Alcohol Responsibility

Enriching Life Responsibly

Our approach to alcohol responsibility shows the same care and respect we apply
to making our products.

A SPIRIT of Respect

Enjoying a life in recovery GIVES me a sense of responsibility to help other people who might struggle with their relationship with alcohol or just prefer not to drink.

– JUDY SPALDING,
PARALEGAL AND SPIRIT CO-FOUNDER

When Judy Spalding joined Brown-Forman nine years ago, sharing her history of alcohol addiction and recovery was the last thing on her mind. Working for a beverage alcohol company turned into an opportunity for Judy to blaze a courageous trail in transforming attitudes toward non-drinkers.  

“I had been in recovery for 22 years when I joined Brown-Forman as a paralegal. It has turned out to be a wonderful fit, but early on I had some challenges. At company events, people would ask why I wasn’t drinking, and push for an answer. There was also the concern about potential negative impact to my career because of being a non-drinker. 

I suggested the idea of SPIRIT to Ralph de Chabert, our Chief Diversity Officer, and one of our creative group members came up with the name for SPIRIT, which stands for Showing Pride in Respecting Individual Tastes. The goal was to promote inclusion for non-drinkers and build understanding for the experiences of those who decide not to drink for whatever reason. We pitched the idea to leadership and they were on board from the beginning, giving us their encouragement and a budget.

Since launching the SPIRIT employee resource group in 2011, we have made so much progress. Now, when I tell people I’m in recovery, it’s not a conversation stopper. We have become more aware of the role that drinking or not drinking plays in our culture and have become more inclusive and welcoming of those who choose not to drink. We have an active membership and host speaker events open to everyone. We also have creative and delicious mocktails at company events, and they are actually trendy! I am proud to have opened up this dialogue and know that SPIRIT has been part of a change in our culture.”

Judy
Judy Spalding, SPIRIT Founder, Barbara Hurt, current SPIRIT co-lead, and Dennis Ogbe, Global Wellness Specialist, volunteering at The Healing Place.

Responsible alcohol consumption is in our personal interest and critical to the success of our business. We are doing our part to discourage underage drinking, binge drinking, and drunk driving, promote a culture of moderation inside and outside of Brown-Forman, and help those struggling with addiction.

We want people to get home safe. In Fiscal 2017, we joined the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety in a Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, providing a discount for local cab and Uber rides during the December holidays. Throughout the year, Jack Daniels partnered with the largest U.S. designated driver service to provide free designated drivers in 24 cities nationwide. We also introduced the availability of free safe rides at any time for our employees, whether for business or personal use.

ResponsibilityMonthPoland

Our Brown-Forman employees in Europe devote each February to building awareness about responsible drinking. Some examples from Fiscal 2017 include:

  • Germany partnered with a national convenience store chain on a “don’t drink and drive” marketing campaign;
  • Poland hosted three weeks of themed events, including how to recognize and respond when someone has an alcohol problem, and hosting a dedicated hotline for employees to talk to therapists and experts about potential alcohol concerns;
  • France dedicated four weeks to themed events, including a session with an alcohol expert explaining the effect of beverage alcohol on the body and the brain.

In Fiscal 2017, we updated our interactive online education game the Think and Drink Tavern. The interactive simulation provides tips on factors that lead to intoxication, the signs that someone may be over the limit, and how best to intervene when someone has overconsumed. It also provides facts about alcohol and the body, as well as how to identify problem drinking.

Nutritional content is important to our consumers, so we launched nutrition.brown-forman.com to provide more accessible nutrition information on our products.


We continue to work with 10 other industry leaders that signed the Beer, Wine, and Spirits Producers’ Commitments to Reduce Harmful Drinking (the Commitments). Since launching in 2012, the group has led more than 100 global education programs to reduce harmful drinking. The group’s current priorities include reducing underage drinking and drunk driving, strengthening marketing codes of practice, providing consumer information and responsible product innovation, and collaborating with retailers. An update on the group’s progress is available at www.producerscommitments.org.

Photo caption: As part of our commitment to reduce drunk driving, we participate in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign in Louisville, KY.