Oregon Partnership: Advertising Happy Hour Bad Idea

Oregon Partnership’s Pete Schulberg testified at yesterday’s OLCC hearing on a proposed rule that would relax advertising on happy hours:

Just last week, I was here for the hearing on the liquor store advertising rule change.  My focus then…and as it is now for the rule change on happy hour….is that advertising of alcohol is at an all-time high.  That advertising of hard liquor is more pervasive and effective than ever.

And we certainly appreciate how the economy is impacting bars and restaurants.  And it’s tough not to be sympathetic to the folks trying to operate a successful business and employing local folks.  But enticing or luring people with cheaper drinks through advertising is something Oregon Partnership opposes.

It is an inducement to heavier consumption and all the problems and expense that come with it.  More DUI’s.  More domestic abuse…more accidents…more health hazards.

As I said at last week’s hearing, there is study after study that show the direct correlation between the amount of alcohol advertising and how often and how much young people drink.  And that’s why some states – Illinois is a good example – that disallows establishments to lower alcohol prices at certain times of the day or night.

Those most sensitive to price reduction are young and underage drinkers….and problem drinkers.

For all those reasons, Oregon Partnership is against the concept of happy hour, and we certainly oppose the advertising of it. 

Oregon Partnership’s position is in support of advertising food specials but we oppose the advertising of discounted drinks, drink specials, temporary price reductions, and prices of alcoholic drinks period.

And we understand the proposed rule does ban happy hour advertising when it does include a specified time period along with prices and price reductions.  But that, after all,  is what happy hour is.  And so because of that, we object to the promotion of it.

We have no objection to an establishment posting the menu with prices in the window or on the premises of the establishment.  That’s consumer information, not advertising.

There are enough ways now– more than ever – for consumers to find bargains, find out prices, and get deals – on happy hour without loosening rules that are already in place for a reason.

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