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Lori Levy
Beer Institute

Statement on CSPI's Allegation that Malternatives are Marketed to Teens

Washington, DC, May 9, 2001 - Members of the brewing industry are opposed to all forms of alcohol abuse, including underage drinking. And the industry has demonstrated its conviction through sponsorship and involvement in prevention, treatment, education, research and outreach programs. America's brewers are helping to push underage drinking and alcohol abuse at, or near, their lowest levels - ever.

America's brewers offer legal age drinking consumers a variety of products, including alternative malt-based beverages. Clearly, a segment of the legal drinking age consumers like the taste of these "malternatives." These consumers sometimes want a beverage with a lower alcohol content that doesn't have the bitterness that hops adds to traditional beers. For years, adults have been drinking wine coolers, sweet wines, ciders, etc., and at the same time, underage drinking and drunk driving has declined.

Our members work with the Federal Trade Commission on advertising issues and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms on labeling issues. Both agencies have broad authority to prevent advertising and marketing to teens and adults under 21

Underage drinking is a societal and family issue--not an advertising issue. Exposure to or awareness of beer advertising by those under the legal drinking age has nothing to do with what can help them make decisions about not drinking alcohol beverages. Alcohol abuse and underage drinking unfortunately pre-date the advent of beer advertising, and preventing these problems is not as simple as turning off the television set or covering children's eyes. Instead, we need to prepare our children to make smart, responsible decisions through home, school, and other environments. To this end, we in America's brewing industry are playing an active role in partnerships and programs to stop underage drinking.

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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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