We're Celebrating the New Year, not Alcohol
Around this time of year all eyes are on the upcoming New Years Eve Celebrations. And alcohol. Briefly, we wondered to ourselves out loud "Why is there such a focus on alcohol"? But we only wondered about it briefly, because the answer was obvious. Money.
For many years, merchants pretended the only way to reliably attract business to a long, undefined party such as a New Year's Eve celebration, was by promising there would be lots of alcohol, and lots of people drinking lots of alcohol. And it worked.
Publicizing a party at a bar or restaurant was easier if you simply highlighted the drinking, promised the party atmosphere, and aimed your marketing at drinkers. Not much more was needed. This left tremendous flexibility for merchants who could work out the details of their party later, when there was already a crowd to work with, and less risk of commercial failure.
By comparison, planning a party without all that focus on alcohol is risky. Promoting a "great party" guaranteed to be filled with alcohol is much easier than planning an evening of actual specific activities, which may or may not turn out to be fun. This is especially true when you don't know who will show up, when they will show up, or what they will enjoy.
Alcohol has been Easier & More Profitable than Alternatives
Similar logic applies to food offerings at the venue. Have you ever been disappointed when the kitchen closed at 10, but the party lasted very late and you were hungry most of that time?
Alcohol is very profitable, both for taxing authorities and venue owners. By comparison, food service is risky. Food is more costly to produce well, and certainly more difficult to buy, store, and manage than bottles of booze or beer.
So it should be no surprise that alcohol has earned a spot of commercial focus. Promise alcohol, stock the bar, have food on hand only as long as necessary to keep the crowd staying & drinking, and you will achieve commercial success. Alcohol is profitable as a product and as a marketing vehicle, therefore it gets the focus (especially leading up to New Year's Eve).
But why do we seem to still focus on it when planning how we will celebrate on New Year's Eve?
We have More Choices, and More Influence
We don’t have to allow the marketing focus to blind us. We have choices, and we can vote with our spending and planning. We don't have to accept "trust us.. it will be an amazing party". We can ask for family-friendly, kid-friendly, or even alcohol-free areas if those are important to us.
More than ever before, it seems our South Florida communities also have developed an awareness of the risks of alcohol, and the costs of excessive alcohol use on society. We have achieved more transparency around abuse, including misuse and abuse of alcohol. With commercial success comes some responsibility.
The costs of irresponsible behaviors are no longer a private matter. DUIs and addicition disorders are costly to all of us, and our community, and we know it. Allowing a narrow focus on alcohol when marketing is becoming irresponsible, and as we continue to ask for more than just a promise of a party, our merchants and vendors acknowledge that, and adjust.
There is so much quality of life here in South Florida, to be enjoyed and celebrated, and we are seeing that highlighted with more focus on family-friendly and community-friendly activities, including New Year's Eve activities.
Celebrating the Start of a New Year
New Year's Eve is a celebration of the close of 2015, and the start of 2016. Some look forward to saying "Good riddance!" to 2015, while others will reminisce about the good times they enjoyed, hoping for more of the same in 2016.
The turn of the calendar is of unique importance to each and every one of us, yet we all have the change of the year in common, making it one of the biggest party nights of the year.
How will you celebrate?
We Hope you Focus your Celebration on What Matters to You
As we approach New Year's Eve this week, we wish you a Healthy and Happy New Year, and hope that you can enjoy celebrating this New Year's Eve the way you want to, with those who want to share in your celebration.
That will be a great start to the next year of your life!