Statement of Wine Retailers Opposing Proposed Anti-Alcohol Federal Dietary Guidelines

The following statement was issued by the Board of Directors of the National Association of Wine Retailers.

The recent Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee fundamentally and significantly changes the guidelines on alcohol consumption that have been in place for 30 years: Men should not consume more than 2 drinks per day, while women should consume no more than 1 drink per day.

The new report, which, if adopted, will be used as the basis for the Federal government’s official dietary guidelines, would decrease the recommended maximum amount of alcohol consumption for men by 50% to 1 drink per day. This new recommendation is unsupported by science and research. At least this much is admitted in the body of the new report when it states:

“Among those who drank alcohol, most studies found lower risk among men consuming within ranges up to 2 drinks per day and women consuming within ranges up to 1 drink per day compared to those consuming higher average amounts.”

Still, those who authored the alcohol beverage portion of this report insist that a “preponderance” of evidence suggests the guideline for men ought to be reduced to 1 drink per day. This “evidence” however seems to be based on one single study. It appears to the NAWR that there is much more at work here than reasonable recommendations based on a solid body of evidence. It appears to the National Association of Wine Retailers that a significant anti-alcohol agenda is at work in devising the proposed new guidelines on alcohol consumption.

The wine retailing and wine industry in general are accustomed to facing a neo-prohibitionist agenda from a wide circle of organizations. However, when the federal government gets into the business of pushing an anti-drinking agenda, doing so on thin evidence, attempting to pass it off as objective in its conclusions and even ignore the large body of evidence that moderate consumption of alcohol helps reduce both heart disease and stroke, NAWR and others begin to see real danger.

It is a near guarantee that once the federal government publishes “guidelines”, legislation and policy advocacy will follow. The only type of policy changes that could result from this fundamental shift in opinion on alcohol consumption are government mandates that will hinder the alcohol beverage marketplace, restrictions on access to the growing selection of wines and other alcoholic beverages, and higher taxes and fees for both the industry and consumers.

The industry in which NAWR members work is not entitled to more help or more sympathy. On the other hand, NAWR and its members will always oppose government action that has the ultimate goal of harming this industry. These guidelines harm the future of the wine industry and do so with no rational, reasonable underlying science to support its ultimate conclusion that responsible adults who drink in moderation are harming themselves and society.

NAWR opposes the adoption of the new alcohol beverage recommendation in the recently released Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. We believe the rest of the wine and alcohol beverage industry as well as consumers ought to also oppose the proposed guidelines.

Comments to NAWR or questions about this statement can be directed to Tom Wark, Executive Director: 971-332-5057 or tom@nawr.org