RRF Wins NIAAA Small Business Innovation Research Award to Develop Sustainable RR Systems


August 30, 2012

Project Summary

The Responsible Retailing Forum (“RRForum”) is partnering with four state alcohol regulators─the California Alcoholic Beverages Commission, the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, the Texas Department of Liquor Control and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue─to evaluate a new model to support compliance with underage sales laws by alcoholic beverage licensees. The new model, derived from a federal guidance document, Report on Best Practices for Responsible Retailing, provides licensees with assistance in assessing current Responsible Retailing practices and implementing Best Practices for on-premises serving establishments and off-premise retailers. The model includes mystery shopper feedback to licensees on actual staff performance when young, legal-age inspectors (age 21 – 24) ask to purchase or be served an alcoholic beverage. Individual licensee mystery shop results remain confidential; but aggregate results are shared with all key stakeholders throughout the community.

The two-year program is funded by a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to RRF Field Services LLC (the research and technical services arm of RRForum) to develop sustainable Responsible Retailing programs for communities, states and associations.  In each of the four participating states, the study will select 2 pairs of demographically matched communities and identify 15 retailers and 15 serving establishments in each community. Employing a randomized cross-over design, one community will receive the RR program while the other serves as a control. After nine months, the control community receives the program while the effects of decay are studied after the program is discontinued in the original community.

State regulators and other stakeholders will assist RRF in adapting the model to the laws and practices of that state, in assessing the program and in considering whether and how the model could be sustained.



RRF is a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization whose dual objectives are (1) to identify and promulgate Best Practices, and (2) to engage public and private stakeholders in policy examinations. Brad S. Krevor, Ph.D, RRF’s president, is the Principal Investigator for the SBIR award. Joel Grube, Ph.D, director of the Prevention Research Center, PIRE, will oversee the evaluation. Professors William DeJong, Ph.D, Boston University School of Public Health, and Jeffrey Prottas, Ph.D, Brandeis University, are project consultants. Organizations that committed their support for RRF’s efforts to develop sustainable Responsible Retailing systems include American Beverage Licensees, Diageo, MillerCoors, the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.