Promoting Responsible Drinking at Retail
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Alcohol sales are a big business for many supermarket chains but the dangers involved with abuse of alcohol consumption are widespread. Drunk driving, underage access and over consumption are issues that affect all communities. For this reason, many companies are partnering with local organizations and vendors to implement an alcohol responsibility strategy. Such a strategy is important for obvious reasons, but it’s also a good business decision. According to a survey conducted by the Foundation Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, 88% of consumers are more willing to shop at a retail establishment that promotes responsible consumption and hosting. Taylor Amerman, Corporate Responsibility Manager for Brown-Forman, one of the largest American-owned spirits and wine companies, provides examples of how retailers can get involved with promoting moderate alcohol use:
- Provide shopper resources in your alcohol beverage aisles or on your website. Visit responsibility.org for tools from the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.
- If your stores are located in college towns, consider partnering with the student health or prevention office at the university to address underage and moderate consumption.
- Include moderate alcohol consumption guidelines when talking about total diet such as the Mediterranean diet plan.
- Promote safe driving especially during the holiday season. Provide Uber or Lyft gift card sales in the alcoholic beverage aisles or partner with Dryver to link customers to this unique designated driver program. They currently serve 76 cities in 31 states and offer personal drivers, pick-up service or drivers for events. Visit www.Dryver.com
- Partner with one of your beverage vendors to offer paid or discounted gift card promotions for driving services during the holiday season.
- Offer hosting tips for shoppers during the holidays or tailgating season. Provide seasonal party recipes and snack ideas and promote serving non-alcoholic options such as sparkling waters. Use social media and your instore intercom to help deliver messages.
- Provide tips for dealing with potential alcohol abuse issues through your pharmacy or store clinic with local resources. It’s also a great place to provide tools for talking to children about drinking.
- Work with Human Resource managers to identify signs of problem drinking with employees along with resources for assistance.
- Respect the non-drinkers. Thirty percent of the US adult population does not drink alcohol so offer recipes for mocktails during seasonal celebration times. Make non-alcoholic offering just as appealing with options and displays that include ingredients and nice glassware.
- Partner with the Responsible Retailing Forum who provides secret shopper type services to ensure your store and team members are complying with selling alcohol. No penalties are involved, but the program can help stores identify where more training is needed. Visit rrforum.org for more information.