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Statistics Supporting Keg Registration

  • Nationally, in 1999 there were 10.4 million drinkers between the ages of 12 and 20.  Of this group, 6.8 million engaged in binge drinking. Large quantities of cheap alcohol, which is what kegs provide, encourages binge drinking by those that can be most damaged by it: our youth. (1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services.)
  • More teens die from an alcohol overdose or drunk driving crashes than from all other causes combined.  Keg registration is a proven way to reduce underage access to cheap alcohol.
  • Easy access to alcohol at an early age (age 18) is associated with higher rates of drinking later (ages 21 – 25).  Reducing underage access to alcohol not only will reduce injuries and other problems associated with drinking but may have beneficial effects for these individuals during adulthood, and reduce the long-run costs of alcohol to society. (O'Malley, and Wagenaar, A.C.: The effects of minimum drinking age laws on alcohol use, related behaviors and traffic crash involvement among American youth 1976 – 1987.  J. Stud Alcohol 52:478-491, 1991).
  • Kegs have been shown to be a major source of alcohol for underage drinkers. The same report indicates that the major factors in underage attendance at keg parties are low price of alcohol and the lack of adult monitoring. (Wagenaar et al: Where and how adolescents obtain alcoholic beverages.  Public Health Reports: v108 n4: 459-464, 1993)   
  • Keg registration will provide a way to hold adults legally or financially responsible for providing alcohol to underage youth.  Keg registration will make adults think twice before purchasing kegs and allowing underage youth to drink from them.
  • Keg registration policies are widely supported by the public.  More than four out of five Americans believe that registration of beer kegs should be required as a way to reduce underage drinking. (E. Harwood et al: Youth Access to Alcohol Survey Summary Report.  University of Minnesota Alcohol Epidemiology Program, 1998)
  • Retailers may argue that keg registration in their community will cause keg buyers to go to communities or states that do not have keg registration.  Experience with other areas that have instituted keg regulations has shown that purchasers who are over 21 and don't intend to serve underage drinkers will not drive out of their way to avoid keg registration. 
  • In a recent Canadian study, a majority of youth who attended outdoor parties at which alcohol was present not only drank (71.5%), but also drank and drove (63.5%).  Another 16.1% rode with a drinking-driver.  Reducing underage access to kegs, a major source of high volume, low price beer, will reduce underage consumption and drunk driving, making our community safer for all of us. (Stoduto, G. et al: Adolescents, bush parties and drinking-driving.  J. Stud Alcohol v59 n5: 544-549, 1998.)
  • Almost 20 percent of all traffic crashes involving a driver under age 21 involve alcohol.  The costs of medical care, emergency services, work loss and property damage for these crashes in over $7 billion nationally per year.  Reducing even a fraction of these costs will easily offset any administrative costs from keg registration. (Levy, D et al: Costs of Underage Drinking.  Report prepared for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.  1999.)
  • In 1994, there were ten fatal and 40,000 nonfatal cases of alcohol poisoning among youth in the United States.  In addition to the personal toll this takes on the youth and their families, youth alcohol poisoning costs this country approximately $10 million in medical care and $16 million in lost work every year.  (Levy, D. et al: Costs of Underage Drinking.  Report prepared for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.  1999.)
  • Instituting keg regulations does not mean that we are eliminating the responsibility of underage drinkers for their own actions.  But it is also against the law to sell or provide alcohol to those under 21.  Keg Registration makes it easier to enforce these existing laws, and sends a message that our community does not condone buying beer for minors.
  • The health effects of underage drinking are significant and can be irreversible.  Research has shown that the brain continues developing until about age 21.  Studies indicate that heavy, regular drinking can damage or destroy brain cells involved in learning and memory.  We need to do our part to reduce high-risk drinking among young people.  Reducing underage access to kegs is an important step. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 1998; USA Today report, 10/18/2000)
  • Younger drinkers have been shown to be especially sensitive to alcohol prices – the more expensive the alcohol, the less they consume.  Because kegs are a prime source of cheap alcohol, reducing access to kegs will decrease youth consumption, even if it cannot eliminate it.  (Coate, D., Grossman, M.: The effect of alcoholic beverage prices and legal drinking ages on youth alcohol use.  Journal of Law and Economics, 31(1): 145-171, 1988)
  • The alcohol industry has indicated that they want to be responsible providers of alcoholic beverages to those 21 and older.  Keg registration makes retailers a part of the solution to underage drinking.  It also assists them in proving that their keg sales were done legally.