America's brewers and wholesalers are deeply involved in the communities in which they do business. Their long-standing commitment to reducing alcohol misuse is unparalleled. In fact, the industry alone has spent over $200 million over the past decade to fund research, public safety, education and prevention campaigns to curb alcohol abuse.
Here are just a few examples:
- The nation's largest brewers, Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Coors, and Stroh, are involved in a range of consumer awareness activities designed to help fight drunk driving and underage drinking, and to promote responsible consumption of beer by adults who chose to drink. Included in prime-time television commercials, billboards, and newspaper ads, the messages are positive reminders of the responsibility each individual has when choosing to drink. Examples include: "Know When to Say When," "Think When You Drink," "Drink Safely," "Drink Smart or Don't Start," and "Now, Not Now."
- College Programs: The brewers also participate in and support National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, the Buddy System and other educational programs designed to help teach young people about responsible and legal alcohol consumption on America's college campuses.
- Training and Awareness Programs: Working with retailers, brewers and wholesalers sponsor and promote special holiday, server training, designated driver and taxi programs to promote awareness and responsible drinking at bars, restaurants, home parties, and social events.
- Safe Holiday Reminder Series: The Beer Institute, the brewers' trade association, produces and distributes award-winning radio public service announcements (PSAs) discouraging drunk driving for national broadcast during six major driving holidays annually. The series has won two Mercury Awards for excellence.
- Beer Institute Community Fund (BICAF): Founded in 1989, BICAF has provided grants of up to $10,000 to nearly 200 community-based organizations that need support for effective substance abuse education and prevention programs.
- Television and Radio PSAs: The Beer Institute, in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), and the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) recently produced two television and one radio 30-second PSAs, geared to parents and teens, to discourage illegal underage drinking and drunk driving. The "21 Means 21" campaign has received praise and endorsements from state alcohol beverage regulators and other officials around the country.
- "We I.D."; Together with the NBWA, over one million pocket sized laminated cards were distributed in 1992 and 1993 to retail employees to assist in detecting fake driver's licenses used for illegal beer purchases.
- Point of Sale: To help retailers, the Beer Institute and NBWA teamed up to create and distribute nearly two million posters and flyers that show the importance of checking for identification to prevent underage drinking.
- Advertising Codes: Voluntary industry advertising guidelines were developed to help brewers maintain the highest ethical standards in advertising and marketing their products. First developed in the 1950's, they were last updated in 1992.
While much remains to be done, recent studies indicate that progress is being made in the fight against alcohol abuse. Virtually every indicator of alcohol abuse has show significant progress during the past ten years. Underage drinking and drunk driving are on the decline, while awareness about problems associated with abuse has hit near saturation levels.
Whether it is a server training programs, free cab rides, parent-to-child discussion guides on drinking and driving, or high-visibility advertising, the beer industry has invested millions to be part of the solution.