Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Retail Alcohol Availability and Product Diversity

Shuay-Tsyr Ho, Cornell, Mingyang Qu, Cornell, Bradley J. Rickard Cornell, Marco Costanigro, Colorado State University, and Edward McLaughlin, Cornell examine Retail Alcohol Availability and Product Diversity.

ABSTRACT: The repeal of the Prohibition Act in 1933 introduced many state-specific regulations in alcohol markets. As one example of this, several states currently have laws that restrict specific alcoholic beverages in grocery stores, and some states have recently considered lifting these restrictions. Some opponents of such legislative changes claim that allowing alcohol to be more widely distributed would put smaller liquor stores out of business and eventually lead to a narrower set of product choices available to consumers. Here we use the Nielsen Homescan dataset that describes alcoholic beverage purchasing patterns for approximately 70,000 households between 2004 and 2012 to examine this issue empirically. Our results show that, even when controlling for preferences for variety, consumers in states that allow beer and wine sales in grocery stores have greater diversity in their purchases of beer and wine. Overall, the findings suggest that expanding the retail availability of beer and wine may actually increase the diversity of alcoholic beverage products purchased by consumers in those states.


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