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Lynn M. Walding, Administrator


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 e - NEWS

August 15, 2003


1. Suddenly Chi-Chi:  The New Upscale Rums

2. Eateries Vocalize Liability Worries

3. Owners Fight Over Adult Club’s Opening

4. Underage Drinking Study Biased, Critics Say

5. Beer Ads Sober Up


6. Coors Sees Increase in Q2 Earnings


7. University Anti-Alcohol Plan a Failure?


8. UK: Brown-Forman Settles Diageo Dispute




1. Suddenly Chi-Chi:  The New Upscale Rums

By Scott Craven – The Reno Gazette-Journal

July 29, 2003

RENO - Until recently, what most people knew about rum could be stuffed into a dead man’s chest with plenty of room left for a pirate’s yo-ho-hos.

But that is changing as rum, once a bit player on the cocktail circuit, is assuming center stage at the bottom of a snifter.








The beverage, which achieved much of its current fame when paired with its sidekick Coke, is going solo thanks to the emergence of the fine aged variety of the spirit.

At the Bahama Breeze chain of restaurants, there are 29 rums available, from the everyday (Bacardi) to the premium (Mount Gay and Appleton Estate, fine aged rums). Given Bahama Breeze’s tropical theme and the fact that rum originated in the Caribbean hundreds of years ago, rum’s popularity is not surprising, says manager Mark Setterington at a Phoenix franchise of the restaurant.

“Rum flies off the shelves,” he says. “It’s very popular now.”

Rum is the latest hard liquor to achieve barroom stardom, following single malt scotch, single barrel whiskey and fine aged tequila into the VIP area.

Not bad for a drink that was once to pirates what Gatorade is to athletes. For much of its history, rum had been considered the rot-gut of the seven seas, distilled since the 17th century when it was found that molasses (a byproduct of the sugar industry) fermented when left in the sun.

Its shelf life was beyond that of beer and bread, making it a popular post-pillaging beverage on pirate ships, though it was a staple on most long voyages.

Starring solo

But rum is shedding its reputation as the shortest distance between sobriety and drunkenness. The finer rums, some old enough to drink themselves, are designed to be sipped solo, not blended into a pina colada, says wine and spirits salesman Mike Fine.

“People are more discerning, more knowledgeable,” Fine says. “They drink to enhance their experience, not to get drunk. They want quality, and those who make rum are catching on to that and are finally offering a premium product.”

Rum selections ranges from Bacardi at $12 a bottle to Appleton Estate or Cruzan rum retailing for $70 to $80 a bottle. Some rums, says Fine, can go up to $250 a bottle.

The key to a fine rum is in the aging, Fine says. Oak barrels are the preferred method, with some rums aging 21 years before being bottled.

But this doesn’t mean the fun has gone out of rum. At The Drift, a Polynesian restaurant and lounge in Scottsdale, Ariz., rum drinks are dressed up with umbrellas and pineapple spears. One rum-spiked concoction, the hoti, is served in a ceramic Buddha.

“We wanted to bring the fun and cheesiness back to it,” says Drift owner Brian Chittenden. “We do a hell of a lot of business in rum. There’s a resurgence because rum drinks are very tasty and you can drink them all night.”

Just look out for the alcoholic content. Some rums are 151 proof (that’s 75.5 percent alcohol).

2. Eateries Vocalize Liability Worries

DAVENPORT - An impending hike in the amount of dram-shop insurance did not seem to rattle most bar and restaurant owners who turned out for a hearing Tuesday in Davenport to voice opinions on how state dram shop laws should be changed.

Of more concern was how they are held liable for injuries and damages when a patron who has been served an alcoholic beverage at their establishments later has a traffic accident.

Too much of the burden is heaped on bar and restaurant owners, even if the patron stopped elsewhere to drink after leaving their establishments or went to a liquor store or a private home to drink, some of the owners said.

“They (patrons) don’t even really have to prove that they were in our establishments,” said Doni DeNucci, president and chief executive officer for the Iowa Hospitality Association, a lobbying group for food and beverage servers. “It’s almost like the burden is on us to prove they weren’t there.”

As of Sept. 1, the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Commission will require those who hold state liquor licenses to increase the amount of dram-shop insurance they carry by as much as five-fold. The agency is also preparing a report that will recommend reforms in Iowa’s dram-shop laws to the governor and legislators.

Those who hold Iowa liquor licenses are required to carry dram-shop insurance in addition to any general liability coverage they have, said Lynn Walding, administrator of the commission. It covers injuries and damages sustained by third parties who have been involved in accidents with patrons who have been served alcohol at bars and restaurants.

“This is dram-shop reform, not repeal,” Walding said. “The new dram-shop coverage will increase rates for establishments. I think most of them accept that they have some responsibility. Their concerns are how the mechanism works that holds them liable.”

Grocery stores, liquor stores and others that sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption are not required to carry the insurance.

That in itself is unfair, said Jim Clayton, a former bar owner who is now involved with the University of Iowa’s Stepping Up Coalition, a group that promotes responsible alcohol use. Some off-premises sales establishments mean for alcohol to be drunk immediately after purchase, he said.

“You go into a convenience store and alcohol is sold by the can, ready to drink and ice cold,” he said. “The message they are sending is buy it and drink it in your car.”

Jerry Fleagle, president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, which represents grocers, convenience stores and other retailers, said his members oppose any change in state law that would require them to carry dram-shop insurance. They have no control over what happens to alcohol once a customer buys it and leaves their store, he said.

But Bart Baker, of Frontier Management Group, which runs hotels with restaurants that serve alcohol in eastern Iowa, said those that sell alcohol for on-premises consumption often unfairly are penalized for selling a customer a drink.

He cited a case where a woman was served a drink at one of his hotels, left and went to another establishment to drink and then drank on private property with friends before she was involved in an early-morning car wreck. Her minor son sued the hotel.

“The suit was not successful, but ultimately we were held responsible because our insurance carrier dropped us as a client,” Baker said. “We were held responsible because we served her a drink at 7 p.m.”

Terry Lunardi, owner of Lunardi’s Italian Restaurant in Davenport, said the increased requirement for dram-shop coverage comes on the heels of action by the Davenport City Council to raise the cost of liquor licenses. The city hike was part of a budget-balancing measure approved by aldermen last week.

“I’ll just add it to overhead,” he said. “It’s something I’ll just have to deal with. It’s the cost of doing business.”




3. Owners Fight Over Adult Club’s Opening

DAVENPORT - Amy Marie Miller of Moline says she wants to open Davenport’s newest adult cabaret. On applications for liquor and adult entertainment licenses, she lists herself as the sole owner of what will be called The Links Gentlemen’s Club.

But the owners of another Davenport topless dance club, Daisy Dooks, claim that Miller’s dentist husband, Thomas J. Roemer, is really the force behind the club and that Miller is “acting as a ‘straw person’ for Mr. Roemer in connection with his efforts to open a competing club,” court documents state.

Daisy Dooks’ parent company, Entertainment Tonite, has filed suit in both Scott County District Court and federal court to block the opening of The Links.

As a former partner in Entertainment Tonite, Roemer signed an agreement that bars him from opening another adult club within 30 miles of Daisy Dooks, the lawsuit states. The new club would be about two miles from Daisy Dooks, which is on West 83rd Street.

“Mr. Roemer has caused to be formed a limited liability company named Status LLC to purchase real estate and to finance construction of a building in which to house the competing business,” an affidavit Daisy Dooks partner Michael Speer filed with the suit states.

Status LLC holds the deed for the site of The Links, 643 E. 59th St., city property records show. The company bought it in February from former owners D&S Building Co. and Dummermuth Investments for $390,000.

But a liquor-license application for the club lists Miller as the sole owner. She also lists herself as the sole corporate representative of Magic Properties LLC on a city application for an adult-establishment business license.

Tighter regulation of adult clubs enacted by Davenport aldermen in 2001 requires corporate-license applicants to list the names of and other information about all directors, officers and managers of the firm, as well as information about those controlling more than 50 percent of voting shares.

“Mr. Roemer has created a legal labyrinth of entities that tries to obscure his intent, but we believe that he is involved with the club,” said Steven Warbasse, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, lawyer who filed the suits on behalf of Daisy Dooks’ owners. “I’m in possession of documents that indicate clearly his involvement, but I’m not at liberty to give you details at this time.”

He described Roemer as a former partner in Daisy Dooks who, along with three other associates, signed the noncompete agreement so none of them would “bolt and open up a competing business nearby.”

Roemer said the suit is being orchestrated by Speer, who he said is a partner in and the general manager of Daisy Dooks. He declined further comment, referring other questions to his attorney, Steven Jacobs of Davenport, and to Miller.

Miller could not be reached for comment by the QUAD-CITY TIMES. Jacobs did not return repeated calls from the Times to his office.

The city’s legal department does not routinely check the accuracy of information on liquor and adult business license applications, Corporation Counsel Mary Thee said.

“We don’t do a legal review unless there is a question,” she said.

The police department conducts criminal background checks on applicants for liquor and adult business licenses. Law requires applicants to list criminal offenses. Adult-business license applicants also must submit fingerprints.

Miller listed two misdemeanor offenses on her liquor-license application. Both occurred in Iowa and, in both cases, she paid a fine. One of the offenses was a 1999 arrest in Dallas County, Iowa, for indecent exposure.

According to police and court documents, Miller was among 11 dancers at an adult club called Beach Girls in rural West Des Moines who were arrested during a raid after undercover officers observed them exposing their breasts in violation of local laws.

Sgt. Mike Ficcola, a spokesman for the West Des Moines police, said that aside from the 1999 raid, Beach Girls was not a consistent trouble spot.

“In the past 90 days, we’ve made four trips out there, and three were for alarms,” he said. “We give it regular patrols, so maybe that’s why we don’t see much trouble there.”

Sgt. Joe Palmer recommended approval of Miller’s liquor-license application after Davenport police reviewed it. He was unavailable for comment when the Times attempted to contact him. The City Council’s Public Safety Committee is scheduled to review the license Thursday and decide whether to recommend it to the full council.

Under Iowa law, liquor licenses must win local approval before they go on to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division for final approval, said Lynn Walding, the agency’s administrator. Non-alcohol-related misdemeanors are not likely to delay or block issuance of a license.

However, part of Iowa’s liquor laws requires applicants to be of “good moral character,” Walding said. The agency also takes a dim view of applicants who are not truthful. If inaccurate information is discovered on an application, that is grounds to revoke or deny a license, he said.

Based on the dispute between Roemer and the owners of Daisy Dooks as outlined in the lawsuits, Warbasse said he would “not be surprised” if information on Miller’s applications was found to be untrue.





4. Underage Drinking Study Biased, Critics Say

By John Heys -The Charleston Gazette

August 7, 2003

CHARLESTON - More than 130 federal lawmakers, including Rep. Nick J. Rahall, have said they're worried that a study underway on underage drinking could hurt the alcoholic beverage industry.

Their concerns, expressed in a June letter, joined those of an industry group alleging that the report's authors are biased and haven't considered beverage industry efforts to discourage minors from drinking.

The National Academy of Sciences is conducting the study at Congress' request and with $500,000 in federal funding. Last year, Congress asked the NAS to come up with a cost-effective way to reduce and prevent underage drinking. That includes reviewing efforts by the government and others.

The NAS stands by the researchers and their report, which is under review and due out late this month or next.

In 2001, about 29 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 20 - about 10.1 million people - said they used alcohol in the past month, according to a national survey by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

Almost 3 million people in this age group were dependent on or had abused alcohol in the past, the survey said.

The National Beer Wholesalers Association worries the findings could be used to justify increases in taxes on alcoholic beverages and limits on advertising.

The lawmakers' letter said the report wasn't meant to be used as "a primer of suggested policy changes intended to adversely affect the beverage industry."

In a statement released by his office, Rahall, D-W.Va., said the NAS was instructed to find a strategy to "resolve underage drinking."

"When they stray from that mandate," he said, "they need to be called on the carpet."

The beer wholesalers' political action committee gave $500 to Rahall's campaigns for Congress in 1998 and $3,000 in 2002, according to the Federal Election Commission's Web site.

The PAC also gave to campaigns for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., but neither signed the June letter to the NAS, staff in their Washington offices said.

NBWA President David Rehr sent a letter to lawmakers in May about the association's concerns with the NAS study.

Rehr and officials with the Beer Institute and the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America also sent a joint letter to NAS president Bruce Alberts outlining the industry concerns about the scope and objectivity of the report.

The researchers and experts working on the report went through a thorough review and public comment period before being selected, said NAS spokeswoman Vaneé Vines. That included checking for potential conflicts of interest, she said.

"We have a very rigorous checks-and-balance system," she said.

The beer wholesalers' group disagrees. Many of the researchers are tied to what spokeswoman Michelle Semones called "anti-alcohol groups," including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"You can't say they don't come to the table with some bias," she said. "It's obvious that some of these panelists come with preconceived notions."

The report's panelists haven't considered the beverage industry's efforts to clamp down on underage drinking, such as public-service announcements and bringing speakers to schools, Semones said.

Not true, the NAS says.

"Those programs were definitely considered," Vines said. Independent scholarly experts are reviewing the NAS report, but Vines said she couldn't comment on the reports recommendations.

The NAS often gets letters when it deals with controversial subjects, such as global warming, Vines said. Despite the controversy, the NAS will stick to its mandate and mission, she said: "We're focusing on the science."


5. Beer Ads Sober Up

By NATIVES – The New York Times

July 31, 2003


NEW YORK - With the widely criticized “Cat Fight” campaign for Miller Lite now discontinued, fans of racy advertising may find themselves flipping channels this summer and muttering, Where have all the fun-loving buxom beer drinkers gone?


For a time, it seems, the fans will have to keep searching.  While Miller Lite readies its next campaign, the latest ads for beers like Red Stripe and Heineken play down sex appeal in favor of elements like – gasp – the quality of the product.


Only months ago, Bud Light and Coors Light were running commercials featuring full-figured twins and various erotic storylines.  And then there was “Cat Fight” with two barely dressed women who wrestle to settle their argument about which is Miller Lite’s greater attribute, “tastes great” or “less filling.”


The sexually charged ads of the big of the big brewers earlier in the year were meant to speak to a big, diverse customer base, said Mary Pugh, president at the SoNo Group in Norwalk, Conn., a marketing consultancy.  The ads reflect the busineesses’ need to fight off all manner of competitors – including microbrews and imports – that have a more sharply defined brand identity, she added.


“This naked lady stuff is just something for these guys to get some attention with,” Ms. Pugh said, referring to the biggest beer marketers.  “I find it to be an overreaction to the boutique beers.”


Indeed, the smaller brands are playing up their unique attributes.  Red Stripe, for example, recently began running a two-minute commercial that emphasizes the beer’s Jamaican origin without a single shot of young beachgoers in bikinis.


“We actually do have a Jamaican woman in one of our ads, but she’s 65 years old,” said Gerry Graf, executive creative director at BBDO Worldwide in New York, the agency for Red Stripe.  BBDO is part of the Omnicom Group.  Red Stripe is distributed by Diageo.


Although sex can indeed sell, Mr. Graf said, it is not enough on its own to generate awareness for an up-and-coming brand of beer.  “For a smaller brand coming in, you have to stay away from that just to avoid blending in,” he said.


In the case of Heineken, marketers decided that satire might prove more effective than sex appeal.  Last week, the company began running a spot intended to make fun of its rivals; the view pans from what initially looks like a beer-fueled rooftop party packed with models to reveal that the whole scene is, in fact, the set of a beer commercial.


Labatt Blue this summer is continuing a campaign built around a man in a bear suit who rarely, if ever, seems likely to ogle twins (as occurs in Coors Light commercials).


“There’s no lack of good-looking women that the bar is around,” said Devin Kelly, director for marketing for Canadian brans at Labatt USA.  “But we’re always careful that it’s very inclusive.  It’s never done at the expense of women.” Labatt is a joint venture of the Labatt Brewing Company, part of Interbrew, and FEMSA Cerveza.


A new campaign from Rainier Beer in Seattle, part of Pabst Brewing, taps into the activist tradition that many local residents feel, said Jim Haven, a principal and creative director at Creature in Seattle, which made the ads.  Billboards and radio spots encourage consumers to have a barbecue, or simply drink more beer, and are attributed to “Citizens for a More Rainier Tomorrow.”


“Rainier isn’t asking you to count fish or live in trees,” one radio spot says.  “They’re just asking you to stock a cooler or throw a block party.”


Smaller brands sometimes have more leeway in their advertising because consumers are more likely to believe that there is something unique or different about the brand than if a top-seller made a similarly quirky claim, said Ms. Pugh, the consultant.


While executives at Miller said that “Cat Fight” had incorporated more parody than critics gave it credit for, they said the attention it generated laid the groundwork for a less sexual sell the next time around.


“The Miller Lite ‘Cat Fight” spots really opened the door for us to revisit our product quality and tell that story again,” said Scott Bussen, a spokesman at Miller Brewing in Milwaukee, part of SABMiller.  “To tell people why we’re the best beer out there.”


6. Coors Sees Increase in Q2 Earnings

By Janet Forgrieve - Rocky Mountain News
July 25, 2003

GOLDEN - A temporary drop in its tax rate helped Golden-based Adolph Coors Co. increase its second-quarter earnings, despite softer U.S. beer sales.

Coors, the nation's third-largest brewer, reported earnings of $76.3 million, or $2.09 per share, on sales of $1.5 billion for the 13-week period ended June 29, compared with $67.6 million, or $1.84 per share, on revenue of $1.4 billion in the same period last year.

The company sold 9.1 million barrels of beer during the period, up 2 percent from the 8.9 million barrels sold during the second quarter of 2002.

In a conference call with analysts Thursday, Coors blamed slower sales growth on a combination of factors including cooler weather leading into the summer and the continued economic downturn.

In addition, unemployment among men age 21 to 29, the core target market for Coors Light, is at its highest in a decade, said Coors Brewing Chief Executive Officer Leo Kiely.

"The impact of the weak economy on our business can be seen from several angles," Kiely said. "On- premise volume trends (beer consumed in bars and restaurants) have been especially weak this year, as consumers have reduced their discretionary spending."

Sales of packaged goods made up for part of that loss, he said, but not all of it.

"The company continues to struggle with its key Coors Light brand," Goldman, Sachs & Co. analyst Marc Cohen said in a report. "This company appears to be having more difficulty managing through the challenging beer industry atmosphere than we envisioned."

Sales of less expensive Keystone Light grew by double digits during the quarter, Coors said.

The company said overall U.S. sales in July were improving, without being more specific.

The Associated Press and Bloomberg News contributed to this report.





7. University Anti-Alcohol Plan a Failure?

By Jon Bonne – MSNBC

July 23, 2003


Touchy debate over whether a popular campaign works


One of the most popular campaigns to curb alcohol use on campus hasn’t reduced student drinking and may actually have increased it, according to a new report from the Harvard School of Public Health’s College Alcohol Study.  The findings clash with results that claim significant drops in risky drinking at some of the nation’s largest universities.


THE NEW RESEARCH targets “social norms” marketing campaigns, which aim to lower drinking levels by telling students that their peers actually consume far less than they might think.  The campaigns have claimed success at some of the largest universities in the nation, such as the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina.


But the Harvard study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found students were drinking just as much at schools that implemented social norms programs, and often were drinking more.



“It’s simple, it’s cheap, it makes everybody look good.  It makes the college look good because it says there’s less drinking there than people think, says Henry Wechsler, director of the Harvard study.  “The only problem is, it doesn’t seem to work.”


College drinking is pervasive, with 80 percent or more of students consuming alcohol.  But the real issue is heavy consumption, or binge drinking, when students chug down numerous drinks on a single occasion.  The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse reports some one in five Americans between the ages of 12 and 20 are binge drinkers, nearly 7 million people.  And six in 10 men between 18 and 25 engage in “heavy episodic drinking” at least once a month, according to a Centers for Disease Control study.  (Definitions vary as to how many drinks qualify as binge drinking.)


Social norms efforts often target students who are tempted to drink to excess, and are used on many campuses with high drinking rates.  They include a broad array of posters and ads – even cards on a student’s 21st birthday – underscoring that most students drink modestly.  Campaigns use basic messages that underscore responsibility and praise good behavior: “Most MSU students have 5 or fewer drinks per week,” said one campaign at Michigan State University; “Most U of A students are safe when they drink,” said a poster at the University of Arizona.


A Harvard survey of college administrators found nearly half had social norms programs at their schools.  And students are aware of the messages, according to the study.  Nearly 75 percent at schools using the programs had seen the posters or signs.


But the problem with these programs, Wechsler says, is that many students perceive a disconnect between what they’re told and their social realities.  “These students are not stupid, they’re college students.  They see what’s going on,” he says.


The study evaluated 37 schools that used social norms campaigns and 61 that didn’t, and measured seven student drinking behaviors, from casual to heavy drinking.  Five of the seven behaviors showed no decline over time at schools that implemented the programs.  Two behaviors – drinking within the past month and consuming 20 or more drinks within the past 30 days – showed increases at schools that used the social norms programs.  Schools without the programs showed little change in behaviors, according to the study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol.



The creators of social norms efforts dismiss the Harvard study, pointing to numerous case studies at schools where social norms programs have dramatically reduced drinking hazards.  The University of Arizona reported a 28 percent decline in binge drinking; First year students at the University of Virginia reduced their alcohol intake from three drinks a week to one.


Part of the problem, they say, is that a social norm plan must follow certain standards, with specific market research and tailoring of a program’s message to fit a particular school.  They suggest Wechsler’s study allowed schools to say there were social norms users even if they lacked a formal program.


“That’s not real solid science,” says Michael Haines, director of the National Social Norms Resource Center.  “To this day, as we stand here, this is the most effective program in the country.  It has more data to show its efficacy than any other program out there.


Located at Northern Illinois University – one of the first schools to adopt social norming – Haines’ center helps colleges around the country develop their own programs.  Rather than preaching a specific message, he says, the goal is to tailor messages to a local environment.  Because of that, he says, messages have been tailored to everything from sex and smoking to filing taxes.  “Social norms is not an approach that automatically means … abstinence or moderation,” he says.  “We identify their healthy behaviors and grow more of it by feeding it back to them.”



The Harvard study takes issue with a number of the success stories forwarded by Haines and his co-workers, suggesting many studies are not peer-reviewed and most focus on results at just one school.  Though results have varied at the many schools that implemented full programs, most seem willing to stick with it.

“I’m very committed to the concept of social norming,” says Kim Dude, director of the Wellness Resource Center at the University of Missouri – Columbia.  “It’s very important that students understand that most of their peers are making good choices.”


Her campus has used the program for five years, she says, with notable declines in heavy alcohol use and drunk driving.  But that strategy is part of a larger plan to reduce drinking risks – including free taxis for drinking students and heavier crackdowns by campus police.  (A new campaign this fall suggests students become less attractive to a date when they smoke or drink.)


While social norming has been key to the strategy, Dude says, different students are motivated in different ways.  Positive messages work for some, but the threat of consequences might work better for others.


Another user of social norms has been the California State University at Chico, which has long endured a reputation as one of the nation’s wildest party schools.  In social norming, Chico saw a chance to reverse its reputation among its own students.


“That reputation is really one of our major problems,” says Walt Schafer, a longtime sociology professor at Chico who has served as the university’s point person on alcohol issues.


Chico’s experiment with social norming was prompted two years ago after two students died in drinking-related incidents.  In student surveys, the university has yet to see any notable reduction in students’ alcohol use.  But a federally funded program of voluntary breath testing at Chico has shown an 11 percent drop among first-year students with detectable blood alcohol levels, and first-years are down from 6.8 drinks a week to 5.8.


As with their Missouri counterparts, Chico officials see social norms as one part of a broader strategy, which includes alcohol-free events, increasing students’ personal responsibility for parties with alcohol, and deals with local bars to reduce the number of drink specials and shorten drinking hours during events like St. Patrick’s Day.


“We’re following what is called in the field an environmental management strategy,” says Schafer, “which means that student alcohol abuse is a result of a variety of factors in the environment.”



For his part, Wechsler has been a vocal advocate against binge drinking and has harshly criticized the social norms programs in the past.  Critics maintain he is too stident in his approach, and has overstated the extent of the binge-drinking problem.


But one key downside to social norming, Wechsler says, is its assumption that any student body is a uniform group.  Instead, he says, most students pick up drinking behaviors from their friends and those within their direct social circle.  Accordingly, if a student spends time with people who drink a lot, he or she is more likely to drink a lot, too.  The averages used in social norming, he suggests, have little meaning:  “If you have a campus with 30,000 students, who is the average student on campus?  There are many average students.”


Actually, Wechsler has advocated environmental approaches not unlike those adopted by some social norms schools, though he would rather focus on students’ supply of alcohol.  For example, Wechsler would like to see more colleges do what Chico did: work to limit how alcohol is sold near their campuses.  If large quantities and cheap prices were less prevalent, he argues, students would be driven to consume less.  Nor, Wechsler insists, is an overall message of responsible drinking a bad one.


“You’re never going to eliminate it completely, nor do you want to eliminate having one drink with a pizza,” he says.  “The issue is the kind of drinking that gets people into trouble.”


Haines is adamant, though, that availability is less important than what students are taught normal drinking behavior should be.  And rather than focus on their good behavior, he says, Wechsler and his team are trying to scare kids with sky-high statistics.  “It’s the ‘don’t run with a sharp stick, you’ll poke your eye out’ approach,” he says.


In that sense, the social norms debate returns to the classic battle of supply vs. demand.  Social normers see students as mostly well-behaved and want to curb the thirst of those who do drink too much.  Their critics worry about rising numbers on binge drinking and want to reduce the availability of alcohol.


And many schools, meanwhile, seem to want to target both sides of the equation.  Says Missouri’s Dude: “The reality is, there’s no silver bullet.”





8. UK: Brown-Forman Settles Diageo Dispute

Editorial team - Just-drinks.com

August 15, 2003


Brown-Forman has settled its dispute with Diageo over the distribution of the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey brand in the UK, the company announced yesterday.


The settlement agreement will see Brown-Forman pay Diageo £8.9m (US$14.3m) to end the controversy between the parties.


Diageo distributed Jack Daniel’s in the UK under a contract that expired on July 31, 2002.  Brown-Forman now distributes Jack Daniel’s and its other spirits brands under a cost-sharing agreement with Bacardi.


However, Diageo claimed that it had the right to extend the contract for an additional three years, based on passing certain requirement performance standards in the contract.  Diageo claimed damages from Brown-Forman in a range of  £35m to £42m for profits it would have earned during the extension period.


Brown-Forman denied that Diageo had met the contract extension standards and sued Diageo in the UK for a legal declaration that it was not required to extend the contract.  A trial had been scheduled for March 2004.  But this settlement ends the controversy between the parties, with each side to bear its own litigation costs.


Brown-Forman said that its previous earnings guidance for fiscal 2004 of $4.10 per share to $4.30 per share did not include the full impact of the Diageo settlement.  The payment to Diageo will reduce this year’s earnings by approximately $0.11 per share.


However, the company still expects to achieve fiscal 2004 earnings within its previously announced range.