Safeway on Shattuck is dry after its liquor license was suspended

Since Jan. 21, the Safeway store at 1444 Shattuck Pl. in Berkeley has been prohibited from selling beer, wine and spirits. The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) posted a 45-day notice of suspension at the store because it sold alcohol to minors, said ABC spokesperson John Carr.

According to an ABC press release shared with Nosh, the Safeway store sold alcohol to minors three times within a two-week period. The store is able to stay open, but cannot sell alcohol until the suspension period has ended. Following the 45 days, Safeway will then be under a one-year probation period, so that if another violation happens, ABC “has authority to take further disciplinary action.”

Wendy Gutshall, a spokesperson for the grocery chain, confirmed the alcohol license suspension at Safeway Shattuck Place. Gutshall said the store will be able to resume alcohol sales on March 5 and said the company “welcome[s] customers who wish to purchase alcohol at our nearby store.” The nearest Safeway market is at 1500 Solano Ave. in Albany, but Andronico’s Community Markets, at 1550 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley, is also owned by the grocery chain.

This isn’t the first time that a local Safeway store has had its liquor license suspended for selling to minors. In August 2019, the Safeway at 6310 College Ave. in Oakland, had its ABC license suspended for 60 days and was placed on a two-year probation after it sold alcohol to minors three times within three years. At the time, Carr said that ABC discovers violations by sending decoys, or ABC employees who look underage, into stores to buy alcohol.

The beer case at the Safeway store at 1444 Shattuck Pl. is not looking like this — it’s totally empty in fact — due to a suspended liquor license. Photo: Pete Rosos