Church official urges stiffer beer regulation

Stiffer regulation of the sale of beer was advocated Sept. 20 by a Church spokesman to help "contain the rampant consumption, widespread availability, and epidemic problems" of the alcoholic beverage.

Richard P. Lindsay, managing director of Public Communications and Special Affairs for the Church, spoke at the annual meeting of the American Council on Alcohol Problems."Stiffer regulations over beer and its sale have had some success," Lindsay said. "From ball parks to beaches, new laws and rules have been slowly emerging to better control this beverage and its consequences."

Lindsay noted that the San Francisco Giants baseball team recently banned all beer vending in the stands of Candlestick Park. Although the move cost the team about $600,000 last season, the vice president of business operations said the "increase in good times had by all" was well worth the financial loss, Lindsay reported.

He mentioned that the New York State Assembly recently mandated that all professional stadiums and arenas in the state declare 6 percent of their seats alcohol-free, and that they disallow alcohol vending in another 15 percent of the seats.

City officials in Santa Cruz, Calif., began within the last two years to enforce a previous "alcohol-free beach" ordinance.

"And enforce it they did," Lindsay remarked. "The amount of brawls on one beach went down from 41 to six, allowing lifeguards more time to do their job, watching the swimmers and saving drowning children. Any money lost by the ban was well made up for by cash collected from fines and citations when the ordinance was broken."

Noting the pervasiveness of beer advertising on television during sporting events and prime-time telecasting, Lindsay said: "In 1986, 5.8 billion gallons of beer were consumed in the United States - 24.1 gallons for each member of the population. That's more than the per capita consumption of fruit juices, drink mixes, wine and distilled spirits combined! Production of malt beverages has more than doubled since 1960, from 95 billion barrels to 193 billion barrels in 1985."

Beer advertising - 73 percent of it on television last year - has more than doubled since 1980, Lindsay said.

"The majority of beer advertising is sports-related," he added.

"Even those who switch channels or go get a bite to eat during commercial breaks will not be able to escape the onslaught of beer ads during their favorite sporting event," Lindsay said.

Starting this year, the logo of one beer company will appear for about 15 seconds on the screen of each NBC-televised NFL game, reported Lindsay.

"This is just an example of how tight the connection is between suds and sports."

Lindsay quoted a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which showed that children between 2 and 18 in the United States view approximately 100,000 television beer commercials.

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