“Respect 21 Responsible Retailing Program“

Key dates

  • Started on 03/01/2005
  • Last updated on 29/08/2015
  • Status: ongoing


  • USA

Funding bodies

  • MillerCoors : A joint venture of SABMiller and Molson Coors

Type of initiative

  • Reducing and preventing underage drinking

Description & results

A comprehensive program which focuses on numerous avenues to help keep alcohol out of the reach of minors. It was developed in partnership with the Responsible Retailing Forum and Brandeis University and assists retailers in preventing sales of alcohol to underage individuals. 

For retailers a 12 month program includes training together with branded underage prevention point of sale items; a "HELP Guide for Retailers" based on a government recognized document; and quarterly newsletters and management tools. Quarterly confidential, legal age mystery shopper inspections monitor progress.

The program also provides educational resources that are prepared by experts for parents and other concerned adults, such as: ‘Let’s Keep Talking’. The retail signage reminds adults not to give alcohol to minors and of the legal penalties in their state for doing so as well as helping the retailer to help stop illegal sales to minors.

This academically researched program has successfully helped enhance the behaviours of over 1,866 retailers in over 41 communities since its launch in 2005.
Improvements have been seen in every city where the program has been conducted. In Miami, there was a 100% increase in the number of times clerks requested proof of age. In New York, pass rates increased from 67% in the first quarter of the program to 89%.

Legal-drinking-age mystery shoppers visit these retailers to test the clerk’s response in requesting identification prior to a sales transaction. Results of these visits are presented confidentially to the retailer. Key stakeholders and MillerCoors also receive quarterly summary reports for each community involved with the year-long program.
In 2012, the program was, expanded with 18 new communities and 668 new retailers . The quarterly reports for these new Respect 21 communities are showing favourable progress.

In 2013, Respect 21 was used primarily in connection with the company's approach to responsible college marketing and worked with near-campus retailers.  The program continues to have favourable results based on mystery shopper inspections conducted by BARS.  In addition, the program is ongoing in communities in Texas, New Mexico, Utah and Wisconsin.  In Wisconsin the program has transitioned into a state-wide program where retailers across the state can participate on an annual basis.  This approach is supported by the Wisconsin Tavern League, law enforcement, city officials and community organizations and Drug Free Community Coalitions.

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