DrinkWise has enjoyed a busy year with three major launches running alongside its ongoing campaigns and educational activities.

While there are many positives, including a continuing drop in total alcohol consumption, CEO Simon Strahan said DrinkWise has to keep on going with its messages regarding consumption and moderation.

“In 2016-17, the total alcohol consumed in Australia was at its lowest since 1961-62 (ABS Apparent Consumption of Alcohol, 2016-17),” Strahan said.

“These statistics, coupled with the National Drug Strategy Household Survey data (2016), are evidence of the continued trend of the Australian population reducing its overall consumption and increasingly focusing on moderation.

“Promoting positive generational change in attitudes towards alcohol is an ongoing endeavour. While the trends are overwhelmingly positive, it’s important to remember that they don’t hold true for everyone, which is why DrinkWise will continue to invest in research and programs to reduce alcohol harms in key life stages and community sectors.”

Looking at the year ahead, Strahan detailed to National Liquor News, how DrinkWise will set out its ongoing endeavours.

“In 2019, DrinkWise will continue our focus on new and innovative ways to promote moderation messages through our evidence-based campaigns,” he said.

“Continuing to remind those target audiences most likely to undertake risky drinking will be undertaken through our young adult focused How to Drink Properly campaign and event-goer message You Won’t Miss a Moment if you DrinkWise. Excitingly, in addition to the AFL, cricket and food and wine events across Australia, this year we will also be partnering with the NRL.

“Extending Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) awareness will also be a focus for 2019. Our FASD awareness communications, developed during the past six months, will be boosted through partnerships with the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) and retailers.

“Materials will feature in cellar doors and medical clinics across Australia, educating consumers and encouraging medical staff to discuss alcohol consumption with patients. DrinkWise FASD videos will also be played in rural and remote general practices and across the Aboriginal Health TV Network.”

And while these plans are in place, Strahan did highlight that the year ahead will bring its challenges as well as opportunities.

“Our relationship with the alcohol industry places DrinkWise in a very privileged position as it allows us to promote our moderation messages to consumers via innovative point of sale channels, which significantly increases our reach and impact,” Strahan said.

“A key challenge will be ensuring that positive consumption trends are highlighted within media reporting. This is important as it will reinforce community standards around drinking habits.

“A major opportunity will be to further showcase our innovative work and the way in which DrinkWise contributors and members – AHA, Aldi, Accolade, Bacardi-Martini Australia, Beam Suntory, Brewers’ Association of Australia, Brown-Forman, Campari, Coca-Cola Amatil, CUB, Coles Liquor, Coopers, Diageo, Endeavour Drinks Group, Lion, Pernod Ricard, Retail Drinks Australia, Spirits & Cocktails Australia, Treasury Wine Estates and WFA – are demonstrating their commitment to a safer and healthier drinking culture in Australia.”

Additionally Strahan said that he was very proud of all the amazing work that the small DrinkWise team has been able to produce and that the community and consumers are understanding the messages.

“I am really proud to be leading such a dynamic organisation,” he said. “Despite our small team, we have an extensive national reach and initiatives such as The Internet Remembers continues our track record of innovative behavioural change campaigns that provide those Australians who choose to drink with actionable reminders of the benefits of moderation.

“As evidenced through the [falling consumption] trends, the community is increasingly recognising the importance of moderation when drinking to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. This is a positive and substantial shift, with moderation now the expected behaviour – and the only acceptable behaviour.

“With consumers expecting industry producers to promote moderation, a collaborative approach to including the DrinkWise Get the Facts website logo on product packaging, advertising collateral and event marketing materials will assist consumers to search for and access consumption-related health advice.”

This article was written for the 2019 National Liquor News Annual Industry Leaders Forum published in February.

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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