Deerfield, Illinois, July 26 – As founding members of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, Beam Suntory today welcomed significant progress towards the Global Producers’ Commitments to reduce alcohol misuse by 10 percent by 2025. Earlier today, IARD released its third annual, independently audited report.
On a global basis, results showed 261 underage education initiatives implemented by alcohol producers in 2015, a 50% increase from the year before, with a 51% increase in the number of countries engaged, from 57 to 86 countries. These programs directly engaged nearly 30 million parents, teachers, and community leaders on the importance of respecting legal age limits on buying alcohol. All told, IARD member companies’ education programs reached more than 1 billion people about the importance of reducing underage drinking.
For Beam Suntory specifically, support for two individual programs was highlighted: its founding partnership with the National Center for DWI Courts, and its support for Building Resilience in Campus Communities (BRICC), a partnership with Brown-Forman that combats underage and binge drinking at the University of Louisville.
“As a world leader in premium spirits, Beam Suntory’s commitment to the responsible consumption of alcohol is fundamental to everything we do,” said Beam Suntory Chairman and CEO Matt Shattock. “We are proud of our global efforts to reduce harmful consumption of alcohol, including support of evidence-based programs, such as our support for the DWI Courts and BRICC Coalition, and aimed at tackling the biggest problems.”
Through IARD, leading beverage alcohol producers have made Global Producers’ Commitments to Reduce Harmful Drinking. Each Commitment has a five-year action plan and goals to: tackle underage drinking, responsible marketing, provide consumer information & responsible product innovation, reduce drinking & driving, and enlist retailer support to reduce harmful drinking.
As a founding partner of the National Center for DWI Courts, Beam Suntory provides ongoing support to raise awareness for its statistically-proven model to reduce recidivism among repeat offenders. These courts hear cases for repeat DWI offenders, who are statistically proven to be the most dangerous drivers in the U.S.
As many of these individuals suffer from substance use disorders, these courts provide individualized, evidence-based treatment and support, with an emphasis on accountability. Studies have shown that after one year, DWI program graduates are three times less likely to be repeat offenders than those who do not participate in the program. DWI Courts have also been proven to save taxpayer money that would have otherwise been needed for incarceration, court time, and community supervision.
In 2015, the National Center for DWI Courts, with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), trained 331 professionals in 13 states and the territory of Guam. These trainings provided criminal justice and treatment professionals with the tools to implement DWI Courts in their jurisdictions, or improve existing DWI Courts using the latest research and evidence based practices.
Building Resilience in Campus Communities
Beam Suntory and Brown-Forman’s initiative, the Voice of Reason (VOR), uses peer persuasion to shift behavior in social settings involving alcohol. Launched in 2015, this initiative partnered the University of Louisville’s BRICC Coalition, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), and fraternity and sorority students through the organization Greeks Advocating Mature Management of Alcohol (GAMMA). VOR will be piloted at the University of Kentucky later this year.
VOR educates campus influencers to help other students make safer decisions about alcohol. Of students surveyed after the five session program, more than half knew standard drink sizes and the symptoms of alcohol poisoning, and almost everyone knew how to care for someone intoxicated. The survey also showed statistically significant increases in alcohol knowledge, alcohol resistance skills, and conversations about alcohol with peers. Finally, GAMMA members showed a decrease in dangerous behaviors, including avoiding drinking games, and binge drinking.