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Lori Levy
Beer Institute

Alcohol Abuse Continues To Decline

Washington, DC, March 2, 2001 - Nearly 75 percent of states reported increased beer shipments in 2000, helping mark the first year of the new century with another record-setting high, according to estimates from Beer Institute. Overall beer shipments increased by 0.5 percent to 197.1 million barrels with nearly half of states reporting shipment increases of 1 percent or more. Beer shipments measure brewers' shipments to wholesalers, and represent the best available proxy for beer consumption.

Jeff Becker, president, Beer Institute, noted that while beer shipments continue to increase, drunk driving fatalities and underage drinking continue to decrease. "For more than two decades, members of the brewing industry have been proud to be part of the solution to reducing drunk driving and alcohol abuse." He added that through their involvement for programs and activities in such areas as prevention, treatment, education, research, outreach and more, America's brewers are helping to push alcohol abuse at, or near, their lowest levels - ever.

These increased shipment rates and decreased abuse rates are an example of the effectiveness of these programs. Recent studies from the University of Michigan, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the American Council of Education, among others, have all drawn similar results-significant reductions in drunk driving and underage drinking.

  • The number of people killed in drunk driving crashes has declined 32 percent since 1990 and 41 percent since 1982.
  • The percentage of teens who report having a drink in the past month was 47 percent lower in 1999 than in 1982.
  • The percentage of college freshmen who say they drink beer frequently or occasionally is at its lowest level since record-keeping began. The record low in 1999 was 13 percent lower than in 1990 and down 32 percent since 1982.

Becker said, "No one is more concerned about problems caused by alcohol abuse, or is doing more to educate the public about responsible consumption than members of the beer industry." He added that while much remains to be done, recent studies show significant progress by the beer industry on safe and responsible alcohol consumption programs.


Beer Institute, established in 1986, is the national trade association for the brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. The Institute is committed to development of sound public policy and to the values of civic duty and personal responsibility.


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