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  • Writer's pictureVik F.

Industry Coalition Commits to Responsible Sales of Crossover Alcohol Products

Major industry associations have joined forces to ensure the responsible marketing and merchandising of crossover alcohol products. The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), FMI – The Food Industry Association, and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) have all come together for this important initiative. Their goal is to make sure these innovative products are clearly marketed, avoiding any confusion, and are only sold to adults of legal drinking age.

Crossover alcohol products are unique because they use the branding and intellectual property of non-alcoholic products. While these offerings are gaining popularity, it’s essential to differentiate them from their non-alcoholic counterparts to prevent any potential confusion among consumers.

Here are the key responsibilities outlined by the coalition:

For Suppliers:

  • Follow Advertising Codes: Suppliers must adhere to established industry advertising codes to ensure responsible marketing practices.

  • Distinct Packaging: Packaging and branding must be clearly distinguishable from non-alcoholic versions.

  • Clear Labeling: Labels should clearly state that the product contains alcohol, including the type and alcohol content by volume.

  • Target Adults: Marketing efforts should primarily target legal drinking age adults, avoiding any appeal to those under 21.

For Wholesalers and Retailers:

  • Proper Placement: Crossover alcohol products should be placed with other alcoholic beverages, not near non-alcoholic counterparts, to avoid confusion.

  • Child-Safe Displays: Products should not be displayed near items that appeal to children, such as toys.

  • Clear Signage: If products can’t be placed according to guidelines, clear signage must indicate that the product contains alcohol.

  • Employee Training: Staff should be trained on responsible sales practices, including checking IDs to confirm the buyer’s legal drinking age. Retailers might also implement software reminders at checkout.

  • Chris Swonger, President and CEO of DISCUS, highlighted the coalition’s unified approach: "This commitment brings together all three tiers – suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers – reinforcing our dedication to responsibly advertise, market, and merchandise these products." Francis Creighton, President and CEO of WSWA, added, "This commitment will play an important role in standardizing responsible merchandising and marketing practices throughout the country."

Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO of FMI, emphasized the importance of clear information for consumers, especially with innovative new products entering the market. Henry Armour, President and CEO of NACS, underscored their commitment to reducing consumer confusion and ensuring customers are aware of which products contain alcohol.

This coalition’s commitment is a big step forward in maintaining the integrity of the alcohol industry while embracing innovation. By following these guidelines, the industry aims to create a safer and more transparent marketplace for consumers.

For clients in the beer, wine, and spirits industry, this commitment highlights the importance of responsible marketing and provides a framework for introducing crossover alcohol products that prioritize consumer safety and clarity. As this initiative moves forward, it will set a benchmark for future efforts in responsible alcohol sales and marketing. Responsible sales of crossover alcohol products



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