Currently, 47 states and the District of Columbia prohibit sales to obviously intoxicated persons (Florida, Nevada, and Wyoming are the only exceptions). Despite these laws, alcohol sales to obviously intoxicated patrons in on-premise establishments, such as bars, continue to occur 58 to 85 percent of the time. A study in the May issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research confirms that the likelihood of alcohol sales to obviously intoxicated patrons in both on- and off-premise establishments (such as liquor stores) is very high, and that younger servers/clerks are significantly less likely to withhold service.
"This study confirms what other studies have found, that sales to obviously intoxicated customers in on-premise establishments is highly likely," said Traci L. Toomey, assistant professor in the division of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota and first author of the study. "Additionally, this study also shows that these types of illegal alcohol sales may be even more likely at off-premise establishments."
Trained actors posing as intoxicated patrons attempted to purchase alcohol at 223 on-premise and 132 off-premise establishments in 11 communities in a large Midwestern metropolitan area during a 10-month period beginning in September 1999. In addition to recording whether or not an establishment sold alcohol to a "buyer," researchers also collected data regarding the perceived age and gender of the server/clerk, the surrounding area (commercial or residential), exterior maintenance, type of license (limited or