Different countries choose radically different ways to regulate peoples' access to alcohol. Some countries and some US states impose a state monopoly on alcohol sale ; others restrict the hours or days when alcohol is available for sale (see Wikipedia for summary).
Relatively recently (well 2005 if that counts as recent) England choose to relax licensing hours making it much easier for pubs or shops to serve alcohol after the traditional closing time of 11pm (wikipedia summary). At the time there were widespread criticisms from the conservative press that this would be a disaster (also see summary on the moral panic that resulted here). Some "experts" are still claiming that it is obvious that restrictions on supply are the most effective way to curb consumption (eg Ian Gilmore's comment here). But, contrary to that expectation, consumption in England has fallen significantly since the relaxation (BBC report).
So the question is what does the worldwide evidence look like? Is there significant evidence that what seems obvious is true: government restrictions limit consumption or harm? Some countries have tried complete prohibition (the USA isn't the only non-islamic state to try this). What was the balance of consumption and harm that led to prohibition being abandoned? Is prohibiting alcohol by age effective? Does restriction by time or supplier work?
NB. I know what seems obvious, but I want to know what the evidence actually says.