Beer Distributors Disrupt Youth Labeling Campaign

A New Hampshire youth group that annually conducts a campaign warning parents about youth drinking by affixing messages to alcohol products ran into resistance this year from a local beer distributor, Foster's Daily Democrat reported Aug. 13.

Members of the group Youth to Youth said that three distributors of Anheuser-Busch products accused them of destroying their products and attempted to stop the youths from placing warning messages on their products at two grocery store locations in Dover. The sticker being used in the organization's campaign depicts a milk carton and reads, “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.”

labelNew Hampshire Distributors Inc., which distributes Anheuser-Busch products to New Hampshire supermarkets, did not respond to an inquiry about the incidents, and managers at the Shaw's and Hannaford store locations where the confrontations occurred did not answer questions as well. The youths said they left both locations after realizing that their arguments weren't getting through to the beer distributors.

Merritt McLaughlin, one of the members of Youth to Youth, said the stores have always been supportive of the youth group's efforts, adding, “We were not being disrespectful to the brands; these stickers just tell parents to not let their kids drink alcohol.”

McLaughlin said the distributors at the two stores started tearing the stickers off the products, and one distributor claimed that the youth group's adult supervisor was underage – a claim contradicted by the prevention coordinator of the Dover Police Department.

The Police Department's Dana Mitchell commended the youths for remaining disciplined during the unexpected verbal confrontation. “They didn't argue with the guys,” Mitchell said. “They stood their ground and explained their case.”

Youth to Youth conducts an annual summer training program with 6th- and 7th-graders in the community, and includes in that effort a campaign to make parents more informed about how a child's home often serves as the site for his/her initiation to alcohol use.

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