Skip to content

Why I Talk to my 3rd-Grader About Beer


It is an honor to represent America’s brewers, beer importers, and industry suppliers as the President & CEO of the Beer Institute. Today I am excited for two reasons – the Beer Institute is launching its inaugural blog post, and we are celebrating Alcohol Awareness Month by recognizing the great ways in which our member companies promote responsibility.

We in beer take our jobs seriously, and our sense of responsibility goes beyond the quality ingredients and years of expertise that go into making beer our nation’s most popular alcohol beverage. We are also committed to ensuring that as parents and neighbors any misuse of our products is unacceptable.

Just like many of the professionals in our industry, I am a parent, and I want to make sure that my daughter has every advantage I can provide her. Lizzy asks me a lot of questions about my job like, “Why do you like beer so much?” “What’s a congressmember?” and most recently, “Does beer make you drunk?”

The last question struck me as very different from the others and has started the conversation in our house about responsible consumption of alcohol. As parents and family members, those of us who work in beer are very serious about promoting responsibility. And for me, like many parents, this responsibility starts at home.

Brewers and beer importers are dedicated to preventing underage drinking, including providing resources to parents, educators, and retailers to help keep alcohol out of the hands of those under the legal drinking age.

Research consistently shows that parents are by far the top influence on their children’s decision whether or not to drink. However, some parents just don’t know how to have this important conversation with their children. To assist parents, brewers and beer importers have partnered with medical and other experts to create educational materials for parents, including basic facts about alcohol and how-to guidelines for starting conversations with children. To date, the beer industry has provided over 3 million booklets as well as information on member company websites, digital platforms, and social media that has enabled this important information to reach more than 70 million people.

The good news is this work is showing results, and the efforts of parents, educators, law enforcement, community leaders, and brewers and beer importers are paying off. In 2016, the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study showed record-low levels of underage drinking among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.

This post just begins to address the brewers and beer importers’ Commitment to Responsibility. Last December the Beer Institute released its biennial “Commitment to Responsibility White Paper,” which details the programs and initiatives supported by brewers and beer importers designed to promote responsible decisions about drinking.

Although these successes are encouraging, we still have much work to do. We will continue our commitment to reducing underage drinking. And I will continue to talk with Lizzy. I urge you to do the same. Our communities and our children are depending on it.