Spirits Organizations Underscore Responsible Marketing Practices


June 18, 2024

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The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), FMI – The Food Industry Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) issued a joint commitment related to the responsible marketing and merchandising of crossover alcohol products.

Crossover alcohol products are generally categorized as alcohol beverages that use the product and intellectual property (brand names, logos, etc.) of existing non-alcohol brands. The DISCUS Code Review Board previously issued guidance on how to responsibly advertise and merchandise these products in December 2022.

“Today’s commitment brings together all three tiers – suppliers, wholesalers and retailers – reinforcing our dedication to responsibly advertise, market and merchandize these products in a manner that avoids consumer confusion and ensures they are only marketed and sold to legal drinking age adults,” Chris Swonger, President and CEO of DISCUS, said in a news release.

This industry commitment includes actions for suppliers to ensure crossover brand products abide by the DISCUS Code provisions, including advertisements directed to legal drinking age adults and the use of packaging and branding that is clearly and easily distinguishable from their non-alcohol beverage counterparts.

The commitment also includes provisions for wholesalers and retailers to ensure appropriate placement of these products in grocery and convenience store locations, as well as employee training and any necessary efforts to avoid consumer confusion.

“The alcohol industry has a longstanding track record of effective self-regulation, and the nation’s leading spirits and wine wholesalers have placed a critical focus on responsibility efforts in marketing beverage alcohol products,” Francis Creighton, President and CEO, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, said. “This commitment will play an important role in standardizing responsible merchandising and marketing practices throughout the country.”

“The food industry has long been committed to ensuring alcohol beverages are properly marketed and merchandised in our members’ stores,” Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO, FMI—The Food Industry Association, said. “It is vital that shoppers are provided with clear, easily understandable information about products to be able to make informed purchasing decisions for themselves and their families. This announcement demonstrates the food industry takes that responsibility seriously, especially as we see innovative new products entering the marketplace.”

“Our nation’s convenience stores proudly serve as an important market for consumers to purchase their favorite beverage and this commitment showcases our efforts to reduce the potential for confusion and ensure our customers are aware which products in our stores contain alcohol,” Henry Armour, President and CEO, National Association of Convenience Stores, said.

For more information, visit https://www.distilledspirits.org/.

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