Breakthru Health & Wellness Update: Tap into Moderation

Oct. 25, 2018

Tap Into Moderation

By Ethan Colchamiro, Digital Content Specialist, Breakthru Beverage Group

As leaves change color and temperatures dip in many parts of the country, the industry prepares for the hectic schedule of the October-November-December selling season (OND). While cooler temps may inspire a sip of spirits to warm up and toasts at holiday parties—maybe even several toasts—the last quarter of the year may be the most crucial for promoting responsible drinking, not only to consumers but within the industry as well. 

One of the industry’s most robust resources for moderation is the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility ( The Foundation has launched several initiatives with the goal of advancing responsible end-of-year celebrations, including #HolidayResponsibly and most recently, #ItStartsWithMe, a campaign focusing on making healthy decisions the last 90 days of the year. 

Encouraging consumers to get a head start on New Year’s Resolutions by making responsible decisions around alcohol and food consumption during OND, #ItStartsWithMe aims to save lives by tapping into the universal drive for self-improvement that starts January 1st and moving it forward a few months.

Chris Swonger, an industry veteran who was recently appointed President and CEO of the Foundation said in a statement, “I plan to vigorously promote moderation and responsibility while advocating for market access, equal treatment and common-sense policies that enable the continued growth of the distilled spirits industry.”

Another valuable tool offered by the Foundation is their Virtual Bar app, available from iTunes and Google Play. The Virtual Bar uses the latest science to educate consumers on how different factors may affect their blood-alcohol concentration – or BAC – depending on the food they eat, the water they drink throughout the night, and other important variables. It also helps give consumers a sense of how long it can take for their BAC to return to 0.00.

While encouraging customers to make better choices is always important, the industry is also making efforts to practice what they preach and look out for each other. Earlier this year, William Grant & Sons kicked off their Tales of the Cocktail event with a “spirited, yet spirit-free” party. Opening the country’s largest cocktail festival of the year without alcohol, and having it be a smashing success without getting anyone smashed, sent a message the industry can’t ignore. 


“This is something new for us, and I’m excited to be a part of an organization that looks at the big picture and sets trends,” said Charlotte Voisey, William Grant & Sons Director of Brand Advocacy. “It’s important for us to give bartenders – the backbone of the industry – a night before their seminars and social gatherings where the pressure to imbibe is lifted and meaningful conversations and relationships are forged.” 


Tray of shots including a non-alcoholic shot

Colleagues within the industry have experienced this trend on a more personal level. Sarah Docherty, Director of Food and Beverage for a metropolitan lifestyle brand hotel, recounted an experience she had celebrating with co-workers at an in-house event when she was six months pregnant. “They brought a tray of shots to our table, including a non-alcoholic shot for me,” Docherty recalled. “There were a few reasons that it meant so much to me as a non-drinker.  


“First, non-alcoholic options are typically limited to soda, juice, or maybe in a cocktail bar, a lime-heavy ginger drink,” Docherty said. “Non-drinkers still want the same experience as the drinker—the  same craft, skill, and beauty.”



Docherty continued, “Secondly, it was presented so well. It was inconspicuous, I was part of the group. Often taking a shot is a group activity. It is a way to toast or to celebrate! Rather than excluding me because I wasn’t imbibing, I got to be part of it without even asking for that consideration. Although I wasn’t drinking because I am pregnant, a lot of people are not drinking by choice. This can be a hard commitment when you feel like you are missing out or need to explain yourself to the server or bartender. I was included without having to talk about it or explain myself, which can be triggering to people and can cause them to give up.”

During her time as Director of Food and Beverage, Docherty implemented several policies rooted in responsibility.

“As the head of the Food and Beverage department I felt there was a responsibility on me to play my part in creating a professional workspace for all the staff and in turn the guests,” Docherty said. “As bar staff, it is our job to be able to identify people who have been over-served, people who are in danger, people who are vulnerable. Our patrons should be confident to go out and be in a safe environment.”  
As bar staff, it is our job to be able to identify people who have been over-served, people who are in danger, people who are vulnerable. Our patrons should be confident to go out and be in a safe environment.
Another revolutionary step Docherty made in advancing responsibility was presenting creative, spirit-free options on her menu that were as experiential as the alcoholic options. “Getting rid of the word ‘MOCKtail’ – a personal peeve of mine – and having interesting food options all allowed for an amazing experience out, with no pressure and full inclusivity.”

Breakthru Beverage is committed to promoting responsible service and consumption, and we salute these efforts, both national, consumer facing initiatives, and one-on-one interactions. 

For more information on supporting responsibility, please check out these online resources: 
Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
National Restaurant Association – Responsible Alcohol Service
Responsible Drinking


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