spiritsEUROPE’s Director General Ulrich Adam warned that such a move would mislead consumers into believing that beer or wine are in some way different from spirits.
“Raising the legal purchasing age for spirits risks sending a message to young people that they can drink beer and wine with less risk,” he stated recently, “It is not true and it is dangerous. All alcohol should be enjoyed in moderation by those who are of age and we must ensure that we do not mislead consumers to believe that any alcohol is healthier than another, or acceptable for those underage.”
The World Health Organisation notes that 80% of alcohol consumed in Luxembourg is either beer or wine with only 20% in the form of spirits. Additionally, a report commissioned by the European Commission shows that 66% of alcohol consumed by young people across the EU is from categories other than spirits.
The same report, the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs, also shows that beer is the most popular category of alcohol for young people, not spirits.
“Any measure targeting spirits alone would ignore two-thirds of alcohol consumption by young people which demonstrates why this proposal is misguided,” he continued.
The spirits sector invests in educational initiatives to reduce underage drinking and in January of this year, along with the beer and wine sectors as part of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, committed to introduce clear age-restriction labels on all drinks.
A recent report from the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking showed that binge-drinking amongst those aged 15-19 fell by 28% between 2010 and 2016 showing the progress made in Europe.
“Europeans are drinking more and more responsibly and proposals such as this could work against this trend by sending a message to those underage that it’s acceptable to drink alcohol when it is not,” he concluded “We hope that the government will reconsider this proposal and we are ready to work with them to tackle harmful drinking in a sensible way.”