San Antonio, TX — With the upcoming celebratory season of Spring Breaks, Proms and Graduations, Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine, North America and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a national not-for-profit organization funded by America's leading distillers and dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, are partnering with the Texas Package Stores Association (TPSA) and Glazer's Distributors to organize and launch a Texas statewide public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking and discourage attempts to purchase alcohol by minors. U.S. Representative Charles Gonzalez (D-20); Gene Richter, Divisional Vice President-Sales, Allied Domecq Spirits, North America's Southern Business Unit; Ted Thomas, Glazer's Distributors; Steve Saiz, Vice President-Operations, Gabriel's Wine and Spirits, and Member of TPSA; John Thomas, Founder Mission of Care (consortium of schools and parents dedicated to parent education); and Lieutenant Christina Guerra, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC); joined Shannon Adams of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, to continue the Texas Tour at Gabriel's Wine and Spirits on Walzem Road. "Key to addressing the problem of underage drinking is having a sense for where youth obtain the alcohol they drink. In a recent survey commissioned by The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, we asked teens, 'Where do you get the alcohol that you drink?' 65% of the youth surveyed said that they got the alcohol they drink from family and friends, meaning they got it from their parents, their friends' parents, older siblings or family members or older friends," said Adams. "The good news is that over the past 20 years, the number of underage drinkers has decreased. For example, underage drinking among high school seniors has declined 29% proportionally from 70% in 1982 to 50% in 2001, according to government surveys. Yet, more work needs to be done," said Congressman Gonzalez. "As students head into the spring season and the school year draws to a close, the entire community must join together to fight underage drinking." As one of the leaders in the beverage alcohol industry, Allied Domecq is committed to marketing our products responsibly and we are doing our best to lead the industry in setting high standards," said Richter. "We are very proud of our products. But we want our products to be enjoyed in moderation and responsibly by a legal, drinking age, adult consumer only. Our industry, federal, state and local governments, communities and parents need to work together to combat illegal, underage drinking. Today's launch is just one example of how we can work collectively to prevent underage alcohol consumption." John Thomas added, "I was startled to learn that so many teens get alcohol from friends and family." Survey after survey shows overwhelmingly that kids identified their parents as the leading influence in their decision not to drink at all or not to drink on occasion. Parents should be encouraged by this news. It means their kids are listening. Parents now need to be empowered by this information and continue to talk with their kids about the dangers of underage drinking." "As a Lieutenant with Texas ABC, I am on the front lines of the battle against underage drinking every day. While it is certainly important to discourage underage sales, kids get alcohol from many different sources, and can be very creative in how they obtain alcohol. Parents, retail establishments, community groups — we all have a role to play in the fight against underage drinking," said Lieutenant Guerra. "Glazer's considers it a privilege to do business in Texas and we take the responsibility that comes with working within the alcoholic beverage industry very seriously. Enabling minors to drink alcohol is not only illegal — it threatens the safety of children and other Texans. The stakes are simply too high to ignore," said Thomas. Based on the recent survey data stating that 65% of youth who drink obtain alcohol from their family and friends, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, working with the American Beverage Licensees (ABL), created a new campaign that highlights the point of access to alcohol by underage youth and encourages parents to play a more active role in keeping alcohol out of the hands of our nation's youth. The key component to the campaign is a 30 second Public Service Announcement, buttons and informational cards that provide tips for parents on how to talk with their kids about alcohol that will be distributed at the point of purchase. "Restaurants, wholesalers, retailers — all of us — need to play a role in the fight against underage drinking to lower, and hopefully eliminate, underage drinking in Texas. We hope parents in Texas will answer an overwhelming 'Yes!' when asked 'Are you doing your part?'" said Saiz. "I'm proud to have the Texas Package Stores Association and Gabriel's Wine and Spirits participate in today's event, and I plan to distribute the tip cards and proudly wear my 65% button to reinforce how seriously we are about preventing underage purchasing and underage drinking." "We appreciate the efforts of so many organizations in Texas to bring this important issue to the public's attention and we will continue to do our part to help combat underage drinking and ensure responsible and legal consumption of our products by adults," said Richter. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is distributing this public service announcement to television stations across Texas. Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine North America, Glazer's Distributors, TPSA, and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility will make the new materials available to all members of the Texas beverage alcohol retail community. TPSA members across the state will provide informational tip cards to parents on how to have an effective conversation about alcohol with their kids. Members of TPSA can request these materials for their retail outlets, bars and restaurants. Since The Foundation's inception in 1991, approximately 8 million pieces of point of sale items have been distributed free of charge to retailers and wholesalers nationwide. In fact, The Foundation's point of sale materials have been distributed in all 50 states. For more information about the program, log onto The Foundation's Web site at www.responsibility.org.
CONTACT: Leslie Kimball The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility 202-425-5423 via email