The ill effects of underage drinking are usually focused on the society and are always handled on a personal level. However, business owners are also greatly affected by underage drinking as much as society is. Underage drinking is not a new concept as it has been debated about for several years. Young adults below 21 years of age are the alcohol industry’s most critical market. This is the age where binge drinking is common and alcohol-related businesses profit more from these people who drink five or more drinks in a day.
Further more, those who have started to drink before they were 15 years old are more likely to become habitual drinkers in the future – therefore the alcohol industry tend to invest a lot on this demographic. The government had realized the danger of letting children drink at a very young age and so they moved to create the National Minimum Drinking Age Act that mandates a person to reach 21 years of age for his or her to buy alcohol legally. Thus, 21 years old is the legal age to drink.
Businesses related to alcohol distribution and retail, such as pubs, clubs, and even convenience stores were the ones most affected by this legislation as it slashed as much as 25% on sales revenues alone, not to mention the added liabilities they are exposed to. This also doesn’t include the training and new set of policies they have to implement on the workplace to ensure that they function within the bounds of law. Despite this development, these businesses, led by big alcohol producers embark upon new marketing strategies to regain the loss generated by the National Minimum Drinking Age Act imposed by the government.
Advertising on tri-media, namely print, radio, and television are embarked upon, with the discreet aim to get to teenagers as much as to adult consumers. The government is wary about targeted alcohol and tobacco advertising to the youth so the alcohol industry has to be creative in their marketing strategy. And fortunately enough, these businesses were able to somehow recover the loss sustained from the years following the implementation of National Minimum Drinking Age Act. In 2000, studies have shown that, in the demographic of underage drinkers alone, as much as $22.
5 billion dollars was earned from the said category. But no matter how profitable underage drinking is in the market, businesses should not focus on selling to them, as there are a number of harmful effects on alcohol to teenagers. Alcohol is dangerous and frequently deadly for the youth in general. Businesses should stop marketing to teens and instead, focus more on young professionals aged 21 years old and above who consequently, have better capabilities to buy their product. However, the government should be sensitive enough to the financial effects of refusing sale to underage drinkers.
If businesses will refuse sales to youth aged below 21 years old then they stand to lose 17. 5% in sales. To address this issue, government should continuously implement a special rewards and compensation program that pays small businesses who contentiously complies with the National Minimum Drinking Age directive. Youths should also be aware of the unpleasant physical, psychological, and social effects of underage drinking. Youths should be responsible enough to understand that the law is not created to leash them and take away their rights. Instead, it is there to protect them and promote a healthier society.