NEW ORLEANS – In a city that loves to wet its whistle, New Orleanians are used to seeing bottles of a certain size on liquor store shelves,but now the lineup of options is expanding.
You might think Louisiana has lax liquor laws but before last week, a 100 ml (3.4 oz) liquor bottle was illegal in the state. The smallest bottle you could buy was twice as big.
Distributors say Louisiana lagged behind other states when it comes to selling the smaller bottles. So what did it take to get them in stores? A push from local liquor suppliers prompted the state legislature this year to ease size restrictions.
Now, local distributors say smaller bottles mean bigger sales.
“The 100 ml [bottle] makes a little more sense because it's value priced,” said Fred Holley, event coordinator for the New Orleans-based Republic National Distributing Company. “Because of the volume of new brands being introduced throughout the U.S., not only in Louisiana, it makes a little more economic sense for the consumer.”
This marks Louisiana's first change in bottle size limits since Prohibition ended, said Holley.
A Circle K on N. Causeway Boulevard in Metairie is one of the first stores to sell the smaller bottles.
“Sales have been skyrocketing, these last couple of days it's been well above average,” said cashier Desere Cook.
“It's more convenient. You don't have to buy such a large quantity, if you just want one little drink, that's fine,” said Wilfred Washington, who saw the bottles for the first time Friday and decided to buy one.
But not everyone is happy with the change.
“I would think making the bottles smaller I think it would cause more problems than it would solve,” said Metairie resident Joel Goodman.
So far, the selection is small as well. You'll find just five brands that come in 100 ml bottles in the metro area so far, all of them made by the Metairie-based Sazerac Company. But the selection is expected to expand, and so too are sales.
The new, smaller bottles are still twice the size of those you see on airplanes. Those in the industry say bottles that tiny could be too easy to steal.
The new law, carried by state senator J.P. Morrell, D- New Orleans, also eases size restrictions for wine bottles.
It went into effect June 18.