Beer Distributor to Meet with Youth Group Over Disputed Warning Labels

A distributor of Anheuser-Busch products to New Hampshire grocery stores will meet in person with members of the Youth to Youth program on Aug. 18 to discuss a warning label campaign that led to a dispute between the youth group and distributor employees at two Dover locations, Foster's Daily Democrat reported Aug. 14.

New Hampshire Distributors Inc. says it would like to “get on the same page” with Youth to Youth about how best to warn parents of the dangers of underage drinking. The distributor believes that Anheuser-Busch's national campaign featuring signs at retail locations carries a more effective message than the stickers Youth to Youth affixes to beer packaging at retail locations once a year. On Aug. 12, three employees of the distributor confronted young people at two supermarkets, with the youths saying the employees tore the labels off beer bottles.

labelThe labels in question, which the youths have placed on the packaging with the stores' permission, read, “Your kid's next drink might be right next to the milk; Don't let your home be a place of temptation. Lock it, dump it, track it, or give it away.”

“The stickers are a short-term fix,” said Tyler Kelly, vice president of marketing for New Hampshire Beer Distributors. “Once they leave the store, they're out of the consumer's eye.”

Kelly said he did not confirm whether the distributor's employees actually removed the stickers from packaging that essentially is considered store property once it is delivered. But Dana Mitchell, prevention coordinator for the Dover Police Department, said that he received an apology from Kelly for the employees' conduct. Kelly characterized the incidents to the newspaper as a “conversation versus a confrontation.”

Coordinators of Youth to Youth said the additional attention they received turned out to help reinforce their message of combating youth drinking. In response to the incidents at the stores, about 50 members of the youth group staged a rally at which they chanted slogans such as, “The truth hurts Bud, but just relax. Sometimes we all get afraid of the facts.” 

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