The Alcoholic Beverage Industry's Commitment to Responsible Drinking

Article excerpt

Statistics show that the vast majority of adults who drink do so safely and responsibly. To support this end, many alcoholic beverage companies participate in broad-based efforts to teach Americans - especially young Americans - about responsible drinking.

"As a brewer of many fine beers, we are committed to brewing and marketing in a responsible manner to a broad consumer group," says Ivan Burwell, community relations national program manager for Coors Brewing Co. "Focusing on education and prevention of abuse, we feel strongly that our products should be marketed and displayed as products of moderation," Burwell says.

Coors has an entire department devoted to alcohol awareness. Its programs include an advertising campaign featuring hard-hitting visuals and messages designed to curb drinking during the holiday season, discourage drunk driving and encourage parents to talk with their kids about alcohol.

Coors Manager of Alcohol Issues, Bart Alexander, contributes such columns as "Holiday Celebrations: Handle With Care" and "Safe Drinking - Best Defense For a Winning Football Season" to newspapers across the country.

Community involvement is also key to Coors' efforts. To get young drivers off to a good start, Coors instituted "Alcohol, Drugs, Driving and You" (ADDY) in 1983, a series of concise, straightforward materials developed to facilitate discussion among young people and adults. ADDY materials include:

* "Yes, You May Use the Car, But First..." a parent/teen discussion guide that reviews expectations, family rules and how to anticipate and prevent problems;

* It's Just Not Worth It," a step-by-step student guide for planning and conducting an assembly covering critical issues associated with drunk driving;

* "The ADDY Workbook," a three-session workbook designed for use by schools, churches, youth clubs and organizations interested in promoting healthy lifestyles for teens; and

* ADDY posters, which use colorful cartoon scenes to depict real-life situations and provide insight into the problems teens face with underage drinking.

Coors also develops merchandising items for distributors, such as buttons, stickers and key chains that carry responsible drinking messages and are made available to consumers at points of purchase. (Contact: Coors Alcoholic Issues Hotline, 800-328-6785.)

For more than 50 years, House of Seagram has run powerful advertising campaigns that promote a point of view instead of a product. From its Depression-era ad stating, "We Don't Want Bread Money," to its 1992 depiction of a wrecked car and the tagline, "It Had Every Safety Feature In the World. Except A Designated Driver," these special advertisements reflect the company's belief that society as a whole is best served by understanding the need for the responsible use of alcoholic beverages.

Says Carl Horton, vice president, group marketing director, White Goods Group, House of Seagram: "Seagram always has acknowledged a commitment to do more than produce quality products. We recognize that we are in a business unlike any other, and with that business comes a special obligation to encourage responsibility in the use of beverage alcohol."

House of Seagram recently kicked off its "Have You Talked Yet?" campaign on the heels of its "Talking About Alcohol" consumer handbook and audiocassette. "Have You Talked Yet?" (also a handbook and cassette) is designed to assist not only parents, but other adults who influence young people. Offering a culturally diverse perspective on problem-solving and other lifestyle issues, "Have You Talked Yet?" was developed in association with Prospect Associates. (For more information, call Chris Toffalli at Seagram, 212-572-1118.)

"Since the 1970's, Miller Brewing Co. has been doing its part to promote responsible drinking and reduce drunk driving, alcohol abuse and underage drinking," says Yvonne Lumsden-Dill, director, industry affairs for Miller Brewing. …