Don’t look for liquor at Safeway on College — its license has been suspended

Sign at Claremont Safeway on College Avenue explaining the store had its ABC license suspended for 60 days
Sign at Claremont Safeway on College Avenue explaining the store had its ABC license suspended for 60 days. Photo: Citizen reporter

Don’t go looking for beer, wine or spirits at the Safeway store on College and Claremont avenues in Oakland in the next two months.

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is suspending the store’s liquor license “after the store sold alcohol to minors three times within the last three year period,” according to John Carr, a spokesman for the ABC. The last sale to minors was in March, he said. The store’s license will be on probation for a two-year period after that. If violations happen again in that probationary period, ABC could take “further disciplinary action,” he told Berkeleyside on Monday.

Empty alcohol shelves at Claremont Safeway on College Avenue after the store had its ABC license suspended for 60 days.
Empty alcohol shelves at Claremont Safeway on College Avenue after the store had its ABC license suspended for 60 days. Photo: Citizen reporter
Empty beer cabinets at Claremont Safeway on College Avenue
Empty beer cabinets at Claremont Safeway on College Avenue after the store had its ABC license suspended for 60 days. Photo: Citizen reporter

Safeway employees pulled all the alcohol from store shelves at 6310 College Ave. on Monday. It posted a sign inside by the empty shelves and barren refrigerators that said its license had been suspended for 60 days and it apologized “for the inconvenience.”

Wendy Gutshall, a spokeswoman for the grocery chain, said: “Safeway takes these violations very seriously and we are committed to keeping alcohol out of the hands of anyone under the legal drinking age.” The Broadway store is still selling beer and wine, she said.


Carr said the formal suspension notice hasn’t been posted, which technically means the license hasn’t been suspended yet. Safeway, however, appears to think that the suspension started today. Gutshall said alcohol sales should resume Oct. 4.

ABC discovers these violations by sending decoys — ABC employees who look underage  — into stores to buy alcohol, said Carr. Or ABC employees monitor stores and ask people who look underage where they bought their alcohol, he said.