Industry News

PAUSE and learn about Brown-Forman’s Responsibility Program

Brown-Forman’s PAUSE

Mar. 5, 2020

“Please enjoy responsibly” has been a footnote on alcoholic products and advertising campaigns for as long as anyone can remember. However, today’s responsibility programming is becoming much more thoughtful and personal than simply a slogan or a few buzzwords.

At Breakthru Beverage, we champion actionable responsibility initiatives, as we’ve highlighted the importance of moderation, as well as advised our customers to develop a comprehensive spirit-free cocktail program. Responsibility isn’t just altruism, it’s also good business, ensuring that your customers have positive memories of your establishment, which creates customer loyalty.

Brown-Forman recently launched a new campaign called PAUSE with the intention of elevating responsibility, raising awareness, and inspiring more action from their employees. Through PAUSE, Brown-Forman is actively creating a responsible drinking culture to reduce alcohol-related harm, promote moderate consumption, respect the choice of not drinking, and ensure responsible marketing of their brands.

We spoke with Taylor Amerman, Brown-Forman’s Global Alcohol Responsibility Manager, about her work with PAUSE and the impact it is having.


Can you tell us a little bit about the genesis of the PAUSE program?
Taylor Amerman: Sure! Brown-Forman has been committed to alcohol responsibility since the inception of the company, so being committed to this is not new. We wanted to do two things. We wanted to raise awareness for alcohol responsibility, and we wanted to inspire more action from our employees, and to do that, we can't just say “responsibility” because it had been overused. People thought it was boring, a legal mandate. It just wasn't inspiring to achieve those two goals.

We also believe that in order to create a responsible drinking culture, which is our big goal, it has to start with us and it has to start with our employees, because we can't expect anyone else to do this if we can't do it ourselves, so the PAUSE campaign was originally created as an internal campaign but since then, it has been adopted in a variety of ways.


Treats at a PAUSE event

What are some of the things that you've seen internally at Brown-Forman in terms of the reaction to PAUSE and how people have either adopted it or put it in motion?
People like it because it's empowering, that it's not the company mandating or telling them that they have to adhere to something. I think they find it really easy to understand and find it relatable, but also it can be tailored to their own situation. People are telling me, "Taylor, I'm pausing." The word itself has really latched on. People are telling me, "Oh, my gosh. I told my family. I told my kids about PAUSE." People look at the concept as empowering, not as a negative. They’re saying "You know what? I did pause before I ordered another drink. I paused and had some water.”

PAUSE events 

One of the things that we're seeing at Breakthru is that younger generations, as they come of drinking age, are making more thoughtful choices around consumption. Have you seen PAUSE adopted by younger people, both inside and outside of Brown-Forman?
It's absolutely being adopted by the younger generations, and people are telling others about it. I would say for younger folks of drinking age it comes more naturally or they're already doing it. I think it helps them make the decisions that they already want to make without feeling like they have to do something to fit in. I think it's relating to all generations because it's about people.

This work is not about alcohol. It's about people and the reasons they choose to drink if they do choose to drink. We just want that to be if they choose to drink that it's for fun, it's to connect with others, bring people together, enhance. We say enrich the experience of life. We never want it to be to cope, to escape, or any negative reasons that people would choose to drink.

What advice do you have for industry professionals to promote the PAUSE initiative?
There is not a single solution for any of these big issues that we deal with, but I firmly believe that small actions can change a culture and change what is expected and change social norms related to the consumption of alcohol, so every little action matters, such as ordering a water or calling a rideshare. All these little actions can make a difference, so if we all just take a moment and pause, we can make the best decisions for our companies, for our coworkers, for our families and for ourselves.

You can learn more about PAUSE and Brown-Forman’s commitment to responsibility at