‘Big Tobacco’ to ‘Big Booze’

Laura Bond, Mike Daube, Tanya Chikritzhs



Internal tobacco industry document searches have led to the discovery of hitherto unpublished documents that provide insights into the drinks industry. The documents uncover key concerns and strategies for the drinks industry with focus on the Miller Brewing Company and the Beer Institute.


The identification of the Philip Morris 1996 CEO Issues Book from the tobacco document archives led to a systematic search for alcohol-related documents. The search was conducted by entering alcohol-related terms into search fields of tobacco document archive sites available on the World Wide Web.


Key areas of concern for the Miller Brewing Company, the Beer Institute, and more broadly, the alcohol industry include developments of legislative and regulatory controls such as tax increases, advertising restrictions and blood alcohol content lowering and public perceptions of harms relating to drunk driving, binge drinking and underage alcohol consumption. Strategies proposed by the Miller Brewing Company and the Beer Institute to combat these concerns include ally development and maintenance and the promotion of personal responsibility.


These once confidential internal documents provide new evidence on the drinks industry’s concerns about possible alcohol control measures and the strategies used to help overcome these concerns. The document findings justify the public health community’s cynicism about the alcohol industry while providing a new source of information to assist development in the regulation and control of the drinks industry.