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 e - NEWS

April 9, 2004


1. Study Details Midwest Binge Drinking (Iowa)

2. Alcohol Awareness Month Starts Tomorrow

3. UB in High Spirits

4. Press Release

5. Most Light Beer Is 'Low Carb,' U.S. Decides

6. Diageo Introduces New Line of Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Flavored Rums

7. Mexico Relents on Tequila Crackdown (Mexico)


8. US: Winemakers to Roll Out Yellow Tail Competitors



1. Study Details Midwest Binge Drinking (Iowa)

By: The Associated Press

April 4, 2004


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) -- Despite the publicity, a new study shows Iowa's binge drinking problem isn't entirely in Iowa City.


The Quad Cities is listed as No. 6 and Cedar Rapids is listed as No. 7 in binge drinking ratings out of 120 largest U.S. metropolitan areas surveyed in the study released in this month's American Journal of Public Health.


``I'm very concerned and surprised,'' said Melissa Walker, coordinator of the Underage Drinking Task Force of Linn County. ``Unfortunately, there's a lot of work that needs to be done.''


Binge drinking is defined as imbibing five or more alcoholic drinks over a few hours.


Of those surveyed in the Cedar Rapids area, 20.6 percent said they had engaged in binge drinking recently. Of those between 18 and 34, 36.2 percent were recent binge drinkers. The study said the number was 13.8 percent for respondents 35 and older.


The Quad Cities reported 21.1 percent overall and No. 18 Des Moines reported 18.2 percent. The study did not look at Iowa City, which has been identified as having a binge drinking problem in similar studies.


Nationally, the overall rate is 14.5 percent, the study said.


More emphasis should be placed on telling the public about the dangers of excessive alcohol use, said Barb Gay, director of prevention services for the Area Substance Abuse Council.


``Kids who drink early and drink quite a bit do (often) go on to have substance abuse problems later in life,'' she said.


The survey, which relied on data provided by states to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and focused on those 18 and older, had bad news for the Midwest as a whole. Six of the top 10 metropolitan areas are in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.


The study, which used 1997 and 1999 data, did not address the reasons for heaving drinking in particular geographic areas. Over consumption has more to do with societal acceptance and the availability of alcohol, said one of the study's authors, Robert Brewer, of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.


``In general, I think we give people mixed messages about intoxication,'' Brewer said. ``People often regard getting intoxicated as something not serious.''


Local drinking ordinances, religious views and perceptions about drinking are all factors in determining binge drinking rates, Brewer said.






2. Alcohol Awareness Month Starts Tomorrow

The Ridgeway Record

March 31, 2004


April is a refreshing month with springtime renewal buds and it also happens to be alcohol awareness month.


During the 30-day observance, alcoholics and the under or misinformed can renew themselves or others by seeking education about, not only the dangers of alcohol abuse, but also solutions.


This year's theme is "Save a Life-End Underage Drinking." Forty percent of children who begin drinking before age 13 become alcoholics at some point in their lives.


Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America's youth and can be a factor in the four leading causes of death (motor-vehicle crashes, unintentional injury, homicide, and suicide) among 10 to 24 year-olds.


The idea to highlight underage drinking during alcohol awareness month stems from a report compiled by the National Academy of Sciences. The report, titled "Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility," brought to light a lack of efforts to reduce underage drinking.


The study pointed out a need for: Parents to be more observant, the alcohol and entertainment industries to shield children from unsuitable messages, legislators to increase alcohol excise taxes, and communities to stop house parties where underage drinking occurs.


Preventing illegal youth access to alcohol is one of the proven methods for a reduction in underage drinking. Although not prevalent in Pennsylvania, 25 states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring that beer kegs be stamped with an identification number. If found at an underage party, the keg can then identify the supplier, which will then prevent teens from drinking out of it.


Another problem spot that was discovered from the report is that there is a generation gap when it comes to efforts to halt underage drinking. Most of the focus has been on teens, while little to no attention has been paid to the adults that help them acquire it.


While the National Academy of Sciences report pinpointed problems, Pennsylvania plans on following through in an effort to conquer alcohol abuse. During April, there are many events slated.


A conference regarding underage drinking is currently underway in State College and will conclude on April 2. Field professionals and youth will discuss trends such as the current popularity in drinking by age. There will also be discussions to determine what and how much alcohol is being consumed by minors.


Possible solutions to the problem will center on the National Academy of Sciences' suggestions. Potential answers are a decrease in media advertisements glamorizing alcohol and an increase in policies to thwart abuse. Keg tagging is a topic of debate in the state Senate and the House will soon be deciding if adults should be more responsible when an underage drinking party is discovered.


April 2 through 4 is alcohol free weekend and since structure seems to prevent drunkenness, local events are encouraged by the state. Felicity DeBacco-Erni, executive director of Pennsylvanians Against Underage Drinking, said, "We encourage people to do things with their communities."


She mentioned that such activities can be as simple as a teen dance chaperoned by adults or can be as involved as a tourist attraction. For example, Somerset County will be holding a fire and ice festival during the weekend. Ice sculptures will be the focus and there will also be planned events for children, teens, and adults.


Throughout the month and beyond, a children's poster contest, alcohol screening, and public service announcements will be sponsored and encouraged by various entities.


Both the Department of Health and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism will be sponsoring a national screening day on April 8. Locally, screenings can be received at the Kane Area Community Center, 46 Fraley St., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


The poster contest is being conducted by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Students in grades Kindergarten through 12 have until April 30 to send in their entries with an alcohol-free message. Eighty posters will be displayed at various events and these artists will be invited to a ceremony in Harrisburg with a special guest speaker. The top ten prints will be reproduced for mass viewing and these elite creators will collect $100 savings bonds. Regarding suggested content, LCB Spokesperson Molly McGowan said, "We're trying to give a positive message." She advises that the subject matter should promote participation in activities such as sports or art.


Sometime during April and potentially into May, Pennsylvanians Against Underage Drinking will be publishing print and airing television advertisements in an attempt to increase alcohol abuse awareness. There will be two commercials, one geared for parents and one for students.






3. UB in High Spirits

NT Bureau


April  9, 2004


The UB Group has been ranked the fourth largest spirits marketer group in the world. The group is now in the company of top three rankers in the world, viz, Diageo, Allied Domeq and Pernod-Ricard with sales of 35 million cases in the year 2003.


 Impact International, a New York-based global news and research digest, that annually ranks international beverage alcohol companies based on their sales figures, has declared UB Group as the fourth largest spirits group, according to a press release.


This landmark achievement and improvement in global ranking is a result of tremendous growth in record sales achieved by the company last year. UB Group has registered sales of over 35 million cases in 2003-2004, growing by 15 per cent as compared to last years 30 million cases, the release said.


 'It is a red-letter day for the UB Group. We are one of the few Indian companies, which are counted in the Top five in its segment. A well defined strategy has helped us add five million cases every year, in the past three years. Our next target is the number three position with sales of 50 million in the next three years,' Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman, UB Group said.


 V K Rekhi, president, UB Group Spirits Division said, 'our performance in the past years is a testimony and gives us confidence of achieving this 50 million cases target. To achieve this we are planning a multi-pronged strategy. Our focus will be on giving an accelerated growth to our existing brands. At the same time we will add more products to our existing portfolio in global markets. We plan to introduce new products across categories and segments.'


 'The challenge would be continued integration of our operations and strengthening our supply chain to give our customers the best quality products, and enhance shareholder value,' added Rekhi.


 In the coming year, the group will focus on introducing Indian flavoured RTDs, which will have Rum, Whisky and Brandy as their base. In the pipeline are an exciting range of five brands and 15 flavours. In addition, efforts will be made to internationalise our rum portfolio starting with US and UK.






4. Press Release

Contact: Art Resnick (202) 927-8062

 April 8, 2004


Washington, D.C. – The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has issued a ruling to provide guidance to industry pertaining to advertising and labeling claims associated with the use of caloric and carbohydrate claims. TTB has concluded that there is a need for immediate guidance as a result of the recent trend in which industry members are seeking to use such claims in the labeling and advertising of their products.


The ruling allows for the use of truthful and specific statements about carbohydrate and calorie content while prohibiting statements that are false, misleading, or imply that consumption of low-carbohydrate alcohol beverages may play a healthy role in a weight maintenance or weight reduction plan. TTB believes that such claims are misleading in that they provide incomplete information about the health effects of alcohol consumption.


TTB regulations on the use of health-related statements in labeling and advertising provide TTB with authority to require the use of disclaimers or additional information to ensure that consumers are not misled by statements that present only a partial picture of the health effects of alcohol consumption. Unlike most low-calorie and low-carbohydrate foods, alcohol beverages are dangerous when consumed in excess. Even the moderate consumption of alcohol beverages poses health risks for some people. TTB has determined that labeling or advertising statements that imply that consumption of low-calorie or low-carbohydrate alcohol beverages is part of a healthy dietary practice are misleading unless they present all the facts in a balanced manner to the consumer.

As part of the ruling, TTB is issuing interim standards for the use of terms such as “low carbohydrate”. Prior to the setting of a final standard through the rulemaking process, the term “low carbohydrate” may be used only in the labeling and advertising of alcohol beverages that contain no more than 7 grams of carbohydrates per serving.


The ruling may be viewed in its entirety at http://www.ttb.gov/






5. Most Light Beer Is 'Low Carb,' U.S. Decides

By: Christopher Lawton -The Wall Street Journal

April 9, 2004


Looking for a low-carb light beer? According to the federal government, almost all of them are.


Just what constitutes a low-carbohydrate beer, the fastest-growing segment of the beer market, has been the subject of a hotly contested marketing battle between Anheuser-Busch Cos., maker of Bud Light and Michelob Ultra, and SABMiller PLC's Miller Brewing Co., maker of Miller Lite.


The Treasury Department's Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau decided recently to set about defining "low-carb" to help weight-conscious beer drinkers make more informed choices. But in a ruling issued yesterday, pending a period of public comment, the bureau did little to clear up the matter.


Miller Lite, which has 3.2 grams of carbs in a 12-oz. serving, boasts in ads that it contains "half the carbs" of its rival, Bud Light, the nation's biggest beer brand. Bud Light, which has 6.6 grams of carbs, has fought back by saying that all light beers are low-carb beers. The bureau could have set a limit declaring that only beers with fewer than six grams can refer to themselves as low carb. Instead, it set the cutoff at seven, so most light beers aren't affected.


The ruling, which does forbid alcohol producers from making misleading health claims about low carbs, is likely to disappoint consumer groups. This past Monday, Linda Golodner, president of the National Consumer League, wrote to the bureau urging it to define low-carb alcohol, adding that a six-gram standard would be "appropriate."


Part of the beer industry was concerned because it expected the lower threshold. Two weeks ago the Beer Institute, a Washington trade group representing the major brewers, circulated a memo to its members advising that the bureau had decided on a six-gram threshold, according to an e-mail reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.


Art Resnick, a bureau spokesman, said the regulatory body considered a six-gram standard amid a number of possibilities. It chose seven grams, he said, because it wanted to choose a number that meant something to the consumer without disrupting competition within the alcohol marketplace.


Mr., Resnick wouldn't say if Anheuser-Busch's lobbying affected the decision. But he did say the bureau "heard from a variety of industry members including brewers [and] Anheuser-Busch on this issue."


"We have ongoing discussions with the TTB, as do other industry members, because TTB is the regulating agency that oversees our industry," said Joe Jedlicka, vice president, legal and state affairs, at Anheuser-Busch. "We express our opinions to them, and to other regulators, on matters of importance."


Since last summer, Miller Lite's low-carb-touting ads have helped the brand cut into Bud Light's market share. Bud Light accounts for close to 40% of Anheuser-Busch's sales, according to Impact Databank, so Miller Lite's resurgence represented a serious threat. In fall 2002, Anheuser-Busch went national with its own low-carb beer, Michelob Ultra, which quickly became a hit. The beer, which has a carb count of 2.6 grams, holds a 3.1% share of supermarket beer sales, according to Information Resources Inc.


Meanwhile, Bud Light defended itself with the slogan, "All light beers are low in carbs. Choose on taste." It also aired ads that poked fun at the carb mania through a vehicle called the Bud Light Institute and its wacky inventions to help drinkers burn off the carbs from one Bud Light. One recent ad featured the institute's chief executive promoting the toe flex, a contraption "specifically designed to make it easy to burn the ridiculously low carbs in one Bud Light."


Mr. Resnick said his agency wanted to provide guidance to the consumer and address potential misinformation implied in ads that make low-carb claims. "We are looking to discourage what we see as current trends in advertising implying physical properties and health benefits obtained through consumption" of alcohol that's lower in carbohydrates," he said.


Although Miller Lite doesn't stand to benefit from the ruling, it isn't complaining. "I think it sets a standard and should help alleviate any confusion," said Michael Hennick, spokesman for Miller Brewing. "If [Anheuser-Busch is] happy with seven carbs, the point for us is that half the carbs is still half the carbs."







6. Diageo Introduces New Line of Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Flavored Rums

Source:   Diageo Press Release

Wednesday April 7, 2004


Pineapple and Mango Flavors to add Greater Vibrancy & Versatility


STAMFORD, Conn., April 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks company, has announced the introduction of Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Pineapple and Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Mango line extensions. These two additions to the Captain Morgan portfolio of fine flavored rums are being introduced at a time when the flavored rum category is experiencing explosive growth.


Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Pineapple and Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Mango extend the brand's positioning to transform ordinary experiences into vibrant ones, while satisfying consumer demand for greater versatility in flavored rums and increased variation in their drinking repertoire. Following extensive research and testing, both the pineapple and mango flavors were selected as best tasting and most imaginative by consumers. The packaging for both flavors will remain consistent with the existing Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Coconut bottle, which expresses vibrancy, colorfulness, and distinctiveness while also delivering a touch of the exotic.


Beginning in May 2004, Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Pineapple and Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Mango will be available wherever the Captain Morgan portfolio is available in both the on- and off-premise. The standard 750ml size will retail, on par with Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Coconut, for approximately $13.99 MSRP. Drink recommendations include mixing the new flavors with traditional fruit juices, lemon-lime soda and cola. The launch of these two line extensions will be supported with a media campaign (TV, OOH, radio), on- and off-premise programming, PR and experiential sampling events.


"The introduction of Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Pineapple and Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Mango will fill the growing demand for increased versatility in consumer's desire to have more vibrant and colorful cocktail options to chose from," said Hernando Ruiz-Jimenez, Captain Morgan's National Brand Group Director. "Who better to offer this spontaneity and creativity than Captain Morgan?" Ruiz-Jimenez questioned.


Currently ranked the #1 selling flavored rum in the world, Captain Morgan is currently ranked the #4 selling distilled spirit in the U.S. The Captain Morgan brand has experienced continuous double-digit volume growth since its introduction in 1992 and has received the prestigious distinction amongst all distilled spirits by being awarded Impact's Hot Brand Award for thirteen of the past fifteen years. Captain Morgan is the leading flavored rum that has been credited with the explosive growth rates within the flavored rum segment, with 39% of that category growth being driven exclusively by Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum.


Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Pineapple and Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Mango were developed by Diageo Innovation to capitalize on the growing trend of exotic flavored rum popularity among the LDA-29 consumer target. "Research indicates that this particular consumer segment is continually looking for something new and unique. These two new line extensions not only deliver on the unexpectedness associated with Captain Morgan, but consumers have indicated that these flavors are extremely great tasting as well," said John Kennedy, Vice President, Diageo Innovation.


"With Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay positioning of delivering a vibrant, tropical experience, the selection of two very exotic flavors was a natural decision in keeping with the brand's Caribbean-like influence and authenticity," added Hernando Ruiz-Jimenez.


In addition to introducing Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Pineapple and Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Mango flavor line-extensions, Diageo has successfully introduced a number of new brands, products and adult beverage drinking formats within the U.S. marketplace in the last year alone, including the recently launched Smithwick's Ale, Smirnoff Ice Twisted V Flavored Malt Beverages, Ciroc Vodka, Smirnoff Cranberry Vodka, Jose Cuervo Classico and Baileys Minis.







7. Mexico Relents on Tequila Crackdown (Mexico)

 By: Amy Guthrie  - Associated Press

April 7, 2004


MEXICO CITY – Mexican tequila aficionados hoping to elevate the spirit's image among highbrow crowds will have to wait.


The Mexican government, bowing to pressure from the United States and Canada, has decided to keep allowing distillers to export cheap tequila in bulk to be bottled outside the country.


Under tequila's denomination of origin status, granted to select municipalities of five Mexican states in 1997, the liquor must be distilled near the town of Tequila to be considered authentic. Tequila claiming to be premium, or made entirely from the blue agave plant, must also be bottled in the region.


Lower end, or mixed, tequila can contain up to 49 percent cane sugar alcohol and be shipped out in bulk containers for bottling elsewhere. In August, Mexico's Tequila Regulatory Board proposed limiting the bottling of mixed tequila as well to the region in an effort to guarantee the integrity of the drink, which sometimes is adulterated with other types of alcohol.


For now, Mexico's Economy Ministry said in a statement released last week, the bottling measure planned for 2005 wouldn't be "the most convenient" for the tequila industry. It would have forced the tequila companies to hurriedly invest in machinery and new production lines, briefly raising prices for consumers and putting tequila's competitiveness among distilled spirits at risk.


"This was the result of very long, very difficult negotiations," said Eduardo Orendain, president of the National Tequila Industry Chamber.


The tequila industry won't be able to revisit the topic of bottling at the source for another five years. Meanwhile, officials say they plan to tighten regulations for exporters and overseas handlers. Tequila bottlers in California, for example, will have to be certified by Mexican government inspectors.


Mexico exported 101 million liters of tequila in 2003, about 70 percent of which was in bulk containers. About 80 percent of Mexico's tequila exports head to the United States, where it has been steadily gaining popularity outside of fraternity houses and beach bars. In Mexico, tequila is often sipped straight, or mixed with grapefruit-flavored soda. The better tequilas are aged in oak barrels, giving them a complex and smoky flavor.


"Essentially the proposal would have jeopardized the very big value-priced segment of the (U.S.) market," said Debbie Lamb, vice president of international affairs for the Distilled Spirits Council, which represents companies with a combined 85 percent market share for tequila in the United States.


"We're grateful that Mexico has acknowledged that it's not in Mexico's or the tequila industry's interest to require bottling at the source," Lamb added.


Tequila is the fastest-growing distilled spirit in America, with volume sales having expanded by 62 percent since 1990 to represent 4.7 percent of total distilled spirit sales. U.S consumers spent $2.8 billion on tequila in 2002 alone.






8. US: Winemakers to Roll Out Yellow Tail Competitors

Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

April 7, 2004


The list of rather comical names for Australian wines in the US market looks set to continue with winemakers McGuigan Simeon and Southcorp both set to launch brands to compete with the success of the Yellow Tail brand.


McGuigan Simeon Wines has launched a Crocodile Rock label, which is apparently named after the Elton John song rather than Aussie outdoor personality Steve Irwin, famous for his crocodile and wildlife programmes. Meanwhile Southcorp is rolling out the Little Penguin range of Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot.


The wines are aimed at the non-traditional wine drinkers market, the companies have said, and, are seen as a direct result of the success of the Yellow Tail brand in the US market, which now has 35% of the Australian wine market in the US.