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Brewers & wholesalers step up alcohol education efforts.

Brewers & Wholesalers Step Up Alcohol Education Efforts

The beer industry, through new and expanded alcohol awareness programs, demonstrates it is doing something to reverse drunk driving and alcohol abuse.

"Perhaps the greatest single threat we face is the ability of anti-alcohol forces to claim that inaction on our part proves that we are irresponsible and deserve to be more tightly controlled. Public education erases this threat." Leonard Goldstein, president, Miller Brewing Co.

"It's time for us to stop doing nothing and take the making sure the public learns the difference between drinking and getting drunk." Ronald Rumbaugh, president, National Beer Wholesalers Association.

"We must make a stronger and more vocal stand in defense of our products." August A. Busch, III, chairman, Anheuser-Busch, Cos., Inc.

While maybe stated differently, these three industry executives are actually making the same point. The malt beverage business, for years a scapegoat of alcohol-control advocates, is now standing up to its critics. Refusing to take the blame for all the social ills manifested by alcohol abuse and drunk driving, the industry has come to terms with the product it sells. Beer--the beverage of moderation--is actually good for you when consumed properly, the industry says, and makes significant contributions to the U.S. economy. Beer should not be viewed as evil, they contend, nor should it be even remotely linked to illegal substances, like addicting drugs.

Wagering debates with adversaries--however, beer executives have learned--only goes so far. More, in the form of increased alcohol education, is needed, they maintain.

And so, steps are now being taken to inform the public on responsible drinking. These efforts, which include the recently-announced Beer Institute and expanded Anheuser-Busch public service campaigns, also serve to enlighten industry foes that U.S. brewers and wholesalers are doing something.

Long-time programs

But not all of these good-will gestures are in their infancy. Some programs have been in use for many years. Others still, at both the brewery- and beer-wholesaling level, are in the planning stages. Nevertheless, the industry is publically demonstrating its support of the safe, responsible use of beer and abhorence of its misuse.

One of the most visible public-service campaigns, of course, is A-B's "Know When to Say When" program. The four-year-old national plan, part of the brewer's overall Operation Alert awareness and education umbrella, features television, film, and point-of-purchase executions delivering responsibility messages to consumers. The TV spots use celebrities and athletes to make the point for moderation. Recently, the St. Louis brewer announced that it is stepping up its financial commitment in the alcohol-awareness arena, including the creation of the firm's Department of Consumer Awareness and Education. The reported $30-million-a-year program will focus on increased advertising and grassroots-education programs. According to Busch, the media weight of the "Know When" campaign has been doubled and new creative executions have been added.

One new 15-second spot, for instance, features quarterback Dan Marino walking towards a car with a friend. The friend passes his keys to Marino, who says, "If you've been drinking, pass your car keys to someone who hasn't."

Another recent spot, also 15 seconds long, uses race car driver Scott Pruett. A third, meanwhile, designed to speak directly to consumers in the 21-25 age group, features contemporary, fastpaced music, A-B said. The 30-second commercial airs in late-night time slots and programming with a high percentage of contemporary adult viewership.

"Trends indicate that awareness programs such as `Know When to Say When' are having a positive effect on abusive behavior," Stephan J. Burrows, vice president of consumer awareness and education for A-B, said, "and that's why we've increased our efforts to get these messages out. The trends are positive, and while more improvement is necessary, Anheuser-Busch will continue to work toward solutions and put the brakes on drunk driving."

Industry contributions

Additionally, the world's largest brewer recently began a sister campaign to "Know When" which "stands up for the heritage of beer, and its contributions to the quality of life for responsible, adult Americans." The "Good Part of the Good Life" ad campaign "defends the concept of responsible drinking by emphasizing facts that are all too often ignored," Busch stated. "The advertising portrays beer's role in history, its appropriate place in family life and the major contributions of the beer industry to the American economy."

Similarly, the Beer Institute's new print campaign, entitled "Why We Do It," is intended to "help coalesce the wide range of programs offered by brewing companies under one thematic umbrella," the Washington-based association stated.

"As a brewer, we are firmly committed to developing and putting into motion programs which encourage individuals to make responsible decisions regarding their lifestyles," Bill Coors, chairman, Adolph Coors Co., stated. "Our efforts extend from programs in place at our brewery to those in communities throughout our marketing territory."

Recent attempts of the Golden, CO brewer to convey moderation messages include Coors' new "Now...Not Now" TV public service announcement. The 30-second spot, which features vignettes of the proper times to drink and to abstain, plays upon the Coors Light "The Right Beer Now" ad campaign. Former alcohol-education spots sponsored by Colors included the "Give Me the Keys" ad.

The new commercial joins Coors' consumer slogan, "drink safely." The slogan and logo appear on all Coors point-of-sale materials and secondary packaging.

Coors involvement in alcohol education dates back to 1980, when the brewer formed an Alcohol Abuse and Misuse Task Force, composed of representatives from a cross-section of the brewery workforce. According to the company, the task force oversees all Coors' alcohol abuse prevention programs.

"All community segments have been addressed by the task force, including grade school, high school and college, as well as community leaders and educators," the brewer reported.

Specifically, Coors support has been given to ADDY (Alcohol, Drugs, Driving and You), a high-school curriculum made available through Coors wholesalers. The brewer participates in ADDY via a partnership with the Prevention Center, a non-profit Colorado corporation.

At the college level, Coors says it is a supporter of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week. That program, sponsored by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, recognizes universities and colleges that implement "progressive alcohol awareness activities," Coors said. In 1988, six such institutions received $1,000 grants.

The Miller Brewing Co. has also become involved in alcohol education programs, at both the consumer and grassroots levels. This summer the Milwaukee brewer sponsored a PSA featuring the rock group. The Who, a band which has been a recent recipient of Miller sponsorship. The spot aired in Texas. And, according to the company, Bob Uecker, Lite spokesman, has hosted radio PSAs for the firm.

Alcohol Information from Miller (AIM) is a two-phased program offered to the brewer's chain of wholesalers. Phase I provides an overview, in kit form, while Phase II suggests tools and resources for alcohol education efforts in communities. The Phase II kit contains sample new releases, PSAs, public presentations, print ads and brochures.

TIPS endorsed

Both Miller and A-B endorse and recommend implementation of TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures by Servers of Alcohol) at beverage retail outlets. TIPS, marketed by Health Communications Inc., is a six-hour training program designed and developed to train servers of alcohol in responsible alcohol service.

According to Health Communications, TIPS is designed to be flexibly implemented in different commercial establishments, such as restaurants, bars, hotels, casinos and concessions. The TIPS six-hour seminar trains retail staff and management on how to keep customers drinking safely and responsibly. Intervention techniques are also demonstrated.

Approximately 200,000 people have been trained and certified in TIPS, Adam Chafetz, director of training, Health Communications, stated. The program, introduced full-scale in 1983, has been used in all 50 states, as well as 10 foreign countries.

Following the seminar, sellers and servers are tested; a grade of 70 percent or better on the 40-question exam ensures passage. A server remains TIPS-certified for three years.

Aside from the obvious, one benefit to retailers who adopt TIPS is that several insurance companies reward establishments that have certified 75 percent of their staff by offering discounts of up to 25 percent on liquor liability insurance. Three states, Utah, Oregon and Maryland require mandatory server training, Chafetz said.

"Miller Brewing believes that by providing servers or sellers of alcohol with adequate training, we can significantly reduce the misuse of alcohol," the company has stated. So, with the help of its wholesalers, the brewer makes TIPS available to retailers and makes "a strong effort to implement" the program throughout the U.S.

Distributor involvement

Miller urges its distributors to train employees as certified TIPS instructors and to arrange for these employees to provide the basic training to retail employees. The training of retailers can be conducted at the wholesalership, Miller suggests, and a nominal fee charged for each attendee.

"TIPS is a win situation," John Shafer, manager of consumer affairs, Miller, stated. "Customer win, retailers win, the alcohol beverage industry wins and society wins. I doubt you can find someone with criticisms against TIPS. Who loses? Only the attorneys when we see a drop in drunk driving convictions," he answered.

According to Health Communications, the two-day instructor-training workshop incorporates role playing, skills training, video and instructional information. Following successful completion of the workshop, which costs $500 for each trainee, attendees become certified trainers which enable them to train servers and sellers.

Miller makes instructors available to train its distributors, the brewer reported, at central locations for area wholesalers. The brewer, which also recommends approval by local alcohol beverage administrators before wholesalers become involved in TIPS, distributes brochures on the program to both wholesalers and retailers.

Another server education program, TAM (Techniques of Alcohol Management), is sponsored by The Stroh Brewery Co. In cooperation with the National Licensed Beverage Association, the TAM program informs servers and sellers on the responsible service of beverage alcohol.

The TAM on-premise program consists of a 69-minute videotape, participant and instructor manuals, pre- and post-tests tailored to each state, and a "How To" manual to help maximize TAM's effectiveness. NLBA and Stroh have also worked with other national associations to produce off-premise TAM programs for the convenience, grocery, chain-drug and liquor-store industries, program organizers said.

TAM has six major components: introduction, the clinical effects of alcohol, the techniques of alcohol management, customer disturbance, false identification, and a panel discussion for state and local law-enforcement participation. The program, which was also established in 1983, is conducted in four-to-six-hour seminars by nationally-trained, qualified instructors, the NLBA said. Like TIPS, retailers with TAM-trained employees can benefit from a significant reduction in liquor-liability insurance rates.

According to Debra Leach, TAM national director, 26 on-premise programs have trained 100,000 participants across the country. The program, however, is only available on a state-to-state basis, usually involving state retail groups.

Beer-wholesaler involvement in TAM has generally been limited, Leach said, although some wholesalerships have provided training sites and TAM brochure distribution.

Other server training programs--while not directly employing the malt beverage industry--include KSM Interactive, Inc.'s PRIDE and the National Restaurant Association's Help Prevent Drunk Driving.

Videodisc training

PRIDE is described as the "first fully-interactive computer-based videodisc training and certification program designed to help the hospitality industry control its liquor-law-liability exposure." According to Steven Mazur, KSM president, PRIDE differs from other server training programs in that a complete record is kept of each trainee's responses. "This provides real assurance that the trainee has been actively involved in the lesson," he said.

As a result, PRIDE, which was introduced earlier this year at Sheraton hotels, does not require trainers. Rather, trainees sit before a screen and view situations relevant to serving alcohol. At frequent intervals they are required to make judgements about what they have just seen. This is done by touching a choice presented on the screen.

KSM provides training certification, Mazur explained, for $20 per trainee. The New York City firm also rents the equipment needed for the plan.

PRIDE is available in both English and Spanish. Generally, Mazur said, training averages one hour.

NRA's Help Prevent Drunk Driving, meanwhile, consists of "Train the Trainer"--a video distributed through state restaurant associations--and point-of-sale materials. Introduced in 1984, the program will soon be updated, NRA said.

Preventing Alcohol Abuse

Beer wholesalers have taken the cue from suppliers and also sponsor alcohol education and awareness programs. In 1983, the NBWA began its support of Preventing Alcohol Abuse, a three-level curriculum made available to school systems throughout the nation by local wholesalers. Prepared by professional educators and training specialists, the PAA program deals with the legal issues of drinking and driving, coping with peer pressure, and common misconceptions concerning alcohol, NBWA said.

While employed on a national level, the NBWA-sponsored PAA program is being phased out this year, Jennifer Christy, director of membership, central, NBWA, reported. According to the association spokeswoman, the NBWA board has determined that several components of the project, such as the films, were out of date and students had difficulty relating. Beer wholesaler enthusiasm for PAA also waned, Christy said.

The national wholesaler group, however, is now examining other alcohol-education efforts sponsored at the state-level, either by state wholesaling organizations or individual beer distributorships. According to Christy, guidelines on implementing similar programs will be provided to NBWA members in the near future.

One wholesaling group, the South Carolina Beer Association, has sponsored the "We Care" program since 1984. The project, which focuses on consumer education and information and promoting responsibility in the use of malt beverages, was actually begun by Budweiser of Columbia, Columbia, SC.

In addition to alcohol awareness, "We Care" is also designed to increase community involvement, educational research and resource recovery and recycling, SCBA stated.

Administered by Tootsie Kline, director of communications, "We Care" features presentations to student and civic groups, a certified TIPS instructor and classes, and various promotional support, including "We Care" bumper stickers on wholesalers' vehicles. "We Care" also assists SCBA members in local community efforts, Kline said, such as "Project Graduation," "Prom Night" and holiday cab rides.

Like all the other alcohol awareness programs, the "We Care" project's quantitative results have been excellent, Kline noted, adding, however, that qualitative measurement is difficult.

"How many attitudes and behaviors (have been) affected, how much social-consciousness awareness have we raised?" she asked. "The challenge is incredible," Kline continued, "but daily efforts must continue. Education remains the only viable answer."

PHOTO : Race car driver Scott Pruett is featured in a new A-B "Know When to Say When" commercial.

PHOTO : Stephan J. Burrows, Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
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Author:Finnegan, Terri
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Sep 11, 1989
Previous Article:Association set on securing industry's future.
Next Article:Server training involvement does beer wholesaler good.

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