Knowledge is power

So Alcohol Awareness Week here in the UK turned up some tv programming and journalistic gems.  I particularly liked this part of a piece in The Telegraph:

‘Alcohol, as I know to my cost, is both physically and psychologically addictive. A recent Netmums survey found that 81 per cent of those who drank alcohol drank more than the safe drinking guidelines, saying they did so to ”wind down from a stressful day’’. And 86 per cent thought they should drink less. Alcohol as a way to wind down makes a certain sense, but if it’s the only way you know, and you are doing it every day, at some point it becomes an addiction.

The stats paint a grim picture, one that is wholly at odds with the way the alcohol industry would like us to view its products. Alcohol is glamorised in our society, and it’s everywhere. In the late Sixties, when the tobacco giant Philip Morris bought the Miller Brewing Company, it brought the same marketing techniques to alcohol as it used for cigarettes. It turned it into a lifestyle choice, by sponsoring sports teams and associating itself with an outdoorsy type of health. It learnt how to segment the market, and the wine and spirits industries quickly followed suit.

Spirits, for instance, were always seen as the preserve of the “older” drinker. How could they catch the youngsters? Thus was born the alcopop, known in the industry by the pessimistic title of “starter drinks”: they’re sweet, brightly coloured rum and vodka concoctions in ready-to-drink formats. I have always thought that the alcopop, more than anything, illustrates the cynical and profit-obsessed motives of the drinks industry. They are private companies with only one aim in sight, to make more money by getting us all to drink more, so in the advertisements people are smiling, always happy, always up.’

Day 68 🙂


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