Beam Global Strengthens Voluntary Rules On Marketing Alcohol

Nina M. Lentini

Media Post

May 8, 2007

STATING THAT THERE IS "NO causal connection between alcohol advertising and underage drinking," Beam Global Spirits & Wine nevertheless announced yesterday that it is adopting stricter voluntary ad placement standards in the U.S.

The voluntary standards will restrict Beam Global's marketing to print, TV and radio outlets where the audience comprises at least 75% legal purchase age adults. This is higher than the current industry standard of 70%. Beam Global also commits that its advertising will--on an aggregate annual basis--reach a minimum average 85% legal purchase age audience.

In addition, Beam has established the following policies:

Not market or advertise at "Spring Break" events or utilize the term "Spring Break" in any marketing materials

Restrict brand images in video games

Not market or sell any products in the "flavored malt beverage" category

Not advertise on outdoor locations within 500 feet of playgrounds

Chris Swonger, SVP/corporate affairs, says the purpose of the initiative is to "further build on stronger enforcement measures.

"We believe in strong self-regulation," he says, adding that Beam focuses its advertising in the selection of brands. When we bring out ads to market, we want to make sure legal purchase age consumers see our advertising and purchase our products."

He called on greater prevention of youth access to alcohol, strengthening party laws, promoting enforcement of the legal drinking age and educating parents as efforts that could contribute to eliminating the problem.

Swonger says Beam is a proud member of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. DISCUS has an industry code to which compliance is voluntary. Frank Coleman vice president of DISCUS, described the code as strong and said its public reports of violations are transparent.

"Over the more than 70-year history of the code, companies have chosen to adopt additional internal standards," Coleman says. "We have set the floor."

Beam brands include Jim Beam Bourbon, Sauza Tequila, Canadian Club Whisky, Courvoisier Cognac, Maker's Mark Bourbon, Laphroaig Scotch Whisky, Larios Gin, Whisky DYC, Teacher's Whisky, DeKuyper Liqueurs, Knob Creek Bourbon, Starbucks Liqueurs and Clos du Bois Wines. Beam Global Spirits & Wine is part of Fortune Brands Inc., a leading consumer brands company with annual sales exceeding $8 billion.