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    Booze Blues for Underage Drinkers

    Nearly all retailers use ID-checking materials to help prevent alcohol sales to teens, according to survey.

    ST. LOUIS -- "No Sale." That’s the message retailers across the country are sending to teens who try to purchase alcohol. A new survey conducted by Anheuser-Busch reveals that sellers of alcohol are doing their part to help prevent underage drinking: The findings show that 97 percent of retailers use ID-checking materials to help prevent sales to teens, and 91 percent of retailers say the materials are effective in stopping underage sales.

    "It’s encouraging to see that today’s teens are making responsible choices and that underage drinking continues to decline. The role of retailers in checking IDs is a very important part of that success," said John Kaestner, vice president of consumer affairs at Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. "Individuals who serve or sell alcohol beverages are really the front line in preventing underage sales."

    According to the Partnership for a Drug Free America, all measures of teen alcohol use decreased significantly from 1998 to 2004. Additionally, the percentage of high-school seniors who reported having a drink in the last 30 days is down 31 percent since 1982, according to the University of Michigan’s 2004 "Monitoring the Future" study.

    To assist retailers in spotting fake IDs, Anheuser-Busch distributes drivers’ license booklets that feature photos of valid drivers’ licenses from all 50 states. The survey showed that these types of books are the most-used item by on-premise retailers, with 58 percent incorporating them as part of their underage-drinking prevention efforts. Static-cling door decals that remind customers they will be asked to show a valid ID when purchasing alcohol beverages are the most popular item at off-premise accounts, used by 73 percent of those retailers.

    Anheuser-Busch and its network of more than 600 wholesalers across the country provide retailers with a variety of educational materials to help train their staffs on how to properly check IDs, as well as point-of-sale reminders for customers purchasing alcohol beverages. This includes cards that list tips on how to spot fake IDs, age-verification calendars reminding clerks how old individuals must be to legally purchase alcohol and for bars and special events and wristbands that identify individuals who have shown a valid I.D. "We I.D." cooler door stickers, change mats and posters let patrons know they will be carded.

    To complete the survey, the Anheuser-Busch Customer Relationship Group conducted 300 telephone interviews with managers or owners of on- and off-premise accounts nationwide who carry Anheuser-Busch products. Other findings from the survey revealed that 60 percent of off-premise retailers use posters, drivers’ license books, cooler stickers, calendars and posters.

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