WASHINGTON, April 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of National Alcohol Awareness Month, Joe McClain, president of the Beer Institute, emphasized the long-term commitment of brewers and importers to reduce underage drinking and drunk driving. As an industry, they have made significant investments in public safety, education and prevention campaigns.
Beer Institute members combat underage drinking and drunk driving through a wide variety of programs. Among the recent examples of their efforts are:
- Anheuser-Busch has created a Family Talk Facebook page (available at www.facebook.com/AnheuserBuschFamilyTalkAboutDrinking) to provide resources and encourage open, honest communication between children and parents about alcohol responsibility. In addition, through the company's We I.D. program, Anheuser-Busch and its family of 600 wholesalers host trainings and distribute tools to help retailers serve and sell alcohol responsibly, and post signage to remind customers that they will be asked to show a valid I.D. when they purchase alcohol.
- MillerCoors surpassed its One Million Strong commitment in 2010 by encouraging consumers to not drive drunk by either planning ahead for a safe ride home via the Miller Lite Free Rides program, calling 1-800-TaxiCab or taking a pledge of responsibility on GreatBeerGreatResponsibility.com or at one of many sponsored events. MillerCoors has made the same One Million Strong commitment for 2011 and, to date, 423,018 people have already taken the pledge.
- Heineken USA is proud to offer support for Taxi Magic, a nationally accessible Smartphone application connecting consumers to local taxicabs. Additionally, Heineken USA is a founding member of the Health Alliance on Alcohol, offering free resources to parents and mentors to encourage discussions with teens about various alcohol issues such as prom, graduation, teen driving and access to alcohol. Materials are available in English and Spanish and can be viewed, downloaded or ordered from www.HealthAllianceonAlcohol.com.
- Crown Imports works to include an element of responsible programming in major sponsorships like the U.S. Open of Surfing, which draws over 500,000 spectators, by providing free shuttle bus service and taxi vouchers for surfing fans. Crown Imports also partners with public transportation, like the Chicago Transit Authority, to offer "safe-rides home" over holiday time periods.
Noting long-term progress made in these areas, McClain said, "While there is always more to do to reinforce the message of responsible drinking, we want to note the positive results that have been achieved, which speak to the effectiveness of the partnerships among industry, government and others in combating underage drinking and drunk driving."
The Beer Institute and industry partners recognize the need to promote responsible drinking year-round and are encouraged by trends that indicate declines in underage drinking. The Centers for Disease Control found that underage drinking among high school students has decreased 16.4 percent between 1999 and 2009, to the lowest level since tracking began in 1991. Echoing these findings, University of Michigan's 2010 Monitoring the Future study marked the lowest level of alcohol consumption among 12th graders since the study's inception in 1975.
Entering college freshman also have shown a decrease in underage consumption. In 2010, UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute found beer drinking among college freshmen is 20 percent lower than in 2000 and down 48 percent since its peak in 1982.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported drunk-driving fatalities fell to a record-low level in 2009.
"We are pleased to see the decline in underage drinking highlighted in recent national surveys, which indicates today's youth are increasingly making smart decisions when it comes to alcohol," said McClain. "But, with prom and graduation occurring in the spring, Alcohol Awareness Month in April is an opportunity to reinforce the important role parents play in talking with their children about not drinking alcohol. We applaud parents who have worked to raise awareness about the potential dangers of underage drinking."
McClain added, "While these reports show progress, we will continue our work of promoting the responsible and legal consumption of our products, and advocating measures that prevent youth access to alcohol."
For more information on the beer industry's responsibility initiatives, visit www.beerinstitute.org.
The 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 the development of sound public policy and to the values of civic duty and personal responsibility: www.BeerInstitute.org.
SOURCE Beer Institute