Take Action: Tell CA Governor Brown to Veto SB 778


In stunning denial of the public health and safety threats of encouraging more alcohol consumption, the California State Legislature has passed SB 778 - a bill to allow sweepstakes and contests promoting alcohol sales in the state. ”We are deeply disturbed by this election year gift to Big Alcohol,” stated Alcohol Justice Public Affairs Director Michael Scippa. “We are calling upon Governor Brown to veto this irresponsible measure because overturning the state’s existing ban on alcohol-related contests will lead to increased over-consumption and increased public health and safety costs.” Click here totake action now: Tell Governor Brown to veto SB 778! 



Wine Institute Gets $60 Million in Federal Subsidies for Marketing, Travel

A new government oversight report recently released by U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) opened the lid on the federally-funded Market Access Program, revealing ways that more than $2 billion in taxpayer dollars are used each year to subsidize advertising & promotion costs of some of the most profitable American corporations & trade groups doing business overseas.
One of the largest single recipients of these federal dollars is the Wine Institute - a major trade association for the California wine industry, which already soaks in $17.9 billion in annual sales. 
The Wine Institute received nearly $7 million in taxpayer dollars from the Market Access Program in 2012, and raked in more than $60 million over the past decade.
Just what have American tax dollars funded for the Wine Institute? A myriad of travel expenses for wine industry representatives including wine festivals and tastings in London, Denmark, and Dublin, and “educational" wine tastings in Mexico. The report calls for an end to "bounty of waste, loot, and spoils plundered from taxpayers."

Click here to read the full Treasure MAP report.

L.A. Public Safety Committee Asks for Input on Alcohol Ad Ban

The L.A. Public Safety Committee recently requested input regarding the effectiveness of banning alcohol ads on public property, and how such restrictions could be put into place in the city. Such a ban would benefit the youth of L.A. and reduce alcohol-related public safety costs by reducing the amount of alcohol ads kids see, which would impact how much they drink and how early they start.  By continuing to allow alcohol producers to place ads on public property, the city contributes to underage drinking and related harm. It's time to tell the L.A. City Council Public Safety Committee that restricting alcohol ads on public property makes a difference. Click here to take action. 

University of Iowa Renews A-B InBev Sponsorship Deal

budweiser-university-of-iowa-neon-sign giant-e1340067130506When the University of Iowa (UI) issued its 2010 Alcohol Harm Reduction Plan to lower drinking rates and attract more alcohol abstainers and low-risk drinkers to the University, it should have been a sign of good intentions from the administration. Yet no plan to increase public health can succeed when one of the most powerful players in the institution is working against it. Enter UI Athletics and its three-year sponsorship agreement with Anheuser-Busch InBev, a deal that plasters beer advertising and logos in conjunction with UI logos throughout the UI campus and community. With the deal set to expire this year, given the scope and importance of the University’s high-profile efforts to reduce alcohol-related harm in the student population, it would have been a good time for the University to end the alcohol sponsorship. 
After all, aren't UI administrators eager to reduce the school's party image and create a safer, healthier campus? Evidently not. As it turns out, the UI athletic department recently signed a new agreement with A-B InBev, which gives the alcohol producer the right to place the UI Hawkeye logo on retail displays promoting Budweiser, such as posters and flags; promotional giveaways like cups, caps, and T-shirts; and radio advertisements and guest entertainment at home games for football, basketball, wrestling and at the UI Finkbine golf course.
The University of Iowa (UI) has a problem with alcohol consumption and related harm, and policymakers are not unaware of the alcohol-related problems its students face. The school noted in its 2010 plan that “there is substantive evidence that student at The University of Iowa drink more heavily leading to more negative consequences than other college students nationally.” In one study, 70% of students reported engaging in high-risk drinking in the past two weeks – compared with 33% of college students nationally. UI students are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to experience negative consequences from drinking, such as blackouts or arrests, than college students do nationally.
Clearly, UI is willing to undermine its stated intention of reducing alcohol consumption and related harm for its students for the sake of promoting Anheuser-Busch InBev products. Prioritizing sponsorship dollars over student health and safety sends a dismal message to other schools struggling with the same problems. It also sends a strong message to the alcohol industry: Come target UI students and local youth with beer promotions--we'll even help you do it.

For more information on the dangers of alcohol marketing and sponsorship, please see AJ's fact sheet on refusing industry funding and on alcohol marketing and youth