Simon Spillane / Director Communications and Public Affairs.
18/09/2015 | Society
Global Beer Responsibility Day: Brewers united to combat alcohol-related harm
With Global Beer Responsibility Day on 18th September, there is no better time to reflect on the many positive initiatives which The Brewers of Europe, representing the interests of over 5000 brewers in 29 European countries, are carrying out to promote responsible drinking across the continent.
Evidence shows that brewers’ actions are contributing factors to decreasing trends in alcohol misuse. Find out more by watching our video which summarises some of the actions and progress made across Europe.
But first, a word about Global Beer Responsibility Day: this is an initiative enacted by brewers across the world to recognise responsibility programs and promote responsible beer consumption.
On this day, brewers, along with retailers, NGOs, enforcement officials, and other partners, will join together to bring the message of responsible drinking to communities in a variety of impactful ways.
Brewers’ partnerships include, but are not limited to, drink driving and underage consumption prevention initiatives, bartender and server trainings, and consumer education tools. Moreover, many of these are continuous activities, and we take the time to assess and amend them according to whether their objectives have been met. For a full list of the many thousands of initiatives from brewers around the world see the Worldwide Brewing Alliance’s website.
There is plenty of evidence that our actions are playing their part:
- In Italy, binge drinking decreased during the period 2010-2014 in all age groups up to the age of 30 years. Underage drinking has also decreased significantly - the percentage of 11-15 year olds drinking daily declined from 0.6% to 0.3% from 2011 to 2014, whilst the percentage of that age group who had consumed alcohol during the year went down from 11.9% to 9.1%
- In the UK, we are seeing a change in mindset among adolescents. In 2014, 38% of 11 to 15 year olds reported having had an alcoholic drink, compared to 59% in 2000. In addition, the rates of men and women binge drinking fell respectively by 25% and by 20% in the period 2005-2013,.
- Between 2011 and 2013 the Netherlands saw a 20% decrease in alcohol consumption in minors, whilst the number of drink drive offenders halved between 2002 and 2013.
- High-risk drinking in Denmark decreased in all age groups from 2010 to 2013. Notably, the number of young men aged 16-24 who drink at least 30 drinks per week decreased by 45%, whilst their female counterparts experienced a 20% reduction.
- Finally, since 2006, when the EU’s Alcohol Strategy to support EU Member States in reducing alcohol-related harm was adopted, there has been a 45% reduction in drink drive fatalities across the EU.
The importance of collaboration with our partners when it comes to tackling drink driving
Tackling drink driving effectively involves a multitude of stakeholders including law enforcement, educators, retailers, and vehicle manufacturers, amongst others, and the progress shown here is largely a result of successful collaboration across disciplines.
The downward trend on drink driving statistics is a fine example of how the brewing sector has for nearly a decade worked both internally and with our partners to bring about success. This is very much how we want to move ahead in the future and gives a clear roadmap for success in other areas such as underage drinking and tackling alcohol during pregnancy.
We see continuous engagement as a means to bring about continuous improvement.
Brewers are also active in supporting consumers to achieve balanced & healthy lifestyles, specifically through the provision of enhanced consumer information.
In March 2015 The Brewers of Europe committed to voluntarily go beyond current EU legislative requirements and progressively roll out ingredients’ listing and nutrition information for beers sold on the European beer market.
This is because we believe that consumers have the right to know the ingredients and nutrition information of the food and drinks products available to them on the European market.
The roll-out of this commitment builds on the experience of fifteen EU countries where brewers are already labelling ingredients, and three EU countries where brewers have already begun to provide nutrition information.
The commitment was welcomed by the European Commission, MEPs, the European consumers’ organisation (BEUC), the European beer consumers union (EBCU), and the European alcohol policy alliance (Eurocare).
Encouraging consumers to find out more about our product
The Brewers are also developing an online interactive “calorie counter”, which will enable consumers to compare different alcoholic beverages on a level playing field.
The Brewers of Europe are furthermore keen to support balanced information platforms such as www.beerandhealth.eu to tackle misconceptions around beer, and stress the importance of consuming beer responsibly, in moderation and as part of a balanced lifestyle.
Finally, brewers are leading voices in the EU Alcohol and Health Forum for which we are responsible for one third of the 325 commitments to action. We hope the Forum can reconvene at the earliest opportunity so that we, together with our partners, can continue to tackle the critical issue of alcohol misuse.
Brewers remain committed to the Forum and are rolling out, through our European Beer Pledge, actions which involve partnerships with government authorities and NGOs that concretely address alcohol-related harm at the local level. The Pledge was launched in the European Parliament in 2012 and focuses on consumer information, marketing self-regulation and campaigns against drink-driving, underage drinking, alcohol in pregnancy, and binge drinking.
All year round commitment
Global Beer Responsibility Day may only take place one day a year, but brewers are involved all year round in initiatives that are moving the needle when it comes to levels of alcohol-related harm across Europe.
There is much that remains to be done, but we are determined to continue our hard work into the future and look forward to working with EU decision-makers, stakeholders, and our partners.
Jan de Grave, Communications Director, The Brewers of Europe
+32 (0)2 551 1810; firstname.lastname@example.org
About The Brewers of Europe
Founded in 1958 and based in Brussels, The Brewers of Europe unites the national brewers’ associations from 29 European countries to promote the interests of over 5000 European breweries.
Follow us on Twitter: @brewersofeurope