Full to the brim? Outlet density and alcohol-related harm

English | Cymraeg

11 June 2012

Note: This report was funded and/or written by our predecessor organisation Alcohol Concern.


It is now well established that there are two key mechanisms to reduce alcohol-related harm: increasing the price of alcohol, and restricting its physical availability. Availability refers to the ease or convenience of obtaining alcohol. The more widely available and easily obtainable alcohol is, the greater amounts of it can be consumed, and consequently the more normal and acceptable frequent and excessive consumption tends to become within society. This then exacerbates alcohol-related problems.

High outlet density – the clustering of a large number of premises selling alcohol within a small geographical area – is increasingly common in town and city centres across the UK, meaning alcohol is more easily and widely available to consumers within these areas than elsewhere. For this reason, discussions about outlet density generally focus on the impact of concentrations of premises selling alcohol in central urban areas.

This paper examines this issue of outlet density in more detail and asks whether reducing density will lessen alcohol-related harms.