The Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America gathered in Laguna Niguel last week to review a year in which consumption of alcoholic beverages not only declined for the first time but saw vintners and spirits manufacturers, led by Seagram, sniping away at each other over what "moderation in drinking" means and whose products best suit the concept.
Even worse for the distillers is the prospect that, on Oct. 1, the federal excise tax on their products will increase, adding about 50 cents to the price of a typical bottle of booze. This is triggering a rash of pretax-increase sales offering a "stock up now and beat the tax" theme.
But the wholesalers agreed to move ahead with promotion of a campaign stressing responsibility in drinking--a campaign built around a booklet titled "Let's Talk About Drinking, a Guide for Families." As a result, Southlanders can expect to begin hearing and seeing public-service announcements on radio and television featuring California Sens. Alan Cranston and Pete Wilson and area congressmen urging them to read the pamphlet.
A typical television ad shows several campus shots with kids entering junior and senior high schools, the school bell triggering this message: "We spend billions of dollars educating our children, yet we often neglect their education about the legal and responsible use of alcohol. Spend five minutes with your children. It's never been more important." The image then shifts to the local lawmaker, who says, "This booklet can answer family questions about the use and non-use of alcohol. I urge you to read it and discuss it."
Free copies of "Let's Talk About Drinking" are available from the lawmakers or by writing FAMILIES, P.O. Box 57008, Washington, D.C. 20037.