Brewers reward heavy drinking students

3 December 2019

Student associations in the Dutch University city Groningen try to reduce alcohol consumption among their members, but discounts from brewers encourage alcohol consumption.

After a number of excesses, student associations in the Dutch University city of Groningen made agreements with the municipality, the University of Groningen and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences on 'cultural change'. The red line in the pledge is that something must be done about the alcohol culture. But practice shows that student associations are financially rewarded if their members drink more alcohol. These discounts can amount to tens of thousands of euros.

Student associations with their own bar are also a catering company. Just like other on-trade outlets, beer breweries financially encourage associations to sell as much beer as possible. This is done via a discount, the so-called hectolitre bonus. The hectolitre bonus works via a graduated system. The more beer turnover, the higher the discount. That can go up to 75%.

Beer broker Tom van Erven Dorens has many years of work experience with beer contracts. He has worked for brewer Bavaria, among others. "Beer brewers do this because student associations are a very interesting target group. Students drink a lot of beer and if students are familiar with a beer brand, they are more likely to drink this brand for the rest of their lives."

A spokesperson for Mayor Schuiling of Groningen acknowledges that the system of the hectolitre discount is in conflict with the covenant concluded at the end of June between the municipality and student associations.



Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP
P.O. Box 9769
3506 GT Utrecht
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30-6565041
F: +31 (0)30-6565043