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Off-Premise Alcohol Retailers Become Fair Game for Sting Operations

Prior to coronavirus’ arrival in the United States, it was commonplace to see Americans at bars and restaurants socially enjoying alcoholic beverages. Fast-forward six-months and the vast majority have now vacated traditional stomping grounds and retreated to the confines of their homes to enjoy their beverages. At first glance, this transition, compounded with the temporary shuttering of restaurants and bars, signals a generalized decrease in alcohol sales. But there’s much more to the story.


While research shows alcohol sales are down at traditional outlets, product sales volumes are up among grocery stores and eCommerce sites. According to the Winsight Grocery Business blog, Impact of COVID-19 on Retail Alcohol Sales, in late May, the increase was 41 percent for brick-and-mortar stores and as much as 339 percent for online sales. Within the very same blog, Anheuser-Busch reports that 45 percent of consumers are drinking more at home week-over-week compared to this time last year, as they adapt to shelter-at-home orders and remain wary of social destinations. Both explanations are catalysts for newly formed home-bound habits and routines, including virtual happy hours with friends and family.


This very real shift in alcohol provisioning brings increased – and possibly new – opportunities to educate and train employees on your convenience or grocery store’s carding policy. And at The BARS Program, we strongly encourage you adapt an “ask for ID under 35” policy. If you need help doing either, contact BARS at 1-877-540-5500, or visit for more information. Ultimately, off-premise alcohol sales increase the likelihood that underage persons will attempt to purchase age-sensitive products, and as a result, law enforcement will focus its efforts where the attempts are happening – at convenience and grocery stores, as opposed to restaurants and bars with limited sales.

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