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Responsible drinking

Ten Priorities. One Future.

Two men having a drink together

Helping to prevent irresponsible alcohol consumption.

Rapid intoxication or intoxication for an extended period of time carries the potential for considerable social, psychological and physical harm. We take steps to engage stakeholders to help prevent irresponsible consumption.

Global commitments

SABMiller along with 12 other beer, wine and spirit producers has signed a new set of commitments to contribute to the reduction in the harmful use of alcohol building on our existing efforts.

Alcohol Producer's Commitments PDF 0.12Mb

Africa adopts consistent alcohol labelling

An example of the new consistent product labelling

This year our African businesses agreed to standardise their approach to product labelling to ensure a consistent message across all products and countries with regard to responsible drinking.

With effect from April 2009, all new packaging includes one of two clear messages on the label:

• Not for sale to persons under the age of 18

• Alcohol abuse is dangerous to your health.

Each business has been given clear guidelines on how these messages should be used. For example, each must be rotated regularly across product ranges and the message size must be at least 8% of the area of the label.

Sponsoring a radio show in Malawi

We promote responsible alcohol consumption in Malawi by sponsoring a weekly radio show that discourages underage drinking, pregnant women from drinking alcohol and anti-social behaviour. We also include responsible messages on all of our advertising.

Providing information in Romania

As part of their ongoing alcohol responsibility programme Ursus Breweries has launched the "desprealcool" website. This Romanian version of '' provides consumers with accurate and balanced information about alcohol consumption.

At the same time the business launched 'Find your equilibrium', a long term campaign to present information on various aspects of alcohol consumption. The first stage of the programme launched in July 2010 was aimed at young people above the legal drinking age and provides information on alcohol consumption in social situations aiming to demonstrate that beer adds to the enjoyment of life for the overwhelming majority of people, when it is drunk responsibly. The campaign seeks to engage stakeholders groups in debates covering the implications of alcohol consumption, both physical and social.

Dreher Breweries Alcohol Responsibility Programme

Programme poster

The aim of Dreher Breweries’ Alcohol Responsibility Programme was to initiate a dialogue on responsible alcohol consumption among Hungarian adults, the government and NGOs using a dedicated website at

Visitors to the website can access relevant information including the expert opinion of scientists, government officials and others on responsible alcohol consumption.

In its first year the website attracted 131,910 visitors. In an independent survey, 89% of visitors found the website interesting, 79% found it credible and 64% thought it contained content that met their personal interests.

One feature of the programme was that it enables stakeholders to share information and openly state their positions on alcohol. In all, 504 comments on 31 different topics were posted on the website. 68% of visitors argued for moderate consumption, 70% emphasised the importance of personal responsibility, 52% wrote about their personal experience and 20% of visitors asked for help or advice.

Alcohol responsibility training

Alcohol Health Forum logo

In 2007 SABMiller Europe became a member of the European Commission’s EU Alcohol & Health Forum. As part of our membership we made a number of commitments to the Forum, one of which included the launch of a new alcohol responsibility training programme. This was developed to embed the new alcohol responsibility framework.

The training was developed in the form of three tailored modules, ranging from three to eight hours. These targeted different groups including marketing, legal, corporate affairs, sales and senior management. To date over 4,000 employees have been trained with over 600 of those receiving eight hours’ training.

All training will be finished by the end of May 2009 with a final report being submitted to the Forum at the end of June. Subsequent to this first stage of training an e-learning package will be rolled out and the training will become part of the induction process in other functions.

European Union Alcohol and Health Forum

We’re a charter member of the European Union Alcohol and Health Forum, which was set up in 2007 to protect European citizens from the harmful use of alcohol. Over 40 businesses and non-government organisations have joined the Forum.

Targeting students in Romania

Our ‘Measure your Lifestyle’ campaign in Romania encourages students to enjoy alcohol in moderation and so avoid personal, social and health costs to themselves, their families, and society as a whole.

The programme is supported by student unions and universities.

Identify Yourself with El Salvador

In September 2009, Industrias La Constancia in alliance with Glasswing International (a regional non-profit organization that specializes in public-private partnerships and corporate citizenship initiatives) launched the ‘Identify Yourself with Your Country’ program. This initiative seeks to prevent the sale of beer to minors in San Salvador, Santa Tecla and Soyapango by offering educational programs and social work aimed to schools, businesses and local government.

This cross-sector public health initiative brings together key stakeholders to heighten awareness and promote self-regulation and law enforcement around underage drinking and responsible consumption. With a total investment of under $50,000 for 1 year, 2,500 primary and middle school students are completing a one-day course on helping them to avoid underage drinking, ongoing community-based prevention campaigns are being implemented in 3 municipalities, and 1,000 representatives from over 50 points of sale are being trained on responsible practices.

The duration of the pilot program is one year. However, this project will continue over the long-term, always ensuring the different levels of work (at schools, communities and points of sale) are incorporated to achieve the greatest impact.

Reality Check in South Africa

A reality check from SAB advert

In 2009 SAB launched an innovative programme to tackle alcohol abuse in South Africa.

The new programme addresses drinking and driving, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and underage drinking – issues identified as needing targeted action beyond communication and education.

Read more about Reality Check in South Africa

Partnering to promote responsible consumption

Teacher and children in classroom

A number of studies have demonstrated that people who consume alcoholic beverages in early adolescence have a higher probability of developing alcohol dependence more rapidly and at an earlier age. Therefore, interventions aimed at preventing underage drinking not only mitigate its acute consequences, but also reduce the likelihood of alcohol dependence later in life.

To address these issues, Industrias La Constancia formed a partnership with GLASSWING International to develop a pilot responsible consumption programme in four cities in El Salvador: San Salvador, Soyapango, Santa Tecla and Antiguo Cuscatlán. This initiative has brought together a number of key stakeholders to raise awareness and promote self-regulation and law enforcement around underage drinking and responsible consumption.

The programme aims to raise awareness of responsible consumption to both students and retailers. To date, approximately 3,000 primary and middle school students have completed a course on prevention strategies to avoid underage drinking. In addition, 575 community members participated in workshops about responsible consumption and 750 bartenders, waiters, and managers from over 50 restaurants, nightclubs, and bars were trained on responsible sale, service and consumption of alcoholic beverages. In 2011, Industrias La Constancia aim to expand the programme to continue raising awareness of responsible consumption across the country.

This programme has also been replicated in Honduras where Cervecería Hondureña has also partnered with GLASSWING to train retailers and raise awareness on the risk of underage drinking as well as responsible consumption by adults.

Tackling 'non-commercial' alcohol

Man holding a bottle of beer

In some parts of the world, particularly in developing and emerging markets, we are concerned about the consumption of ‘non-commercial’ alcohol. In Africa, where many of our consumers live on less than a dollar a day, the World Health Organisation has previously estimated that about 50% of the alcohol consumed is ‘unrecorded’ and has noted that ‘traditional forms of alcohol are usually poorly monitored for quality and strength and in most countries it is possible to find examples of health consequences related to harmful impurities and adulterants’.

Read more about Tackling 'non-commercial' alcohol

Digitally promoting alcohol responsibility

Alcohol Responsibility poster

Dreher Breweries has a well-established Alcohol Responsibility Programme which aims to initiate dialogue on responsible alcohol consumption among Hungarian adults, the government and NGOs.

As part of the campaign over the last year, Dreher developed two tools to promote responsible consumption. The first was an online Alcohol Knowledge quiz. Promoted on and Facebook, this quiz provides an interactive way for consumers to test and improve their knowledge of alcohol. Over the last year, the quiz received over 14,000 hits on the website and 4,928 users tested themselves on Facebook.

Read more about Digitally promoting alcohol responsibility

Raising awareness of responsible consumption

'Thozha Vizhithukol' poster

To promote responsible consumption, SABMiller India has initiated a number of awareness programmes and partnerships with community stakeholders across the country.

Last year, SABMiller India initiated a partnership with the Social Organisation for Network Information and Communication (SONIC) and launched the ‘Thozha Vizhithukol’ campaign to create awareness among the people of Pondicherry and provide them with important information about responsible drinking.

The campaign aims to reach 200,000 people in four districts of Pondicherry, Olgarate, Villianur and Ariyankuppam over a period of five months. Activities across the four districts during the campaign have included street plays, exhibitions, a bar intervention programme, referral services, digital displays and wall painting.

Sport, students and promoting responsible drinking

Man showing ID card

At MillerCoors, we have launched our Great Plays programme in partnership with the ABMRF/The Foundation for Alcohol Research. The programme provides funding for universities to address the drinking behaviours and the harmful consequences of alcohol among their students.

We chose the theme Great Plays because college students have the ability and opportunity each day to make decisions that result in positive outcomes or ‘great plays’ that result in positive outcomes and help them thrive and be successful in life. Choosing not to abuse alcohol is one of the greatest plays a student can make.

Read more about Sport, students and promoting responsible drinking

Addressing alcohol-related harm in South Africa

Traders in a Responsible Trader Programme

At SAB we're always looking for new ways to tackle the alcohol-related issues that most affect society - underage drinking being one example.

This year we piloted two new programmes designed to reach deeper into our communities. Through our Responsible Trader Programme, we've trained 17,000 traders in alcohol abuse and the harm it can cause in their communities. Through the programme we aim to help liquor traders to see themselves as champions in the fight against alcohol abuse.  Assessments of more than 7,000 traders after they'd attended training sessions found 81% scoring more than 80%. 

Read more about Addressing alcohol-related harm in South Africa

Combating illicit alcohol

A man looking into a barrel

We seek to understand local market issues in order to contribute in a meaningful way to the wider debate on alcohol abuse. In Peru, Backus has been working with the government and other stakeholders to tackle the issue of illicit alcohol which represents up to 30% of the market, posing significant health risks to consumers and reducing government revenue.

Backus commissioned research into the causes of alcohol abuse and found it was part of a broad picture of social deprivation. The study also showed how producing branded products for low-income consumers can present a positive alternative to drinking unsafe, illicit alcohol.  In response, Backus worked with medical professionals and policy-makers to run a communications campaign and make recommendations about regulating the trade more effectively.  This led to changes in the law making it illegal to produce or sell unlicensed alcohol.

Partnering to promote responsible consumption

Promile INFO service poster

Since 2007, Plzensky Prazdroj has partnered with local NGO SANANIM, to provide the Promile INFO service, which allows responsible consumers to check the approximate level of alcohol in their blood by text message or the internet.

In 2010, the text service was used more than 50,000 times. However in recent years as the use of text messages declined, as did the number of Promile INFO users. In response, over the last year Plzensky Prazdroj coordinated a partnership between SANANIM (a local NGO) and Vodafone to improve its Promile INFO service, which allows consumers to check the approximate level of alcohol in their blood by developing a free smart phone application.

Read more about Partnering to promote responsible consumption

You Decide: addressing underage drinking in South Africa

You Decide poster

Last year in South Africa, SAB (Pty) Ltd launched its You Decide programme to tackle one of the alcohol-related issues that most affects South African society – underage drinking.

Run in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry and the National Youth Development Agency, the programme works with parents and teachers to teach teenagers about the impact their choices can have on their future.

Read more about You Decide: addressing underage drinking in South Africa

The responsible choice – non-alcoholic beer

Birell non-alcoholic beer

SABMiller produces a number of non-alcoholic beer brands around the world. In the Czech Republic, non-alcoholic beer accounts for approximately 3% of the beer market. Plzeňský Prazdroj's Birell was established 20 years ago and in November 2012, was voted the non-alcoholic beer of the year by the Association of the Friends of Beer.

As well as the original Birell, Plzeňský Prazdroj produces a range of variants which include Birell Light, Birell Semi-Dark with hints of caramel, Birell Lime & Raspberry and Birell Lemon & Pomegranate. With these, the Company is able to satisfy the increasing demand from adult consumers who prefer a non-alcoholic beer and to provide an alternative for occasions when alcohol cannot be consumed.

Respect the road

Respect the road campaign

SABMiller India has linked up with the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) and law enforcement agencies in Delhi and Karnataka in a project to address drinking and driving.

The campaign promotes responsible drinking and encourages alternatives to drinking and driving such as hiring a driver, renting a cab or nominated a designated driver.

The programme communicates its messages through campaign hoardings, local radio stations and contacts at police check posts, petrol pumps, metro stations and elsewhere. Messages highlighting responsible drinking and alternatives to drinking and driving are also on display in popular bars and pubs. The success of the programme will be evaluated in co-operation with the traffic police.

Safe rides home

Our US joint venture, MillerCoors is committed to encouraging at least one million consumers a year to be designated drivers or to choose alternative transport and avoid drink-driving. Consumers can be a part of the campaign by pledging to be a designated driver, utilizing 1800TAXICAB services or participating in Miller Lite and Coors Light Free Rides™ programmes. Over the last three years, MillerCoors has engaged 8.7 million people in these ways. Its success so far has led it to set a new target of engaging 10 million people by 2015.

Since 1987, the Miller Lite Free Rides™ programme in Milwaukee has provided safe transport home for over three million people after public celebrations. In 2012, MillerCoors became the first corporate sponsor of Chicago's New Year's Eve Penny Rides programme, taking 130,000 revellers safely home.

Encouraging responsible consumption across the value chain

Public speaker encouraging responsible consumption

Alcohol abuse – particularly the consumption of illicit alcohol – is a problem among some rural farmers in Uganda. In response, Nile Breweries has developed an innovative programme to communicate alcohol responsibility messages to a largely illiterate group of farmers in an easy-to-understand and engaging way.

Designed to provide information on responsible consumption, the programme was developed in partnership with Health Initiatives in the Private Sector (HIPS) and a USAID-funded NGO. In its first year it reached 1,300 farmers.

Nile Breweries also has a partnership with the Uganda Police to provide training for retail outlets. The aim is to promote responsible alcohol consumption, avoid the selling of alcohol to underage or already intoxicated consumers and discourage driving after drinking. Last year 700 retailers took part in the programme.

Responsible retailing programme

A Millers High Life bar tap

In partnership with the Responsible Retailing Forum and Brandeis University, MillerCoors in the USA has developed the Respect 21 Responsible Retailing Programme to help retailers avoid selling alcohol to underage individuals. During the 12-month programme, each retailer receives branded underage-prevention point-of-sale items, a help guide based on a government-recognised document and quarterly newsletters and management tools. To monitor progress, retailers receive quarterly, confidential, legal-age, mystery shopper inspections.

This academically researched programme has helped to change the behaviour of over 1,000 retailers in more than 20 communities since its launch in 2005. Every city in which the programme has been implemented has seen improvements. In Miami there was a 100% increase in the number of times retailers requested proof of age. In New York, pass rates increased from 67% in the first quarter of the programme to 89% by the end.