Who would ever think agents within our own government are working to undermine our businesses? Well, that’s increasingly the case. According to Dr. Peter Cressy of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), anyone with a license to serve alcohol needs to be aware of, and oppose, the following activities at the federal, state and local level; those operating in multiple states need be doubly wary:
• Proposed tax increases aimed at raising drink prices
• Reductions in available licenses and further limitations on hours/days of sale
• “Junk science” being used by government officials and anti-alcohol groups to convince lawmakers to enact higher taxes and more restrictions
• Ingnition interlock research, funded by the government grants and aimed at developing technology that will result in interlocks being standard equipment in ALL vehicles.
The alcohol industry overall — from suppliers to on-premise operators — supports tough laws and enforcement to prevent drunk driving, as well as education to promote responsible service and consumption. In addition, groups including DISCUS are lobbying against higher alcohol taxes, which only serve to depress economic activity and does not deter over-consumption; 14 of 16 tax increases were defeated in 2011, according to DISCUS.
All operators need to know the facts about alcohol and its impact on society, as well as the industry’s contribution to the economy and the legislation being proposed. But knowing all that isn’t enough. We’ve got to counter the junk science and tell our story to our patrons, our employees and our lawmakers. The industry associations are a powerful voice, and our organizations must support their efforts. But we need to each speak up, get the facts out there and get involved. For more information, visit www.discus.org and abionline.org.