In 1991, a polling company surveyed Americans about the spirits industry. Among the questions:
Q: Should the spirits industry be actively involved in reducing alcohol misuse?
A: Only 10% said yes.
And how you can join the movement for the next 30 years.
But alcohol misuse was a big problem — much bigger than today. That’s why leading distillers came together to put the country on a better course. Americans may not have thought companies needed to play an active role, but distillers knew they had a higher obligation.
So 30 years ago, Responsibility.org was born. The foundation is funded by leading distillers, and its mission is three-fold;
- To eliminate underage drinking,
- To eliminate drunk driving and work with others to end all impaired driving,
- And to empower adults to make a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices.
Though funded by distillers, its programming is guided by a National Advisory Board of experts from fields like education, criminal justice, health, traffic safety, law enforcement and others. Through powerful partnerships, the organization brings together the private sector, nonprofits, government, teachers, parents, celebrities, and other community leaders around a common goal.
That collaboration has produced results. Drunk driving fatalities have declined 36% since 1991. In 1991, 80% of American teens had consumed alcohol at least once in their lifetime. By 2020, that dropped to 44%. Binge drinking among American youth has declined nearly 50% in that time and decreased 24% among college students. Currently 87% of American adults self-report that they are confident they drink responsibly.
And what about that poll question? Today, more than six in 10 American adults believe the distilled spirits industry can make a positive contribution in the fight against drunk driving, reducing underage drinking, and encouraging responsible consumption.
Those results are worth celebrating — and as Responsibilty.org marks its 30th anniversary, the group is doing just that. But it’s not looking backward; it’s looking forward. For all the progress that has been made, there are new challenges on the horizon.
For example, underage drinking lessons now need to also address cannabis use. The threat of multi-substance impaired driving is one that needs greater focus from law enforcement, health professionals, and governments. A host of new technologies can be harnessed to reduce impaired driving.
Responsibility.org is focused on building new partnerships and strengthening existing ones to tackle these emerging challenges. Craft distillers can be part of the movement. Responsibility.org has a host of programs that help distillers promote responsibility and fight underage drinking and drunk driving.
An even healthier, safer and more responsible future is possible when we all work together. That’s what the past 30 years have proven, and that’s what the next 30 years will show. Learn more about building the future of alcohol responsibility together at Responsibility.org.