Alcohol outlet policies and practices concerning sales to underage people

Mark Wolfson, Traci L Toomey, David M. Murray, Jean Forster, Brian J. Short, Alexander C. Wagenaar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Little is known about the relationship between alcohol outlet policies and practices in the United States and the likelihood that outlets will sell alcoholic beverages to persons under the legal drinking age. This study assessed the prevalence of such outlet-level policies and practices, and analyzed the relationships between outlet variables and outlets' actual propensity to sell alcoholic beverages to youth. The sample consisted of all outlets licensed for off-premise and a 40% random sample of outlets licensed for on-premise sale of alcoholic beverages in 15 small to medium-sized communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin (USA). Data on outlet characteristics, policies and practices were collected by a telephone survey of the owner or manager of each outlet. In addition, alcohol purchase attempts were conducted at each outlet by youthful-appearing study confederates. Generally, policies and practices that may reduce the likelihood of sales to youth were reported by a minority of outlets. Purchase success was found to be associated with a number of outlet characteristics, policies and practices. The implications of these findings for policy and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-602
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 1996


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