Asia Brewers Network

Global alcohol producers launch standards for online sales

7th June 2021

The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), a not-for-profit organization consisting of some of the world’s largest alcohol producers, has launched a global standard initiative for online sale and delivery of alcohol as e-commerce booms during the covid-19 pandemic.

The organization, which claim AB Inbev, Diageo, Heineken and Bacardi among it’s members, is dedicated to reducing harmful drinking and promoting the understanding of responsible drinking.

These proposed new global standards enhance safeguards to prevent online alcohol sale and delivery to those underage or intoxicated, and where prohibited by law.

This international initiative is focused on supporting consumers’ increasing demands for greater convenience with enhanced standards of responsibility to prevent sale to those underage and to reduce harmful drinking.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of hospitality venues in most countries throughout 2020 resulted in global alcohol sales volumes declining by more than 6% year on year in 2020, a recent Euromonitor International report indicated there has been an acceleration in the shift to e-commerce with the sale and delivery of alcohol online increasing by 33% globally. In Vietnam e-commerce grew by 125%, the USA saw a 133% rise with other countries round the world seeing growth of more than 300% (Brazil/Canada).

In response to this trend, a global partnership of the 12 leading beer, wine, and spirits companies that form the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) and 14 prominent global and regional online retailers, and e-commerce and delivery platforms have identified five key safeguards to help ensure that robust standards are in place throughout the entire supply chain and customer journey to combat harmful drinking.

The standards outlined in the document launched today include:

  • Improving safeguards and security measures that aim to prevent minors from being able to buy alcohol
  • Putting in place mechanisms to prevent beer, wine, and spirits being delivered to minors, to individuals showing visible signs of intoxication, or where prohibited by law
  • Providing tools, information, and education, or other support to drivers to empower them to deny delivery
  • Enhancing consumer information and control
  • Promoting global standards as a resource to support the development of national level codes and practices for the online sale and delivery of alcohol that build on local and national regulation

The full details of the standards can be found here.

Albert Baladi, President and CEO of Beam Suntory and Chair of IARD CEO Group, said: “This partnership reflects the shared determination of leading alcohol producers, online retailers and e-commerce platforms to combat the harmful use of alcohol in all its forms.

“These global safeguards for alcohol e-commerce cover the entire online purchase journey – starting from the moment a consumer begins the purchase process and travelling all the way through to the moment of delivery, helping ensure these orders don’t reach underage individuals or visibly intoxicated people.”

Alcohol retailers who have signed up to this new responsible alcohol delivery initiative include Coles in Australia, HipBar in India and Grab in Southeast Asia.

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Asia Brewers Network

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