Too much of television beer advertising is aimed at young adults and glamorizes alcohol - as if beach parties and fun are somehow synonymous with beer.
But that may change if U.S. Surgeon General Antonia Novello has her way. For starters, she wants breweries to stay out of the "spring break" bacchanalias among college students that are starting to become prevalent at beachfront towns.The revelry frequently turns into drunken brawls that tie up large numbers of law enforcement people, cause damage and feature immoral behavior as students cast off self-restraint.
Wisely, many major breweries are agreeing to go along. They see the drinking and brawling, which often include under-age youngsters, as a source of trouble for their companies. They say they are unfairly blamed for the rowdyism, so they are not going to set up promotional tents and displays at beachfronts this year.
One might argue over whether it is "unfair" to hold breweries responsible in some degree for drunken college youth. The industry tends to glamorize drinking and apparent college-age models are used in beer advertising. The idea of being watched by the U.S. Surgeon General may be a stronger influence on brewers than a newly discovered sense of social responsibility.
Beer is a major problem on college campuses. The average college student spends more money on beer than on books, alcohol is a factor in 21 percent of all dropouts, most college students drink more beer than anything else - an annual average of 34 gallons each - and alcohol is a leading cause of death among young adults. Contrary to what some apologists for the brewers might like young people to think, beer is very much an alcoholic drink.
Under the circumstances, the beer industry would do well to stop targeting students any time of the year and not just during spring break.