New global standard for online sale of alcohol introduced to support responsible drinking

GLOBAL – A new global standard for the online sale and delivery of alcoholic beverages has been launched by major stakeholders in the industry as part of efforts towards promoting responsible drinking among consumers globally.

The stakeholders involved in the project include 12 leading beer, wine, and spirits companies that form the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) and 14 prominent global and regional online retailers, and e-commerce and delivery platforms.

IARD says that the international initiative is focused on supporting consumers’ increasing demands for greater convenience with enhanced standards of responsibility to prevent sale to those underage and to reduce harmful drinking.

As part of the new standard, stakeholders will be required to improve safeguards and security measures that aim to prevent minors from being able to buy alcohol.

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The new standard also requires putting in place mechanisms to prevent beer, wine, and spirits being delivered to minors, to individuals showing visible signs of intoxication, or where prohibited by law.

Providing tools, information, and education, or other support to drivers to empower them to deny delivery; and enhancing consumer information and control are the other major requirements of the new standard.

The launch of the new standard comes at a time when there is an acceleration in the shift to e-commerce with the sale and delivery of alcohol online increasing by 33% globally, according to Euromonitor.

Data from the market research firm further indicate that in the U.S., e-commerce grew by more than 100% with Brazil and Canada seeing growth rates of more than 300%.

All these figures underscore the important role that e-commerce is playing in the sale of alcoholic beverages and the need for a standard to regulate the sector.

“This partnership reflects the shared determination of leading alcohol producers, online retailers and e-commerce platforms to combat the harmful use of alcohol in all its forms,” Albert Baladi, President and CEO of Beam Suntory and Chair of IARD CEO Group, said.

“These global safeguards for alcohol e-commerce cover the entire online purchase journey – starting from the moment a consumer begins the purchase process and travelling all the way through to the moment of delivery, helping ensure these orders don’t reach underage individuals or visibly intoxicated people.”

In an earlier report, IARD released a report showing that alcohol sales declined 6% globally during the pandemic as most consumers consumed the same or less alcohol in 2020.

However, despite reductions in global sales volumes, IARD notes that there is emerging data that indicates certain groups already drinking at harmful levels intensified these risky patterns in the past year.

The non-profit organization noted this emerging data underscores a need for targeted support for those who have struggled the most during the pandemic.

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