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Issue 117 - Remember the Code

Whisky Magazine Issue 117
February 2014


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Remember the Code

As responsible whisky drinkers, we tend to assume the anti-alcohol mindset is extinct in today's culture. But that notion could not be further from the truth. In the United States, there are hundreds of dry counties and townships that fight to prevent their areas from becoming wet. In South Africa, the country is divided over ‘The Control of Marketing Alcoholic Beverages Bill' that would impose an advertising ban on alcohol products. Similar bans already exist in Canada, and the United States faced nearly a dozen attempts to ban alcohol advertising in the 1940s and 1950s.

In addition to governmental control, the alcohol industry faces powerful organisations eager to stop alcohol marketing. In a recent study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, researchers said younger adolescents are susceptible to the persuasive messages in alcohol TV commercials. While the responsibility should belong to the parents in addressing alcohol, there's no shortage of people eager to lay the blame elsewhere. Studies like the Pediatrics' make the alcohol industry an easy target.

But the spirits industry has an air-tight alibi: They don't target kids and police themselves through industry measures, such as the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States' ‘Code of Responsible Practices.' The industry edicts dictate that advertising materials should be placed only where 70 per cent of the audience is 21 years of age or older reasonably expecte...

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