Hangovers suck, as does waking up with regrets the morning after drinking. That’s the message a Michigan-based grassroots organization, Better Drinking Culture (BDC), is using in an attempt to promote healthier attitudes towards drinking.
Jason Ley, CEO of Better Drinking Culture, claims that the common idioms “drink responsibly” and “don’t drink and drive” are not only outdated but are interpreted by many millennial drinkers as “drink as much as you want as long as you don’t drive.”
Does “Drink Responsibly” Promote Binge Drinking?
BDC presents itself as a “grassroots movement” of drinkers who want to change how Americans interact with alcohol by encouraging “choices that reduce [the] risk for addiction.” Last fall BDC stopped by at the Great American Beer Festival—one of the alcohol industry’s premier events—not to dissuade conventioneers from drinking, but to encourage drinkers to think quality over quantity.
Ley told The Denver Post, “We feel [younger drinkers] are actually missing the core issue, because even though you get yourself home … you are still going to wake up tomorrow with a hangover—you are still going to be affected with those negative consequences of drinking way too much.”
The CDC identifies binge drinking as five or more drinks on a single occasion, and moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women, two for men. It is easy to see how common binge drinking—and consequently, hangovers—are becoming at alcohol-fueled festivals.
And with craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries popping up all over the country, BDC believes that millennial alcohol connoisseurs see these locations and events as an opportunity to drink as much as they want as long as they have a safe way home, creating an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
Drinkers Confused By Alcohol Messaging
Research suggests that BDC may be on to something in its attempts to clarify messaging around drinking. Once the purview of public health and government organizations, “drink responsibly” is now a standard part of ads and campaigns by the alcohol industry. And combining advertising with social responsibility messaging is more likely to sow confusion among consumers.
A recent Australian study found that the vagueness of statements like “drink responsibly” and “know when to say when” make their meaning highly subjective. While the majority of drinkers in the study understood the messages were promoting moderation, the definition of “moderation” differed from person to person. And in some cases, people in the study thought phrases like “drink properly” actually meant to drink more or just drink different types of alcohol.
So is “hangovers suck” a clearer message? As part of its manifesto, BDC encourages “choices that reduce [the] risk for addiction” and pledges to “love, support, and respect all people regardless of their relationship with alcohol.” Though the organization is only two years old, Better Drinking Culture is creating buzz and gaining members that support healthy drinking habits that eliminate addiction, health issues, regret, and of course, hangovers.