Attorneys General Praise Beam Global for Adopting Stronger Voluntary Advertising Standard to Reduce Youth Exposure to Alcohol Ads

May 7, 2007

Alcohol Industry Urged to Follow Beam’s Lead

Attorney General Steve Rowe praised Beam Global today for adopting a comprehensive set of new policies designed to reduce exposure of its advertising to underage persons. Beam Global is the largest distilled spirits company based in the U.S. Beam Global adopted these measures following talks with state Attorneys General from around the country. Attorney General Rowe joined 36 other Attorneys General in calling on members of the alcohol beverage industry to follow Beam’s lead.

Recent studies confirm the correlation between alcohol advertising and underage drinking. While advertising is only one of the factors that contribute to underage drinking, the importance of reducing youth exposure to alcohol advertising is magnified given that youth who begin drinking before age 15 are four times as likely to develop alcohol dependence after age 21. Reducing alcohol advertising helps to reduce the cultural forces that encourage and support underage drinking.

“Beam Global’s new standards represent a significant and encouraging step to reduce youth exposure to alcohol advertising,” Rowe said. “I join Attorneys General from around the country in calling on other alcohol industry members to follow Beam Global’s lead and join in the effort to reduce underage drinking by reducing youth exposure to alcohol advertising.”

For more than two years, Attorneys General have been calling on Beam Global and other alcohol manufacturers to implement improved voluntary standards that reduce youth exposure to alcohol advertising. As co-chair of the National Association of Attorneys General Youth Access to Alcohol Committee, Attorney General Rowe has been leading this effort. Beam Global took this call to heart and modified its marketing practices by adopting the following policies:

  • Beam Global will make sure that no more than 25% of the audience for any of its TV, radio or print advertisements is under 21.
  • In addition, Beam Global will insure that no more than 15% of the annual average audience for its TV, radio, and print advertising is underage.
  • Beam Global will not introduce or market any “flavored malt beverages” – sweetened, flavored alcoholic drinks (also known as alcopops) that the AMA and others have found to be particularly popular with teenage girls.
  • Beam Global will not advertise within 500 feet of schools, playgrounds, or places of worship.
  • Beam Global products will not be marketed on college campuses or in connection with Spring Break events.
  • Beam Global will adopt enhanced standards for restrictions on brand name merchandise.

The current alcohol industry standard provides that advertisements may be placed in any media where less than 30% of the audience is under age 21. However, youths ages 12-20 make up only about 15% of the population age 12 and older. The landmark report issued in 2003 by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility, proposed voluntary ad placement limits by the alcohol industry as the most important strategy to address youth overexposure to alcohol advertising. The report concluded that the industry standard allows for too much exposure and should be reduced to 25% to signify meaningful self-restraint.

In March of this year, Acting Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu issued A Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking. In it, he calls on the alcohol industry to place alcohol advertising in ways that do not disproportionately expose youth to messages about alcohol. Under Beam Global’s new advertising standard, alcohol ads will not appear in magazines or during television shows particularly popular with adolescents.

Attorney General Rowe and 36 other Attorneys General have written to Beam Global welcoming this action and commending Beam Global for its leadership in stepping forward to address this important issue.

Note: You can read the Surgeon General’s Call to Action at

********** Contact: Jessica Maurer, Special Assistant Attorney General, 207-626-8515 or