I have been doing research on liquor sales and was surprised to learn there are a number of states in which proposals are being made to allow grocery stores and convenience stores to sell spirits, as well as wine. Obviously driven by a desire to improve profits and add a new product line to their offerings, grocery and big box retailers are pushing to be permitted to sell liquors, something that generally has been restricted to alcohol and beverage commission stores to this point. One concern that has been raised by opponents in states where this is or has been proposed is that it could lead to an increase in juvenile shoplifting of spirits. Indeed, in Washington State where the sale of spirits in grocery stores was approved by voters, there are complaints of increased theft by minors. This led to the passage of state House Bill 2155 in 2014 which makes it possible for stores to lose their liquor license if there is too much theft of spirits. According to a May 9, 2014 article in Columbian.com, Columbian Political Writer Lauren Drake writes, “The measure, House Bill 2155, states that a licensee experiencing an “unacceptable rate of spirits theft” defined as two or more incidents in a six month period, where the result is an underage drinker ends up possessing the booze, could see their license pulled by the state’s liquor control board.” If other states follow suit permitting grocery stores and convenience stores to sell spirits, it is safe to assume similar legislation could follow in those states. So what are some actions stores may take to enhance liquor bottle security? Incorporating the use of bottle locks on product is one solution.
Wines and spirits are stolen when they are easy to access, and there are no security measures in place to deter shoplifters. Bottle locks provide liquor bottle security by preventing access to the bottle cap. The locks cover the top of the bottle and depending on the style of lock used, protects part of the neck of the bottle as well. Once in place, the locks can only be removed by using a special detachment key which should be maintained at the points of sale. If someone tries to pry a bottle lock off, the result will be a broken bottle of liquor. Another protective feature of these locks is that they are electronic article surveillance (EAS) sensitive and will cause EAS antenna alarms to sound if a locked bottle is carried in the vicinity of the antenna.
No business owner wants shoplifting to take place in their stores and they especially don’t want minors to get hold of alcoholic beverages. If stores other than alcohol and beverage commission stores are going to sell these products, they will have to take steps to keep product available to their customers and out of the hands of youth. Lock up cases could do the job, but the problem with lock up cases is that they require staff to be available to respond immediately when someone wants something out of the case. Lock up cases also requires the employee to walk the merchandise to the checkout lane taking up more of the employee’s time. One other issue with lock up cases is that the customer is unable to hold the product and look at it. Sales significantly improve when customers have the ability to select products, look at them and continue to shop. Bottle locks give the shopper the freedom of movement they desire and makes shopping faster for them.
If you are a store owner selling or considering selling spirits, make sure you look into liquor bottle security which includes EAS antennas and bottle locks. I would also suggest signage warning patrons that bottle locks are in use as an added deterrent to theft. Additional security measures could include video cameras and public view monitors on the aisle in which the alcohol is kept. Placement of alcohol should be done so that the product is in direct view of a cashier or customer service point. With such measures in place a store owner should be able to deter not only juvenile shoplifters but adult shoplifters too. You will find that proactive security steps on your part will protect you and your business if laws are enacted such as those in Washington State.
Liquor bottle security is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.