The Premises Is the Premise

Understanding Off- and On-Premises Alcohol Sales Outlets to Improve Environmental Alcohol Prevention Strategies

Published in: Prevention Science, v. 12, no. 2, June 2011, p. 181-191

Posted on RAND.org on March 04, 2011

by Matthew Chinman, Q. Burkhart, Patricia A. Ebener, Cha-Chi Fan, Pamela Imm, Karen Chan Osilla, Susan M. Paddock, Annie Wright

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Environmental strategies to prevent the misuse of alcohol among youth—e.g., use of public policies to restrict minors' access to alcohol—have been shown to reduce underage drinking. However, implementation of policy changes often requires public and private partnerships. One way to support these partnerships is to better understand the target of many of the environmental strategies, which is the alcohol sales outlet. Knowing more about how off-premises outlets (e.g., liquor and convenience stores) and on-premises outlets (e.g., bars and restaurants) are alike and different could help community-based organizations better tailor, plan, and implement their environmental strategies and strengthen partnerships between the public and commercial sectors. We conducted a survey of managerial or supervisory staff and/or owners of 336 off- and on-premises alcohol outlets in six counties in South Carolina, comparing these two outlet types on their preferences regarding certain alcohol sales practices, beliefs toward underage drinking, alcohol sales practices, and outcomes. Multilevel logistic regression showed that while off- and on-premises outlets did have many similarities, off-premises outlets appear to engage in more practices designed to prevent sales of alcohol to minors than on-premises outlets. The relationship between certain Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) practices and outcomes varied by outlet type. This study furthers the understanding of the differences between off- and on-premises alcohol sales outlets and offers options for increasing and tailoring environmental prevention efforts to specific settings.

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