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The Brewers of Europe release landmark report on advertising self regulation


01 Jun 2010


Health & Consumers

Brussels – 1 June 2010 – The Brewers of Europe last week launched a landmark report outlining the results of their commitment to the European Alcohol and Health Forum on advertising self-regulation across Europe. The report, written by the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) has been independently verified by KPMG Sustainability. It shows that progress has been made all over Europe. The Brewers of Europe are now committed to ensuring the ongoing review of advertising self-regulation systems to ensure they keep up to speed with the evolution of societal and cultural demands.

Backing The Brewers of Europe’s work, Robert Madelin, Director General, European Commission stated in the report’s foreword, “The Brewers have worked consistently and in consultation with the European Advertising Standards Alliance to deliver effective and credible self-regulation with progressively broader European coverage.”

Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, Secretary General at The Brewers of Europe:  “In 2007, Europe’s brewers made a commitment on self-regulation to the EU Alcohol & Health Forum. Today we see that Europe’s brewers have kept their promise: this independently-verified report illustrates the unprecedented efforts and substantial progress made by the European brewing sector, to ensure responsible beer advertising across Europe through self-regulation. This confirms our strong belief that advertising self-regulation is a sustainable complement to legislation.”

Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol.  The Brewers of Europe are happy to see the WHO recognises a role for advertising self-regulation and recognise also that it is their duty in the European brewing sector to show that advertising self-regulation works.  In this regard, the report is timely.

Responsible communications

In 2007, The Brewers of Europe set up a Europe-wide advertising self-regulation* initiative to empower national brewing associations across the EU into reviewing and optimising their advertising self-regulation systems.

This initiative was developed under the European Alcohol and Health Forum. The Brewers of Europe are one of the founding members and responsible for one third of the Forum’s commitments to action.

Europe-wide initiative

Europe’s brewers already had advertising self-regulation codes in place, but wished to ensure all these were operating within credible and effective advertising self-regulation systems. The setup and the scale of the advertising self-regulation initiative were unprecedented: The Brewers took the European Commission’s comprehensive best practice model and developed 7 Operational Standards, for the enhancement of advertising self-regulation systems and responsible beer communications in all the European countries.

The report released today demonstrates substantial progress made. Some examples:

·         Self-regulation systems were set up in countries where they did not exist before;

·         10 countries improved their complaints handling systems through further incorporation of independent elements;

·         Consumer awareness of advertising self-regulation systems was increased in 24 out of 27 countries;

·         26 countries have a complaints handling system in place with effective sanctions.

Work in progress

The report illustrates that substantial progress has been made. Moreover, the effectiveness of self regulation is increasingly recognised by the European Union and other policymaking bodies as an important and valid complementary regulatory option.

But The Brewers of Europe want to go further. They are committed to strengthening the self-regulation in place and adapting it to changing societal and cultural expectations as well as to the evolving media landscape, where online communication and social media are increasingly dominant and require attention.

Summing up today, the Secretary General of The Brewers of Europe said, “The Brewers of Europe are delighted that our approach to date has been validated by EASA (the advertising self-regulation experts), through the assurance statement from KPMG (the independent assurers) and the words of support from Robert Madelin (the regulator).”


*About advertising self-regulation

Advertising self-regulation is a system used by the brewing sector to communicate responsibly. The brewing sector is committed to having its ads judged by independent third parties. The main advantages of self regulation are that it is quick, flexible, free and accessible, and, independent. Advertising self-regulation is an example of ‘better regulation’ where existing national laws and self-regulation work hand in hand to respond quickly and efficiently to cultural and societal expectations.

About The Brewers of Europe

The Brewers of Europe, founded in 1958 and based in Brussels, is the voice of the European brewing sector towards the European institutions and international organisations. It has 27 members, comprising 24 national brewer associations from most EU Member States, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Among the roughly 4,000 brewers across Europe, the vast majority are small and medium-sized, local and family-run businesses. 2.5 million jobs are directly or indirectly linked to the European brewing sector.

For more information:

Niall Doheny

Head of Communications, The Brewers of Europe

Tel:  +32 (0)2 551 18 14 (direct)

Mobile:  +32 (0)497 97 67 65



Twitter:  @brewersofeurope

The report is available on the website of The Brewers of Europe,


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