Craft brewing is a booming industry that’s filled with plenty of personality. It can be a fun industry for brewers and craft beer drinkers alike, but at the end of the day, craft beer is still alcohol and it needs to be enjoyed responsibly. Throughout the month of April, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) will be recognizing Alcohol Awareness Month, as designated by the U.S. Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to raise awareness about alcohol abuse.
“Alcohol is a unique product that is not for everyone,” said NBWA President Craig Purser. “National Alcohol Awareness Month is an appropriate time to recognize that alcoholic beverages need to be effectively regulated to help combat abuse and to ensure they do not end up in the hands of those under the legal drinking age. Responsibility begins with effective regulation, and the United States has had a time-tested system of alcohol regulation in place for eight decades — a system that allows the states to decide how best to regulate and track alcohol.”
NBWA and America’s beer distributors are advocating for Congress to pass H.R. 498, the Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Reauthorization Act. The STOP Act, which became law in 2006 with NBWA’s support, highlighted health and safety concerns related to underage drinking and provided funding for state initiatives to address such problems. It also authorized a national media campaign, new grant programs and research to combat underage drinking. Additionally, it formally established and funded the federal Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking (ICCPUD), chaired by SAMHSA, to help coordinate the various federal agencies involved in alcohol issues. The STOP Act is a proven piece of legislation that combats the consequences of underage drinking while affirming the regulatory value of today’s state-based system of alcohol regulation. This landmark legislation recognizes that alcohol is different than other consumer products and is best regulated by the states, consistent with the 21st Amendment.
The 130,000 men and women of the American beer distribution industry play a critical role in the effort to encourage responsible consumption and eliminate alcohol abuse of all types, including drunk driving and the underage purchase and consumption of alcohol.
NBWA also encourages parents, educators and community leaders to utilize SAMHSA resources that can help educate young people about the dangers of underage drinking and the importance of making smart decisions. More information about these resources can be found at www.stopalcoholabuse.gov.