In April 2007, the National Alcohol Strategy Working Group, consisting of representatives from the federal and provincial/territorial governments, addictions’ agencies, academia, non-government organizations, liquor boards and the beverage alcohol industry, released the National Alcohol Strategy, “Reducing Alcohol Related Harm in Canada: Toward a Culture of Moderation, Recommendations for a National Alcohol Strategy”.
The NAS is a landmark initiative with the specific goal of achieving and maintaining a culture of moderation in Canada. Crucial to this culture of moderation is the recognition of the value of sensible and healthy drinking while seeking to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.
Beer Canada supports and endorses Canada’s first-ever national Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines, recommendation #1 of the National Alcohol Strategy. The Guidelines provide Canadians with constructive and useful advice on what constitutes healthy and safe drinking, while warning about the risks of exceeding safe drinking limits. In this respect the Guidelines can reinforce positive and healthy drinking behaviour.
Many other factors apart from advertising and marketing influences attitudes and drinking behaviours, and it is well known that principal influences on youth drinking are parents and peers. The balance of evidence does not support a direct causal relationship between overall drinking levels or harmful drinking patterns and advertising or marketing. Advertising moves consumption between brands, but does not increase overall consumption levels.
Beer Canada members do not sell or advertise their products to minors, and comply with federal and provincial/territorial rules and regulations which have provisions to protect minors. Broadcast advertising for beverage alcohol must adhere to a code put in place by the CRTC. Research shows that increased restrictions on alcohol advertising, as well as outright bans are ineffective.
The brewing industry supports the federal government decision to end preclearance of beverage alcohol broadcast advertising by a government agency and the subsequent decision to set up a review system through Advertising Standards Canada. Brewers favour moving provincial approvals for advertising to the ASC, thus ending the current requirement for approvals by two levels of government.
The brewing industry abides by federal and provincial advertising regulations on the use of motor vehicles in brand advertising. With respect to motorsports, the industry believes there is no connection between drinking at harmful levels and motorsports.
Lifestyle advertising is used in the marketing of industry products. Such advertising is used to promote most products and, in the case of brewers, is directed at an audience above the legal drinking age. There is no link between the use of such advertising and misuse of alcohol.
The problems of alcohol misuse are best dealt with through a broad-based approach that includes targeted initiatives, such as partnerships with other professional groups, in addition to media messaging. A single regulatory solution that consolidates all efforts into an advertising program of educational messages, as is suggested from time to time, is not as effective.
We are building an engaged beer community that believes our nation deserves the bestoperating environment for brewing in the world. We actively build awareness that Canadian brewers and consumers can influence policies, taxes, and government decisions to support sustainable growth in the beer industry.
Beer Canada promotes responsible production, distribution, sale and consumption by informing Canadians about policies and regulations that impact beer prices, access and choice. We also promote the importance of safeguarding our brewing heritage and educating consumers as voters and influencers.