Not Until You’re 21

“No Sale, No How, No Way.” It’s what teens who may attempt to buy alcohol during prom and graduation season will hear from retailers who are on alert and committed to helping prevent underage drinking. That’s according to a new poll that shows preventing minors from obtaining alcohol is a priority for those who sell or serve it. According to the Retailer Exchange survey, the vast majority of America’s retailers are doing their part to help prevent underage drinking. In fact, 93 percent report using ID-checking materials and consider them effective in preventing alcohol sales to individuals under 21 years of age.

“Retailers are on the front lines of fighting underage drinking,” says Carol Clark, vice president of corporate social responsibility for Anheuser-Busch Inc., the nation’s largest brewer based in St. Louis. “It’s impressive to think of the army of retailers out there checking IDs. We commend these men and women who recognize the important role they play in fighting underage drinking, and we’re happy to provide them with tools they can use to help prevent youth access to alcohol.”

While many retailers report that simply remaining observant is a good deterrent to underage drinking and sales to minors, most retailers (83%) feel it is “very important” to invest in programs that discourage underage drinking.

Anheuser-Busch and its nationwide network of more than 600 distributors help retailers by providing a variety of education and point-of-sale materials. This includes We I.D. materials that remind customers they will be asked to present a valid ID when purchasing alcohol and driver’s license booklets that contain color images of valid licenses from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the Canadian provinces to help employees learn how to spot fake identification. More than 1.2 million We I.D. cards and 1.6 driver’s license books have been distributed since 1990.

The company and its distributors also host training sessions for servers and sellers of alcohol on responsible and proper serving techniques. Of all the retailers who offer employee training programs, 100 percent say they are effective in helping prevent sales to minors, and virtually all (97%) say training is meeting their needs. Nearly 400,000 servers have been trained by Anheuser-Busch wholesalers since 1989.

Programs like these may be one reason retailers consider Anheuser-Busch to be socially responsible in discouraging underage drinking. The company received an average rating of 7.3 on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being excellent, on being socially responsible by investing in advertising and retailer programs to discourage underage drinking and/or drunk driving.

The Retailer Exchange is a panel of retailers who have agreed to be contacted several times a year to share with Anheuser-Busch their opinions on a number of issues. Between Nov. 30, 2007 and Dec. 17, 2007, the telephone poll was conducted by Retailer Channel Research Group and the findings were based on a sample of 300 retailers. To view the full survey results, visit www.alcoholstats.com.

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