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Liquor retailers across the country are being extra vigilant around younger customers, as the schoolies season officially kicked off over the weekend.

Schoolies, the annual period where school-leavers celebrate finishing high school, began on Friday. As the 2021 season began, the industry has rallied behind DrinkWise’s schoolies campaign, which encourages responsible consumption for young people and links in with other positive industry initiatives.

The long running campaign has seen broad participation from the industry this year, according to Retail Drinks CEO, Michael Waters.  

“We are proud to once again support and partner with DrinkWise on their annual Schoolies Campaign, which has been running since 2015,” he said.

“Retail Drinks and our members are committed to the responsible promotion, sale and supply of alcohol beverage products, and the Schoolies campaign aligns with our Industry Responsibility commitment and other various initiatives, including Choose to DrinkWise, ID25, Don’t Buy It For Them and our Online Alcohol Sale and Delivery Code of Conduct.

“Retail Drinks thanks our members, including Endeavour Group, Coles Liquor, our banner members Independent Brands Australia, Independent Liquor Retailers, Liquor Legends, Liquor Marketing Group and Liquor Stax Australia, and in particular the many independently owned and operated liquor stores across key parts of the country for stepping up to support this important annual campaign.

“We understand that over 700 liquor stores are participating in the DrinkWise Schoolies campaign this year, which is the best result ever being an increase of more than 200 stores, and we look forward to even more members participating next year.”

DrinkWise CEO, Simon Strahan, spoke about the importance of this year’s schoolies campaign, especially after such a challenging year for many school-leavers.

“With over a third of Year 12s not feeling connected to those around them during 2021, it is natural that they will now want to experience some newfound freedom and celebrate the end of school. However, after such a hard year enduring restrictions, home schooling and missed events, we’d encourage school leavers not to waste the opportunity to reconnect with friends. If of legal age and choosing to drink, only do so in moderation and make sure you’re looking out for your friends and keeping everyone safe,” Strahan said.

One of the retailers that is part of the DrinkWise campaign is Endeavour Group, which has noted it will be cracking down on any attempts to access alcohol from minors, as well as emphasising responsible drinking for those of age, in a refreshed schoolies program this year. This has been rolled out over almost 250 stores, 50 ALH hotels and the e-commerce side of the business, including delivery drivers.

“We always refuse service if we believe an adult is purchasing alcohol on behalf of a minor, and during schoolies season our store teams and security guards will be on high alert,” said Endeavour Group Managing Director Steve Donohue.

“Through our store and hospitality teams we are closely connected to the communities we serve, and by working closely with local communities across the country, we have been able to identify which venues and retail stores to focus on this schoolies season.”

Part of Endeavour Group’s approach with DrinkWise is to display decals around the store which include QR codes that young people can scan to experience an augmented reality scenario. The scenario, which says ‘The internet remembers, so drink properly,’ illustrates the unwanted outcome of excessive consumption and the importance of responsible drinking during schoolies.

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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