were made between 6-9 p.m. on June 23.

Businesses where alcohol was sold to under-age youth were: El Loro, Friendly Buffalo, Kwik Trip, Lake Liquors, McPete’s and Tootsie’s Lakeside Pub. Kwik Trip and Lake Liquors also failed compliance checks in October, 2020, according to Lees.

Lupulin Brewing Company, Russell’s on the Lake, The Third Rail, and Trails Grill & Sports Bar passed the compliance checks. Cambo Flare was not open during the time period that the checks were made on June 23, according to Lees.

Under state statute, the City of Big Lake has the authority to suspend the liquor license of those who failed the compliance checks, or levy a fine of up to $2,000.

However, the City Council passed a resolution on July 28 imposing a $750 fee upon the violators. All six businesses found in violation have agreed to pay the $750 fine, according to a memo to the City Council prepared by city staff.

A criminal process is proceeding against each of the employees, which is a separate process handled through the Big Lake Police Department and Sherburne County Attorney’s Office, according to city staff.

City Coucil Member Ken Halverson has suggested the City use the $4,500 in anticipated fee money for the educating of youth on the dangers of under-age drinking, and for possibly offering alcohol service training opportunities to the city establishments licensed to serve alcohol. 

How the fine proceeds will be put to use will be discussed at a future meeting of the Big Lake City Council, staff noted.

Reach Jeff Hage at



Jeff Hage is the managing editor of the Monticello Times. He majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.

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