Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre McIvor: Booze barons threatened by charity month

21 comments
The liquor industry need not feel threatened by Dry July. Photo / Thinkstock
The liquor industry need not feel threatened by Dry July. Photo / Thinkstock

I'm sure a number of you have been tapped up by earnest, clear-eyed friends who've pledged to go "dry" for July as a fundraising initiative to help adults with cancer, and as a way of taking a short break from booze.

I'm one of them. I was one of the ambassadors for the first Dry July a couple of years ago. It was phenomenally successful: the money raised was about 10 times more than expected as people from all walks of life were sponsored by incredulous friends and family.

I was happy to take part again this year and be one of the spokeswomen. It's tough for charities to find novel ways to raise money and I know not everybody "gets" the different campaigns. However I've been surprised by the attitude of some members of the liquor industry.

The first time, some hospo people and winemakers supported the initiative. Some of my favourite bars got all tricky with mocktails and made sure I was topped up with water. They didn't seem to feel threatened by Dry July.

I've always regarded hospitality as being about more than just flogging booze to people - it's about fabulous food served by fun people in places with a great atmosphere. But a post on Facebook and a blog from a Wellington wine reviewer reveals more than a few industry people feel Dry July is self-righteous.

They claim people who want to be sponsored for not drinking alcohol must have a real problem, and that people who are saving money by not drinking should donate it to the cancer charity.

The liquor industry depends on people drinking, they say; Fonterra would be just as peeved if August was declared the Big Cheese Freeze for charity.

That makes me question my relationship with the liquor industry. I know that at its heart, ours is a shallow relationship based on money and good times. I give you money, you give me a great night out.

Alcohol is more of a friend with benefits than a loving, true relationship. We've behaved badly together but it's been fun. But I may have to reconsider.

A lot of people who are doing Dry July donate to various charities, and last time many of them donated the amount they would have spent on booze during July. They don't just tap up friends and family. As for a Cheese Freeze, plenty of people don't eat dairy and meat and the farming sector doesn't write sarky posts criticising the estimated 45,000 vegetarians in this country.

I'm certain the liquor industry will be able to sustain the loss of 5000 drinkers for one month. And given my support for the hospitality industry over the years, I have no qualms about taking a month off whenever I want to.

I have given more than my share of disposable income to cafes, bars and bottle stores because I thought we were friends. But, liquor industry, if I can't have a short break without you telling me I have a problem that's not a healthy relationship. And I think you're the one with the problem, not me.

- Herald on Sunday

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 26 Oct 2014 16:44:34 Processing Time: 561ms