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Underage drinking is a community problem

Help in addressing this issue is available from Humes Distributing

December 20, 2009
Messenger News

At Humes Distributing, we don't want anyone consuming our products illegally - ever. Not only because underage drinking reflects badly on our business, but also because we're parents too - sharing the same concerns as every other parent about these issues. Like all parents, we want to help our children make smart choices - from resisting negative peer pressure, to respecting the law, to avoiding underage drinking. We know that underage drinking is a serious issue, but we are encouraged by the tremendous progress that has been made through efforts like Anheuser-Busch's educational programs and rigorous enforcement of the law. Our company has made a long-standing commitment to be part of the solution to alcohol abuse problems by using the resources we have available.

One unique tool we have available to us is the Anheuser-Busch Speakers Bureau. This speakers bureau is comprised of eight talented speakers, each with their own message of responsibility and respect for the law. We recently started working with the Webster County Drug Free Alliance to bring in Anheuser-Busch's newest member, Sarah Panzau, to Fort Dodge to talk to our high school students.

Sarah grew up in Illinois where she fell in love with the sport of volleyball and became a star player. She was a member of several select club teams and was a three-year starter for her high school squad. In college, Sarah earned Freshman of the Year honors and was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association All-America team as an outside hitter.

Off the court, somewhere between life as a competitively driven high-school athlete and the early years of college, she began heading down a destructive path. In the fall of 2003, Sarah's car - and her life - spun out of control. With a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit, Sarah decided to drive home drunk, missed the highway exit and rolled her car four times. Without a seat belt, she was ejected through the rear window of her car, her left arm was torn from her body and she was thrown onto the roadway.

In 2005, Sarah became a member of the Anheuser-Busch Speakers Bureau. Today, injuries directly and indirectly related to the crash have forced Sarah to give up the sport she loves so much. Sarah is living proof that poor choices can have drastic consequences. Since the crash in 2003, her life has taken a new direction. Despite the pain that Sarah endures from her poor choices, she wants to share her message with as many people as possible and allow individuals to learn from her rather than learning the hard way - as she did. Sarah has reached many students with her messages about underage drinking, drunk driving, making smart choices, respecting parents and rising above disabilities. For more information about the Anheuser-Busch Speaker Bureau, please visit

In 1990, Anheuser-Busch introduced Family Talk About Drinking, a program developed by an advisory panel of authorities in the fields of education, family therapy and alcohol treatment, and through conversations with parents and teens. Recognizing that parents have the greatest influence on children's decisions about drinking, Family Talk is designed to help prevent underage drinking by encouraging open, honest communication between parents and children about this important subject. Family Talk is available free by calling Humes Distributing or by download on There are also free video rentals of Family Talk About Drinking available at local video rental outlets.

Another avenue to prevent underage drinking is our WE ID program. This program has many facets to show underage consumers that an account is serious about selling to legal adults only. In the participating off-premise segment, like grocery and convenience stores, we place stickers on the corners of all participating retail cooler doors and on the entry doors of retailer accounts. We also place change mats at the counter where the product will be purchased.

In our on-premise segment, we have digital clocks that display the day a person must be born before to be of legal age to consume our products. We also produce WE ID buttons for the servers to wear. All of these items are placed at the point of purchase for our beers. When an underage consumer enters an account and sees a WE ID sticker on the entry door and a WE ID button on the waitress, they know that they will not be able to purchase alcohol in this account. We also provide WE ID Drivers License Guides to law enforcement agencies and retailers who request them. These booklets have pictures and in-depth descriptions of licenses for all 50 states and assists ID checkers on spotting fake licenses.

We have partnered with Olde Boston's in downtown Fort Dodge to help provide an environment for the underage students at Iowa Central Community College to gather, participate and interact in an adult venue where there was no possibility of them acquiring alcohol. For their entertainment, Olde Boston's has indoor golf, pool, and open mic sessions. We provide Olde Boston's with WE ID buttons for all of the servers, WE ID posters on the walls of the bar area, a WE ID digital clock with the correct date for legal consumption and wristbands for legal customers. At Humes Distributing, we distribute a non-alcoholic energy drink called ''Monster Energy." This product is sold to the students of Iowa Central at a discounted price. The main goal of our partnership with Olde Boston's is to give the Iowa Central students an adult place to be that is serious about curbing underage drinking.

Our ''Prevent, Don't Provide'' program is our latest effort in the fight against underage drinking. According to a 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 62.2 percent of underage drinkers aged 12-20 acquired alcohol from adults such as parents, guardians, or other family members or unrelated adults. We use posters, cooler door clings and change mats to remind to adults that they have the power to help prevent underage drinking. Providing alcohol to minors is never a good idea. It is irresponsible, illegal and can have very serious consequences for the rest of their lives. Putting teens, inexperience and alcohol together is a recipe for disaster. Our "Prevent, Don't Provide" campaign encourages parents to ''be a parent, not a pushover."

During special events like the annual ''Shellabration'' concert in Fort Dodge, we work with the event promoters to make sure no minors are allowed to purchase our products. All legal-aged consumers must show proof of ident-ty to receive a wristband. Only consumers with wristbands are allowed to purchase alcohol. We provide wristbands to numerous concerts and festivals in our five-county market.

At Humes Distributing, we understand that more work needs to be done to curb underage drinking, but we are proud of our commitment to educate and bring our ''Responsibility Matters'' message to retail and the entire community.

Roger Brown is the sales manager at Humes Distributing Inc.



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