Responsible drinking programmes
supported by European spirits producers

• “Backstage”
• “Aizkulises”
TIMING 2011 > 2015
Non-commercial alcohol


  • Latvian Alcohol Industry Association


  • University of Latvia, group of researchers at Chair of National Economics
  • Data Serviss, market research company
  • Latvian Confederation of Employers ( LDDK), collaboration in programme for fighting shadow economy
  • Media companies to support dissemination
  • 2011 and 2012: spiritsEUROPE (partly funded through the budget line programme


  • To raise awareness on harmful impact of non-commercial alcohol to health and change drinking habits for the better.
  • To educate society on distinguishing between commercial and counterfeit products.
  • To assess the nature, size and impact of non-commercial alcohol turnover in the country, its negative social and economic impact in order to drive preventive initiatives.


  • Phase one: research was carried out on the impact of non-commercial alcohol (NCA) and the development of prevention programmes:
    • Independent interdisciplinary research team was formed incorporating researchers from University of Latvia, LADRIA and leading market research agency Data Serviss.
    • Quantitative survey covering based on recognized ICAP methodology was conducted (read ICAP Monograph). Representative groups of general population (sample size: 1040), non-commercial alcohol consumers (sample size: 152) and producers/distributors (sample size: 50) was sampled. Scope covered wide aspects of non-commercial alcohol consumption habits, attitudes and health/social impact related matters.
    • Findings suggest that one of the core drivers behind illicit alcohol market is the attitude of the general population that facilitates shadow economy. For instance, 56% of regular NCA consumers are using such product for over 10 years, 34% have it as planned purchase and 59% at least once a month purchase NCA. Insights of general population are worrying as well – 50% have ever purchased NCA, 36% have regular consumers of NCA among friends and relatives, 18% support NCA distribution – mostly for economic reasons (“smart buy”) 
  • Phase two: Communication to raise awareness of the harm resulting from non-commercial alcohol:
    • A series of public communication activities were carried out to cover major aspects of the non-commercial alcohol circulation: (i) distinguishing commercial and counterfeit products (June - July 2011) and (ii) fighting the illegal alcohol market (September - December 2011).
    • Mass media campaign launched in October 2012 called "Backstage" to 1) raise awareness about negative consequences for person health resulting from consumption of NCA and 2) continue education to society distinguish between commercial and counterfeit products.  As part of the campaign a dedicated page on the drink responsibly website shows info graphics and statistics and posters were displayed on buses and in the street. Read attached documents for more information.
  • In 2013, the ongoing communication was maintained via mass media, website, presentations to decision makers and academic conferences. 
  • The issue was raised at pan-Baltic level starting collaboration across 3 countries within research, prevention and communication of the issue together with academia, healthcare specialists. 


  • Legislative changes implemented: 12/2011 Parliament of Latvia enforced from 01/2012 legislative changes and radically decreased limits for non-taxable alcohol and tobacco import allowance for private individuals – estimated state budget revenues over EUR 2m annually.
  • Wider engagement with local policy makers: joint position paper with LDDK and government authorities on fighting shadow economy incorporates statements regarding (i) priority to fight alcohol and tobacco smuggling and (ii) our industry associations invited as public partners and consultants for further projects related to excise taxation in the country.
  • Higher public awareness achieved: TV spots were shown as part of primetime news and information sections, average reach per each spot ranged from 100-300k. Estimated total reached audience with all activiteis via TV and printed media around 840,000 from total 2 million population of Latvia.
  • Sustainable communication via DrinkAware site dzeratbildigi.lv: 20,407 unique visitors in 2011 with 168,617 pageviews achieved. On the first day key page devoted to harm from non-commercial alcohol had over 100 Facebook likes without any SEO and public communication.
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