Industry Unites Behind 'We Don't Serve Teens'

More than 40 associations and companies representing all three tiers of the alcohol industry are joining together with community groups to launch “We Don’t Serve Teens,” an education campaign aimed at continuing progress on reducing underage drinking by stopping teens access to alcohol.

Originally launched in 2006, We Don’t Serve Teens is a national, multi-faceted initiative that invites consumers, businesses and organizations to join together to bring an end to underage drinking. While the campaign has been refreshed, its core message remains: “Don’t serve alcohol to teens. It’s unsafe. It’s illegal. It’s irresponsible.”

As part of the campaign, this important underage drinking message will be seen in liquor stores and restaurants, heard on radio stations, and shared by popular online influencers. Parents and other adults are also encouraged to participate by engaging with the campaign online.

“Underage drinking has declined dramatically but remains a safety issue for teens that is often overlooked, disregarded, or pushed to the backseat for more pressing concerns,” said Chris Swonger, President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and “The We Don’t Serve Teens campaign brings a critical mass of public and private entities together to spotlight underage drinking prevention. We have made a lot of progress over the years and fewer teens are drinking alcohol. By working together, we hope to make even more progress on this important issue.”

According to the federally-funded Monitoring the Future Study, from 1991 to 2021 underage drinking declined 71% among eight graders, 69% among tenth graders, and 52% among twelfth graders. Additionally, working together, significant strides have been made in reducing access to alcohol, but until underage drinking is eliminated, there is still work to be done. The availability of alcohol to those under the legal drinking age remains high among high school seniors with 8 out of 10 reporting it is easy for them to access alcohol.

“Most teens who drink get their alcohol from ‘social’ sources, getting it from family and friends or taking it from a home without permission. This is unacceptable. We all play a part in preventing underage drinking, which is why this campaign is so important,” says Tom Cole, Chairman, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, and Senior Advisor to the Board, Republic National Distributing Co. “We must work harder to make sure that no one is selling, serving, or supplying alcohol to anyone under the legal drinking age—ourselves included. Responsibility starts with us.”

“No retailer wants to sell alcohol to someone who is underage,” says John Bodnovich, Executive Director, American Beverage Licensees. “Retailers are on the front lines in communities across the country – we are proud to once again lead the effort to prevent underage drinking. We look forward to working with community partners as well as industry partners to keep alcohol out of teens’ hands and stop underage drinking.”

We Don’t Serve Teens is a national campaign dedicated to reducing underage drinking and stopping teens’ access to alcohol. This campaign was first launched in 2006 in partnership with the Federal Trade Commission and other public and private sector organizations. Control state agencies, state retail associations, and alcohol manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers are all recommitting to the WDST campaign and getting this important message out – underage drinking is not acceptable. Campaign participants will not serve, sell, deliver, or supply alcohol to anyone unable to verify and authenticate the proper identification showing that they are of legal age to consume alcohol.

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