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The alcohol market is growing. Many people do not drink, not because they have something against alcohol, but simply because they do not like the taste of alcohol. However, it seems that alcohol manufacturers are trying to expand their target market by breaking new ground to attract more customers.
Just last summer, a drink called "White Claw" was the rage. White Claw is essentially flavored alcoholic seltzer water. Apparently I was more than a little behind in time with alcohol innovations because I envisioned a novel by Jack London as a new alcoholic beverage.
So I digged a bit and found that White Claw is not the only innovation in the diversification of alcohol. Alcoholic juices, cider and sodas are now easily found on the shelves of grocery stores. Even coffee enriched with alcohol is becoming increasingly popular. For me, it seems to be the aspiration of the alcohol industry to expand its target group, to attract more customers and to turn people who do not drink normally into people who are definitely drinking now. Alcohol companies are developing new drinks and trying to turn Americans into customers who are otherwise sober.
But what does that mean for the health of the nation?
New twists in the same old story
Alcohol manufacturers are developing new products, but that's nothing new. While these drinks taste good, they can change with the marketing. All kinds of alcohol, even if they look and taste different, have the same effect on those who consume it, eg. etc.
In recent years, the market for used alcohol has increased significantly. Instead of just trying to sell beer, wine and spirits, alcohol manufacturers are broadening their product offering to attract a potential customer base that does not like the taste of beer, wine or spirits.
In recent years, one of the products has been fiercely competitive with a buzz in sales and consumption. The sale and use of hard sodas and juices have also increased. Even alcoholic cider, which is traditionally considered a seasonal beverage, has seen an increase in annual sales and consumption.
While these new products can improve the company's bottom line, they barely help those who are addicted to alcohol. Instead, the alcohol companies are diversifying, trying out new things and trying to open up new markets and interest more people in drinking.
However, this is not necessarily the right course of action, especially given the size of the alcohol problem in our country.
Alcohol Risk – A Look at the Statistics
It does not take much reading and research to see how much our country is struggling with alcohol. A quick look at some of the statistics directly cited by the National Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Institute (NIAAA) shows us just how hard this problem has become:
"In 2017, 26.4 percent of people aged 18 and over said they had alcohol excesses last month. 6.7 percent said they had consumed a lot of alcohol last month. "
According to the National Drug Use and Health Survey (NSDUH) of 2017, 14.1 million adults over the age of 18 (5.7 percent of this age group) had AUD [Alcohol Use Disorder]. Among them are 9.0 million men (7.5 percent of men in this age group) and 5.1 million women (4.0 percent of women in this age group). "
"An estimated 88,000 people (about 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die annually from alcohol-related causes. Alcohol is the third most preventable cause of death in the United States. The first is tobacco, and the second is poor nutrition and lack of exercise. In 2014, 9,967 people died from alcohol-related road deaths (31 percent of all road deaths). "
"In 2010, alcohol abuse cost the US $ 249.0 billion. Three quarters of the total cost of alcohol abuse is related to alcohol excesses. "
The NIAAA study discusses how alcohol consumption costs the US hundreds of billions of dollars annually, and that most of these costs are caused by alcohol abuse. In addition, the study addresses the family implications of alcohol abuse and cites the fact that more than ten percent of US children live with a parent who has an alcohol problem.
Profits Without Responsibility Magic Disaster
As the alcohol market continues to expand, a significant part of the responsibility for preventing alcohol addiction lies not only with the companies that generate profits, but also with the American people. We need to be educated and informed about the harmful effects of drinking. When we recover from drug or alcohol addiction, we should not drink at all.
And alcohol companies even offer a non-alcoholic option for people who like the taste of alcoholic beverages but do not want to consume alcohol. An article in Esquire lists options for delicious drinks that contain no alcohol.
As far as diversification and focus on a broader customer base is concerned, I would like alcohol companies to make more effort to offer more non-alcoholic options.
Seeking Help for an Alcohol Problem
If you know someone who is struggling with an alcohol problem, you need to help him get to a hospital treatment center as soon as possible. Alcohol consumption can be a matter of life or death. We know that from the 88,000 people who die every year from alcohol-related causes. Do not let your loved one become a statistic. Residential, long-term drug and alcohol treatment centers offer the safest and most successful programs to help people get rid of the addiction.
Tested by Claire Pinelli, ICAADC, CCS, LADC, RAS, MCAP