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Alhambra's liquor stores

Do the liquor stores of Alhambra deserve to be documented? The website SGV For Life thinks they should and photographed some of the independent ones recently.

Our colleagues at Boyle Heights Beat, a bilingual youth journalism newspaper and community website also affilated with USC, recently brought to light some of the more negative aspects of liquor stores in their community.

They seem to be everywhere.

In some neighborhoods of Boyle Heights, stores selling alcohol appear to be on almost every block. They sell beer, wine, and sometimes liquor, along with items like candy, Lotto tickets, magazines, and milk….

It appeared that additional alcohol outlets, especially in low-income neighborhoods, “contribute to both crime and urban decay.”

Although Boyle Heights has a population just slightly larger than Alhambra, it has about 50 percent more liquor stores.

Alhambra has 65 off-sale liquor stores and a population of just over 85,000. Info graphic from Boyle Heights Beat.

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6 thoughts on “Alhambra's liquor stores”

  1. I used the retail authorization from California Beverage Control and tallied Alhambra census tracts. If you catch an error, please let me know. And Robert, we could always use help on our data desk. If you're interested please e-mail me directly at [email protected].

    Thanks, Daniela

    1. I was able to validate your numbers (65) from the retail authorization report. Using the same census tracts, if you query (http://www.abc.ca.gov/datport/AHCountyCT.asp) the active licenses, you’ll get 40 licenses. These include establishments such as Ralphs, Fresh and Easy, Costco, gas stations, in addition to traditional liquor stores.

      I suspect the difference between your numbers and mine have to do with authorized vs active licenses, as well as (I think to a smaller degree) timing of the report–the retail authorization is dated Aug 2011–perhaps some of the authorized licensees fell off.

      So given 40 active licenses that are comprised of markets and liquor stores, it appears that Alhambra has an unusually low number of off-sale licensees for a given population and income level. Given some time, I may look at the number of on-sale licenses (e.g., restaurants and bars) per census tract. I expect that number to be higher.

      I’ve emailed you the link to the file I uploaded to google docs. This shows # of authorized and active licenses by census tract and # of licenses per 1000 population. You’re free to use (or not use) whichever way you see fit.

  2. Interesting data mining. Just to make sure I understand what you did, you inputed median income at $50,925 and population at 82,475 from 2010 Census (I used ACS data) to find the 12.8 stores per $10,000 income and correlation between income and liquor stores?  

    1. Daniela,

      Your understanding is correct.

      65 / 5.0925 (median household income / 10,000) = 12.8
      65 / 8.2475 (household pop / 10,000) = 7.9

      I used total population (83,089), but household population is probably the better number to use.

    2. Can you cite the source of the 65 off-sale licenses in Alhambra? Using ABC’s reporting tool (http://www.abc.ca.gov/datport/AHCity.asp), I can only come up with 40 off-sale licenses in Alhambra.

  3. Using figures from the city’s own data (http://www.cityofalhambra.org/about/demographics.html), 65 liquor stores equate to about 7.8 stores per 10,000 residents, vs. 11.2 stores per 10,000 residents in Boyle Heights. That’s a bit less than 50%, but the density is comparable to Santa Monica and (to a lesser degree) Compton.

    What’s interesting though, and it seems to correlate with income and number of stores, is that Alhambra has 12.8 stores per $10,000 household income. Compare with Boyle Heights (30), Santa Monica (10.1), Compton (16), and West Covina (8.2). By this figure, the higher the household income, the lesser number of liquor stores.

    These figures would change if we counted all the independent and “corporate” (e.g., 7-11) stores. No judgement from here whether this is good or bad. But I do like the idea of documenting the independent stores in Alhambra.