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Alcoholic beverage coalition formed to fight drunk driving.

Alcoholic beverage coalition formed to fight drunk driving

The Century Council, a newly-formed coalition of brewers, vintners and distillers, recently kicked off a large-scale campaign against alcohol abuse. The Council's $40-million program, which was introduced in New York City, will focus on efforts to reduce drunken driving and underage drinking.

Century Council chairman John Gavin, former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, announced the start of the broad-based industry effort. "I believe that we shouldn't have to put up with the painful costs that drunk driving and underage drinking are causing our nation," Gavin explained, "because we can do something about them. Others have made great progress in the fight against alcohol abuse - our goal is to accelerate it that progress.

"Our first priorities are to reduce drunk driving by at least 50 percent in as many communities as possible in this decade," Gavin continued, "and to simultaneously eliminate underage drinking problems."

The Council's member companies, including Guinness Import Co. and the Stroh Brewery Co., have pledged almost $40 million to support the Council and its agenda. "The Council has been created around the concept that collective action can have a greater impact than separate efforts," Gavin noted. "Never before has there been an organization that can bring together all sectors of the licensed beverage industry in a united effort to attack the problems of alcohol abuse on this scale."

In addition to the two beer industry members, the Council includes some of the country's foremost vintners and distillers; including Bacardi Imports, Brown Forman Beverage Co., Carillon Importers, Glenmore Distilleries Co., Heublein, Inc., Hiram Walker-Allied Vinters Inc. The list also includes Jose Cuervo y Cia, Martini & Rossi, Moet Hennessy Corp., the Robert Mondavi Winery, Austin Nichols & Co., the Paddington Corp., Seagram & Sons and Baron Phillipe de Rothschild, S.A.

In his address, Gavin outlined the scope of the Council's six-point program, which will include support for the passage of drunk driving license revocation laws; more effective treatment facilities; community-based anti-drunk driving laws and better identification of minors at the point of sale. In addition, Gavin noted, all Council members will subscribe to a code of responsible marketing and advertising practices.

The specifics of the program are as follows:

* In five cities during 1991, the Century Council will organize community-wide campaigns offering server training, public education, enforcement, designated drivers, advertising and public relations. Following independent evaluation and measurement of program effectiveness, the Council will also expand its efforts to additional cities and encourage communities large and small throughout the country to start similar campaigns.

* The Century Council is supporting administrative license revocation laws, which permit immediate seizure of the driver's license after arrest and require a speedy hearing. The Council will work for passage of the laws in the 21 states that do not yet have such a law.

* The Council is sponsoring a documentary videotape being produced by the Insurance Information Institute. The videotape focuses on a Maryland alcohol-abuse treatment facility that has reduced recidivism to record lows. When complete, the tape will be distributed to citizen's action groups, state and local officials and alcohol policy groups.

* On television and in print, the Century Council will test the effectiveness of anti-drunk driving advertising messages on a local and regional basis. The Council is working with wholesalers and retailers to develop effective materials for use in package stores, bars and restaurants.

* The Council will support new identification cards that are not easily altered or counterfeited. In addition, the Council will work with retailers to educate servers in identifying underage customers.

* A code of responsible marketing and advertising practices has been developed by the Council. This code applies to every segment of the industry, and addresses a broad range of marketing practices. Each member company is specifically obligated to undertake a company-wide program to ensure compliance.

PHOTO : JOHN GAVIN, chairman, Century Council.
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Title Annotation:Century Council
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jun 3, 1991
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