Awareness and education vs regulation and legislation.
In the USA, as in many other countries, the brewing industry is heavily involved in campaigns to reduce the incidence of alcohol abuse, particularly in its most dangerous manifestations such as drunk driving, by promoting more moderate and sensible drinking habits together with related precautions such as practices by which drinkers can avoid driving. The success of these campaigns has contributed to a significant fall in alcohol induced harm to the community (for instance, the death rate from accidents involving drunk drivers in the USA fell by 15% between 1982 and 1988). However, vigorous campaigns, ostensibly against alcohol abuse but widely perceived to be actually against alcoholic beverages as such, have greatly increased in intensity over the same period, and have led to severe advertising restrictions, drastic tax increases, and other legislation of a similar character being proposed and in some cases enacted. The history of previous anti alcohol movements in the USA, especially that which brought about Prohibition, is reviewed and compared with the current situation, with particular reference to the opinions expressed and campaigning methods used by leading members of the present anti alcohol movement, of which the author makes some severe criticisms.
Keywords : brewing industry drinking habits education health history legislation safety