Alcohol Outlet Density

Why Alcohol Outlet Density is important to prevention and public health

Research clearly shows: More alcohol access = more alcohol use = more social problems.

  1. Higher density of alcohol outlets in a community is correlated with increased crime, violence and alcohol use by youth and adults.
  2. Higher density of alcohol outlets in a community is correlated with community deterioration and reduced economic growth and viability.
  3. Environmental strategies that affect entire neighborhoods and communities are needed to reduce harm and promote public health and welfare.

What we can do: recommendations

  • Members of the community health and prevention fields can become well-informed about the issue of alcohol outlet density.  Check out the below national resources and research to learn more.

National Resources and Research:

CAMY Alcohol Preemption Data Tool - What can my community do about alcohol outlets? -- Alcohol Outlet Density and Public Health

Abstract:  Alcohol outlet density is significantly related to the level of alcohol harm and problems that neighborhoods experience, particularly violence. Outlet density indicates the number of physical locations where alcohol is sold, either to drink on the premises (on-sale) or off the property (off-sale), per population or within geographic area such as a square mile, census tract, or city block.  Alcohol outlet density is often regulated at the local level through zoning and business licensing. State alcohol control agencies can also stipulate density levels.

09-_Road_to_success-_reach_your_potential-_web3.jpgCADCA and CAMY's Strategizer 55, Regulating Alcohol Outlet Density: An Action Guide

American Journal of Prevention Medicine's Community Guide to Prevention Services -- The Effectiveness of Limiting Alcohol Outlet Density As a Means of Reducing Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol-Related Harms

ABSTRACT: The density of alcohol outlets in communities may be regulated to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and related harms. Studies directly assessing the control of outlet density as a means of controlling excessive alcohol consumption and related harms do not exist, but assessments of related phenomena are indicative. To assess the effects of outlet density on alcohol-related harms, primary evidence was used from interrupted time–series studies of outlet density; studies of the privatization of alcohol sales, alcohol bans, and changes in license arrangements—all of which affected outlet density. Most of the studies included in this review found that greater outlet density is associated with increased alcohol consumption and related harms, including medical harms, injury, crime, and violence. Primary evidence was supported by secondary evidence from correlational studies. The regulation of alcohol outlet density may be a useful public health tool for the reduction of excessive alcohol consumption and related harms.

(Am J Prev Med 2009;37(6):556–569) Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of American Journal of Preventive Medicine)

08-_Risky_Decisions_Word_Cloud-_web.pngCDC -- Changes in Density of On-Premises Alcohol Outlets and Impact on Violent Crime, Atlanta, Georgia, 1997–2007 (ORIGINAL RESEARCH — Volume 12 — May 28, 2015)

CONCLUSIONS: A modest reduction in alcohol outlet density can substantially reduce exposure to violent crime in neighborhoods with high density of alcohol outlets.

(Zhang X, Hatcher B, Clarkson L, Holt J, Bagchi S, Kanny D, et al. Changes in Density of On-Premises Alcohol Outlets and Impact on Violent Crime, Atlanta, Georgia, 1997–2007. Prev Chronic Dis 2015;12:140317. DOI:


Alcohol Outlet Density in Kentucky

Current State LawABC_Signage_for_web.png

Youth under-21 may not enter a package store that sells distilled spirits and wine unless accompanied by a parent or guardian with the exception of pharmacies that hold a package license (804 KAR 5:070)

Judge Heyburn Ruling

On August 14, 2012-- U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that KY law (established more than 70 years ago) allowing sale of wine and liquor by some retailers, but not others, violates the U.S. Constitution Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

“This ruling, if it stands, will create the largest expansion of alcohol since the Prohibition”, and increase the potential for access to alcohol by minors.

KAPA News Update…. U.S. Court of Appeal reversed Judge Heyburn decision

The U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the U.S. District Judge John Heyburn ruling KY LAW STANDS (established more 70 years ago) allowing the sale of packaged wine and distilled spirits by liquor stores (who do not permit minors to enter or remain on premise or hire anyone under age-20) and pharmacies.

This is good news for prevention.  If the Appeal filed by the KY ABC would have lost, then ANY retailer could sell ANY type of alcohol.  This includes grocery stores, dollar stores, convenience stores, pawn and gun shops—even truck stops!

According to KY ABC, as of 10/21/13, there are 567 package liquor licenses available statewide.













Vacant Package Liquor Licenses by Region- Statewide Map

Vacant Package Liquor Licenses by Wet County/ Moist City- Statewide List