Alcohol Producers Sued

Several alcohol beverage producers face a lawsuit alleging illegal marketing and advertising to underage persons.

The suit faces at least two major hurdles:

  1. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has conducted four extensive investigations recently into alcohol advertising and marketing. The investigations have included analyses of internal company documents and communications, product placement in cities across the United States, data presented by alcohol activist groups, and much more. In each case, the FTC found that alcohol ads were directed to adults of legal age to drink.
  2. Research for decades conducted around the world by governments, health agencies, and universities has consistently found that alcohol advertising does not cause non-drinkers to begin drinking. Such advertising is profitable because it can influence brand preference/loyalty and increase market share.

Alcohol activists said they hope the suit will "rein in" the industry. "It’d be terrific if one result of this multibillion-dollar lawsuit would be the funding of programs to address alcohol problems," said George Hacker of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)

Mr. Hacker ignored the multimillion-dollar programs funded by alcohol beverage producers. For example, the Century Council, funded entirely by American distillers, spends over $10 million dollars each year fighting underage drinking and drunk driving. Beer and wine producers similarly fund multimillion-dollar programs fighting underage drinking and alcohol abuse.

It’s incredible that a professional alcohol activist such as George Hacker would ignore such enormous programs and act as if they didn’t exist.

For more about George Hacker and CSPI, visit Center for Science in the Public Interest



  • Berk, C.C. Alcohol industry faces suit alleging marketing to teens. Wall Street Journal, 11-21-03: Lawton, C., and Wilke, J.R. Suit alleges alcohol industry targets underage drinkers. Wall Street Journal, 11-28-03; Brown-Forman/underage lawsuit - 2; Diageo also a defendant. Dow Jones Newswire, 11-26-03; alcohol industry suit - 3: Defendant Beer Institute comment. Dow Jones Newswire, 11-26-03; Schoenberger, R. Underage drinking provokes suit. Courier Journal, 11-26-03; Teinowitz, I. Marketers blast charges in alcohol suit: Diageo, others refute idea they go after teens. Advertising Age, 12-1-03.

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