It takes a village to make a difference – HEINEKEN USA can’t do it alone!
Considering issues of underage drinking, drunk driving, and health and wellbeing, for example, the topic of responsible drinking is so multifaceted that it can sometimes feel like an overwhelming challenge.
Now more than ever, partnerships are evolving at both the local and national levels, with the intent of creating a positive change in attitudes toward drinking. Hospitals, ride-sharing companies, festival organizers and other stakeholders are forming new alliances in the name of responsibility. However, we still have a long way to go and we can’t do it alone.
‘Drink or Drive?’ A behavioral approach
We believe the prevention of drunk driving starts long before the first beer is poured. Research has shown that when people are consuming alcohol, they can get ‘caught up having fun’ and find it more difficult to plan ahead. That insight led us to consider the impact of simply asking consumers to make a choice: Drink OR Drive? In the U.S., we teamed up with Evite to pilot an interactive campaign targeting partygoers at their moment of RSVP to make the choice — Will you drink or drive? Whether the guest chose drink or drive, those who elected to make the choice were rewarded with an Uber discount code to use towards getting themselves home safely. This is just one example of the types of partnerships we are exploring to promote responsibility, and a testament to the role technology can play in eliminating drunk driving.
In alcohol education, it’s critical to meet consumers where they are. Thus, grassroots programs are critical to helping educate parents around the dangers of underage consumption and to encouraging them to start a conversation with their kids around this difficult topic. On a local level, HEINEKEN USA has worked with the Health Alliance on Alcohol (HAA), a public-private partnership between the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital System and White Plains Hospital to prevent underage drinking. The partnership is especially effective in targeting parents, who in many ways influence the consumption patterns of their children. As part of this effort, HAA teaches parents what kinds of habits or actions may influence their children’s perspectives on alcohol, and how to have conversations with children once they become adolescents and young adults.
Earlier this month, we travelled to Louisville, KY, for an Alcohol Responsibility Round Table meeting, hosted by Brown-Forman. The meeting, which included professionals from across the alcohol industry, provided a safe environment to have open and honest conversations about responsibility. We discussed leveraging external partnerships effectively and better employee engagement in alcohol responsibility initiatives. Metrics were another subject high on the agenda, as the industry seeks more robust targets and best practices for tracking alcohol responsibility measures.
Bartenders are often the forgotten heroes in the campaign for responsible drinking. Last month, we celebrated World Bartender Day and interviewed some local bartenders in New York City. One of the most poignant quotes that stood out was from one of our bartenders at a restaurant in downtown New York: “For me, a good bartender is someone who will tell you when to go home. The really good bartender cares about your wellbeing.” Across the industry, we must continue to work with bartenders and empower and educate them to help to encourage moderation.
Moderation at festivals and events
Consumer insight research has told us that water is a key asset to moderate drinking, but it must be accessible in a refreshing manner. As part of HEINEKEN’s commitment to Brewing a Better World, we rolled out “This One Is On Us” in 2016 to provide water stations that make sure consumers are properly hydrated and have a safe space to take a break during festivals.
As a global beer brand, HEINEKEN USA must take bold steps to achieve real change. However, we believe the most meaningful change will be made when more companies and organizations work together; we believe the best is yet to come. We need to work even closer with partners of varying interests, across multiple touchpoints and sectors, from hospitals to celebrities, and from ride-sharing companies to lifestyle brands. Only through these collective efforts and new ways of thinking can we really start to move the needle on responsible drinking. Will you join us in this effort to make the world a safer, more responsible place?