SAB's "She Loves Beer" campaign has been hauled over the coals by a group that says it encourages alcohol consumption by women of child-bearing age. Picture: SAB

Cape Town - The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA) has slammed South African Breweries (SAB) "She Loves Beer" campaign.

While the campaign seeks to celebrate and promote women in the brewing industry, SAAPA is concerned that the campaign targets young women, particularly in light of the highest number of reported cases of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in the world being registered in the Western and Eastern Cape. 

Saturday marked World Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Day. 

"Our biggest concern is that they (SAB) are targeting young woman to drink beers and we know that there are women who want to have children," SAAPA spokesperson Aadielah Maker said. 

The She Loves Beer campaign focuses on three female employees of the Alrode Brewery who discuss the male-dominated brewing industry and how women were making in-roads. 

"So it is concerning that SAB launched the 'She Loves Beer' campaign, which clearly targets young women of childbearing age," Maker said.

"This campaign however fudges gender equality with messages on how liberating alcohol consumption is and how it is essential to socialising without providing any facts on how alcohol can affect women’s health and that of their unborn babies."

But SAB has hit back, saying it was not targeting women, but celebrating its employees.

"The campaign profiles our female employees and the great work they are doing, and in no way seeks to target women of child-bearing age, as alleged by SAAPA," Director of Communications: AB InBev Africa and SAB Robyn Chalmers said. "SAB will continue to celebrate the lives and work of its employees across the spectrum, as we always have done."

Chalmers also said that SAB has for many years supported the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research which works with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

"Just this month, SAB sponsored one of four Early Childhood Development Centres which FARR is using for research and training on FASD awareness and prevention. SAB applauds the work done by FARR and is committed to supporting these and other initiatives to address the harm caused by the misuse of alcohol," Chalmers said.

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Cape Argus