The Alcohol Industry

The Alcohol IndustryThis is an excellent factsheet produced by the Institute of Alcohol Studies looking at the alcohol industry (and as mapped here by IOGT).

This factsheet provides an overview of the alcohol industry:

  • Defines the different elements of the industry – raw materials suppliers, distributors and wholesalers, vendors and suppliers/contractors – but most significantly alcohol producers
  • Identifies the leading alcohol companies in the UK and globally and maps out how the industry has consolidated in recent years
  • Describes business models and identifies key commercial strategies of alcohol companies

As well as making and selling alcohol, many participants in the alcohol industry seek to influence politics and society in different ways. (see the image at the bottom of this post for an excellent example of this!) This fact sheet also looks at five ways in which the alcohol industry exercises this influence:[*]

  1. Constituency building
  2. Policy substitution
  3. Information and messaging
  4. Financial incentives
  5. Trade and litigation

Click on links below to view each section of the factsheet online:

Or click on the image below to download the entire factsheet as a PDF (updated April 2016):


[*] Savell, E. et al (2016), How does the alcohol industry attempt to influence marketing regulations? A systematic review, Addiction 111:1, pp. 18–32

This report is in direct contrast to the memes that are peddled on social media such as this one:

hangover free pricelessI would argue that a hangover and the drinking that caused it is costly to both our health, finances and society and destroys not enhances memories.  For me it is being sober and the freedom it brings from alcohol addiction that is is priceless – and I did say just that in this post here :)

The alcohol industry wants us to think that their product is harmless and enhances life when we know that for many that is the antithesis of the truth as this blog amply illustrates by sharing all the news and personal stories that counter that illusion.  It makes me so bloody angry the damage that images like this one create – making people who can’t manage alcohol feel broken and feeding their addiction further.  Just so dangerous 🙁

Edited to add 3rd July

Here’s a different approach! 😉

“Our products can make you ugly, fat, and unhappy” — alcohol marketing in Sweden

How timely is this!?  The fight back by the industry on the new drinking guidelines via lobbying of MP’s and the Chief Medical Officer as indicated in the parliamentary debate notes:

Alcohol Consumption Guidelines Westminster Debate

The chief medical officer had a successful meeting with the Portman Group yesterday

Plus their meme is fictional – this is the reality ……..

More than a million alcohol-related hospital admissions in 2014-15

There were an estimated 1.09 million hospital admissions2 3 for which an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for admission or a secondary diagnosis, in 2014-15, compared to 1.06 million in 2013-14 | HSCIC, UK

Statistics on Alcohol, England, 2016 [NS]

This statistical report presents a range of information on alcohol use and misuse drawn together from a variety of sources. The report aims to present a broad picture of health issues relating to alcohol use and misuse in England and covers topics such as drinking habits and behaviours among adults (aged 16 and over) and school children (aged 11 to 15); drinking-related ill health and mortality; affordability of alcohol; alcohol-related admissions to hospital; and alcohol-related costs | HSCIC, UK

Alcohol-related deaths in England up 4% in one year

Local government body shocked by figures that show almost 1.1m diseases or injuries linked to drinking were recorded between 2013-14 and 2014-15 | Guardian, UK

4 thoughts on “The Alcohol Industry

    1. Hey Wendy Thanks for sharing that news coverage! Good god it’s depressing isn’t it? 🙁 xx

  1. so much here Lou – some points that stood out for me in particular were:

    – the very high proportion that marketing makes up of the costs of the alcohol industry – 15% is a vast sum (if only 50% of that were spent on recovery programmes demand for their products would be significantly impacted!)

    – that reference to marketing cheaper products to the ‘global poor’ was especially chilling 🙁

    – loved Diane Abbott in the debate! hope she didn’t get a headache after banging it on that brick wall 😉

    – that was a really interesting graphic showing the big players in the global industry. it’d probably be impossible to generate but I’d love to see an equivalent for where and when alcohol is actually consumed… not just the split between on and off licence but by location and event, and how that has changed over the last few decades.

    how much is consumed in the home? at theatres? at sporting events? in restaurants and bars? I think making it more socially acceptable to drink in any location is a huge root of our problem as a society with the drug of alcohol. e.g. I know there wasn’t wine available to parents at primary school concerts when I was growing up.

    lots of love to you! xxx

    1. I know what you mean Prim about Diane Abbott and the debate – jeez Louise! Show’s what we’re up against ……. 🙁 Love to you too xx

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