In a bid to debunk myths surrounding alcohol consumption, the International Spirits & Wines Association of India (ISWAI), the apex body of the premium AlcoBev sector, is advocating for uniform alcohol guidelines in India. They claim that debunking myths surrounding alcohol consumption is essential for informed decision-making and promoting public health.  Individuals can make responsible choices by understanding the truth about beer, wine, and spirits, while policymakers can implement evidence-based policies that prioritise public well-being.

Highlighting a common misconception among consumers, Nita Kapoor, CEO of ISWAI, said, “Many consumers believe that distilled spirits are inherently ‘stronger’ and more intoxicating than beer or wine, regardless of the quantity. But the reality is different. The alcohol in all drinks containing alcohol is the same and has the same effect on the body. There is no drink of moderation, but only a practice of moderation.”

Considering Haryana’s excise policy allowing corporate offices with a staff of at least 5,000 and a minimum covered area of 100,000 sq. ft to consume low-alcoholic drinks like beer, wine, or spirits within office premises, Kapoor said, “Consumers underestimating the effects of drinking beer or wine could result in harmful consumption. Some state governments reinforce this misperception through policies and regulations that discriminate against distilled spirits and give preferential treatment to beer or wine.”

ISWAI says that another misperception that the standard serving of beer, RTDs (Ready-to-Drink), or wine has less alcohol than distilled spirits comes from the fact that they have a lower ‘alcohol content’ or alcohol by volume (ABV) listed on the containers they are sold in. “However, standard serve sizes always contain the same amount of alcohol, which takes into account the ABV,” she said.

Kapoor added, “Over 30 countries have moderate or low risk drinking guidelines. Such guidelines make no distinction between alcohol consumed as beer, wine, or spirits; rather they reference standard serving of alcohol or standard units.”  

(With inputs from BL Intern Nivasini Azagappan)