Beer producers and wholesalers have produced numerous brochures, booklets, compact disks, videos, and public service announcements aimed at educating youth, parents, potential servers of alcohol to youth, and the general public. Programs for servers of alcohol (e.g., “We I.D.,” “TIPS”) are designed to promote enforcement of laws prohibiting sales to minors and to prevent serving underage and intoxicated persons. Other materials highlight the perils of drinking and driving, promote responsible drinking, or provide advice to parents on helping kids make responsible decisions. The industry also has sponsored activities specific to college campuses. They include the types of activities just noted, as well as support for the social norms approach (i.e., counteracting beliefs that the prevalence of drinking among peers is higher than it really is). Some companies in the beer industry also have sponsored public speakers and participated in community efforts to address underage drinking.
Representatives of the distilled spirits industry reported to the committee a similar commitment to reducing underage drinking. For example, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), a national trade association representing producers and marketers of distilled sprits and importers of wines sold in the United States, recently provided funding to a number of colleges to implement alcohol action plans. DISCUS also supports the programs funded by the Century Council,3 a nonprofit entity established in 1991 that reports having invested “more than $120 million” over the last 10 years “in programs that fight against the misuse of their products.” The Century Council defines its core activities as being aimed at four objectives, two of which focus on drunk driving and two of which focus specifically on underage drinking:
educate middle-school through college students, their parents, teachers, and adult caregivers about the importance of making responsible decisions regarding beverage alcohol;
inform the public about how gender, weight, and number and type of drink affect an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and increase awareness of state BAC driving laws;
deter minors from buying beverage alcohol through joint programs with law enforcement, retailers, and wholesalers, using point-of-sale materials and public awareness campaigns; and
reduce drunk driving through research and promising strategies, tougher state and federal legislation, treatment, and education.