In recent years the Dutch government gave  a € 6.6 million grant to Heineken for so-called development aid in Africa. Prime Minister Rutte praised Heineken in September 2015 during a speech to the UN, because of the purchase of beer barley from local farmers in Africa.

Research journalists of the Dutch television-program Zembla studied the impact of the € 1.3 million grant Heineken received from the Dutch government for the acquisition of two state breweries in Ethiopia.

Who benefited? The advantage for Heineken is obvious: net sales rose sharply and the company now controls 30% of the Ethiopian beer market. But that does not apply to the Ethiopian government: Heineken currently pays – despite increased sales – less income tax than before the acquisition in 2011. In addition, Heineken also paid much less wage tax. That’s because since the acquisition of the two breweries, 699 Ethiopians were fired by Heineken.

The impact on poverty in the country and on the beer barley farmers who participate is unclear. The latter have a higher yield and a better price, but may only supply the breweries of Heineken. An expert of the IMF judges the results of the Dutch policy as a lose-lose-win situation. A loss for the Ethiopian treasury, a loss for the personnel of the breweries and a win for Heineken.

Source: via our colleagues at STAP the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy.

  New evidence is mounting that bottles of beer, wine and spirits should carry cigarette-style graphic health warnings to make clear that alcohol is linked to cancer, infertility and violence. Additionally, a number of Canadian jurisdictions reportedly are preparing mandatory warning label laws, in line with the new findings. Research by Canadian PhD. Student Mohammed Read More →


Dr. Pat Kenny, School of Marketing, Dublin Institute of Technology, presenting to the Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children for pre-legislative scrutiny of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 – discussing advertising marketing and raising questions about the real intent of Diageo Role Models. Thanks to @IrelandUnlocked.

Americans will soon have the option of consuming alcohol in a new way. It’s called powdered alcohol, or Palcohol, and it’s recently been approved by the government. The above video gives a discription of the product as well as the problems it brings along.

Read more:
Powdered Alcohol ‘Palcohol’ Sounds Like An Accident Waiting To Happen ( 03/13/15)

See also:
Video: Government approves sale of powdered alcohol (Fox News 03/14/15)
Video: Palcohol: powdered alcohol (CBC News 03/17/15)

Irish public broadcaster RTE recently aired a program dedicated about the current critical uproar about drinks producer Diageo funding the public health campaign ‘Stop out-of-control-Drinking.’ The above video gives an introduction to these current events, followed by a discussion between Fergus Finlay, Barnardos CEO and chair of Stop Out Of Control Drinking campaign, and Senator Jillian VanturnHout, a children’s rights campaigner who’s published an open letter criticizing Diageos involvement in the campaign, undersigned by more then 50 individuals and organizations in the health sector.

See also:
Campaigner admits ‘gap in credibility over funding from Diageo’, the Independent (03/20/15)
Alcohol giants are part of the problem – not the solution, the Independent (03/19/15)
Varadkar urged to make his position clear on alcohol awareness campaign, Irish Examinar (03/18/15)
Former tobacco lobby group hired by Diageo anti-alcohol campaign, the Independent (03/10/15)

Complaints to the Swedish Consumer Agency about alcohol advertising have gone up by 800% after sobriety organization IOGT-NTO introduced their Alcohol Bothers campaign last summer. This explosive growth, compared to the same period last year, can be ascribed to an online service making it very easy for people to report their complaint through social media.

“When we spoke to the Swedish Consumer Agency last year they told us they weren’t very busy with alcohol adverts, because they did not have the resources and because people did not file many complaints. They received approximately 60 per year,” explains IOGT-NTOs European officer Irma Kilim. “We at IOGT-NTO were certain that people were bothered by alcohol advertisements but that they did not always know that what they saw is illegal or even where to report it.”

This motivated the organization formerly known as the International Organisation of Good Templars to create a tool for people to easily report alcohol advertisements and to show the prevalence of alcohol advertisements.

The tool works very easy through social media. Anytime an Instagram or Twitter message contains the hashtag #alkoholstör it is automatically entered into IOGT-NTOs database. The organization filters the incoming ads and publishes the relevant ones on the alcohol bothers website. Kilim ads that:”We also trained four ambassadors who looked through all the pictures and reported them to the Swedish office of consumers. If we compare the campaign period to the same period last year, we can see a raise in reports with 800%.”

The reporting tool however is only one tier of the Alcohol Bothers campaign. Before IOGT-NTO started reporting on alcohol advertisements, they gathered the email addresses of all candidates for the Swedish elections. Through the Alcohol Bothers website, people can contact any of the candidates to ask them, ”Do you think that the Swedish legislation for alcohol advertising should be more restrictive?” ”We knew that the Swedish people had a strong opinion in this but we wanted to show that there is a great political will as well”, Kilim explains. In this the campaign has already succeeded, with over 70% of the political response being in favor of further restrictions.

The Alcohol Bothers website includes a bit of information on every candidate and the possibility to directly ask them the above mentioned question. Additionally, anyone interested could go to the website, find the candidate they are interested in and click on their name. This will present them with a pre-written post card asking you only to fill in your contact information and hit “send”.

“Our goal was that every candidate should be asked at least once, that half of the candidates answered our question and that the majority of those who answered would say ‘Yes’. We reached all these goals, and got more candidates to answer than the biggest political surveys in Sweden,” Irma Kilim told EUCAM. ”It’s a big success!”

Besides these local and national Swedish parts of the campaign, IOGT-NTO is also planning a global Alcohol Bother campaign.

For more information, or to send an example of Swedish alcohol marketing that bothers you, go to the Alcohol Bothers website>>