Monday, January 31, 2011

Blue Ocean Strategy for alcohol industry( Part 1 of the series)

                                        fig 1: Portuguese wine( Source:

In chemistry, an alcohol is any organic compound in which a hydroxyl functional group (-OH) is bound to a carbon atom, usually connected to other carbon or hydrogen atoms.[1] Alcohol is used for various purposes ranging from drinking beverages to medical purposes.

From ancient time itself use of alcohol as beverage has attracted lot of critics as well as lauders alike, has always been described in almost every major religious books and the design of social of code of conduct. The consumption alcoholic drinks can cause intoxication which can further lead to hangovers; because of such effect Alcoholic beverages were always associated with negative connotation in the sphere of ethics and moral code of conduct leading to a big range of people avoiding consuming alcohol on moral and ethical grounds.

In the upcoming series of three blogs the author will attempt to target these non customers by promoting the positive sides of alcoholic beverages and not to just to promote it as an intoxication arousing drink. The 1st blog in the series will be dealing with Medicinal values of alcohol with the help of various research work conducted worldwide. The next two blogs will be dealing with strategy canvass and strategy implementation respectively.

In the beginning itself it has to be made clear that the paper does not attempt to nullify the side effects of alcohol nor does it attempt to encourage people towards its over consumption. The only point that the paper wants to make is that alcohol is not all that bad as it had been portrayed due to various religious and cultural factors. It had been medically proved that a little amount of alcohol consumption can actually be very helpful and beneficial for one’s health. Based on these grounds the paper will like to promote moderate consumption of such beverages to its non consumers who have so far avoided its consumption on some predetermined perception and wrong notions. #

Medical benefits of alcohol [2] :-

1> It gives longevity:-

• A Harvard study found the risk of death from all causes to be 21% to 28% lower among men who drank alcohol moderately, compared to abstainers. [3]

Harvard's Nurses' Health Study of over 85,000 women found reduced mortality among moderate drinkers.[4]

• A British analysis of 12,000 male physicians found that moderate drinkers had the lowest risk of death from all causes during the 13 year study. [5]

• Large-scale study in China found that middle-aged men who drank moderately had a nearly 20% lower overall mortality compared to abstainers. [6]

• A twelve year long prospective study of over 200,000 men found that subjects who had consumed alcohol in moderation were less likely to die than those who abstained from alcohol.[7]

2> It cures heart attacks and other cardio vascular disease.

• Harvard researchers have identified the moderate consumption of alcohol as a proven way to reduce coronary heart disease risk. [8]

• The Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up Study of over 44,000 males found moderate alcohol consumption to be associated with a 37% reduction in coronary disease.[9]

• The Honolulu Heart Study found a 49% reduction in coronary heart disease among men who drink alcohol in moderation. [10]

• Harvard researchers concluded about coronary heart disease that "Consumption of one or two drinks of beer, wine, or liquor per day has corresponded to a reduction in risk of approximately 20-40%. [11]

• The American Heart Association, based on the research evidence, concludes that the “Consumption of one or two drinks per day is associated with a reduction in risk of (coronary heart disease) approximately 30% to 50%.” [12]

3> It is effective in curing hypertension and high blood pressure

• A Harvard University study found the lowest levels of hypertension among young adults who consumed one to three drinks per day. [13]

• A study of alcohol consumption and subsequent high blood pressure for eight years among over 7,000 women found that those who consumed an average of about half a drink a day had a 15% lower chance of developing high blood pressure than did women who abstained from alcohol. [14]

4> Alcohol consumption is effective in curing diabetes and related ailments

• The American Diabetes Association reports that "In people with diabetes, light-to-moderate amounts of alcohol are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, probably because alcohol raises HDL cholesterol, the so-called 'good cholesterol.'" [15]

• A study of almost 21,000 physicians for over 12 years has found that men who are light to moderate drinkers have a decreased risk of Type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes mellitus. [16]

• A study of 8,663 men over a period of as long as 25 years found that the incidence of type 2 diabetes was significantly lower among moderate drinkers than among either abstainers or heavy drinkers. These findings persisted after adjusting for age, smoking, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, waist circumference, parental diabetes, fasting plasma glucose, body mass index (BMI), serum triglyceride concentration, and cardio respiratory fitness. [17]

5> Other medical benefits of Alcohol

• Moderate drinkers have been found to be more resistant than abstainers to five strains of the common cold virus. Those who consumed 2 to 3 drinks daily had an 85% greater resistance. Those drinking 1 to 2 drinks daily had a 65% lower risk and those who drank less than daily had a 30% lower risk than abstainers.18

• Researchers at Boston Medical Centre analyzed data from 8,125 participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Study. They found that drinkers had a 43% lower chance of having Metabolic Syndrome than did abstainers or non-drinkers.19

• An analysis of data from 760,044 men and women who were tracked for seven to 20 years found that moderate drinkers are about 30% less likely to develop kidney cancer than abstainers. A large prospective study of 59,237 Swedish women age 40-76 found that those who consumed at least one drink per week had a 38% lower risk of kidney cancer than did abstainers or those who drank less. For women over 55, the risk dropped by two-thirds.20

Some of the important point that has to be noted over here is that:-

• The research works have been conducted over a large sample of people.

• They have been conducted over a very prolonged period of time.

• They have been conducted over various geographies such as USA, Italy, and China etc.

• They have been conducted by some of the very prominent organization in the area of medical science.

Thus it can be assumed that the degree of veracity in all these research works should be high.

Alcohlic beverages are good for health for the following factors:-

• Alcohol contains various types of anti oxidants that not only helps in curing diseases but also helps in providing better sexual health.

• Alcoholic beverages can be good for human heart because it increases the content of good HDL cholesterol.

• It also reduces the risk of blood clots in the coronary arteries. It can prevent platelets from clumping together to form clots, prevent sudden rise of fibrinogen (a protein) from liver that in many times is responsible for forming blood clots. [21]

• It is believed that Alcoholic beverages such as red wine contain a large amount of anti oxidant like flavonoids. It had been argued that such anti oxidants are good for human health and helps in prevention of thrombosis. [22]

• Apart from the medical properties one other aspect of alcohol is that it helps people in socializing. It had been seen that drinkers have better social circles than abstainer's .A better social life ensures prevention of loneliness thereby ensuring better health, lack of depression and longevity in living.

So the 1st blog fundamentally dealt with the medicinal benefits of Alcohol. The next two will be dealing with the Strategy canvass and Strategy implementation

# The paper talks only about moderate drinking. It strictly prohibits heavy drinking; heavy drinking has far more disadvantage than advantage. It can cause heart failures, kidney and liver damage, cause heavy intoxication that might lead to accidents, etc. Heavy drinking is something that must be avoided at any go. It is only moderate drinking that has so much of benefits associated with it. Though there is no hard and fast definition of moderate drinking but according to many of the doctors it could be 1-3 glass a day for a healthy man. Since women are generally smaller in size than men, the alcohol consumption should be about 25-30% lower


1 Wikipedia


3 Camargo, C. A., et al. Prospective study of moderate alcohol consumption and mortality in US male physicians. Archives of Internal Medicine, 1997, 157, 79-85.

4 Fuchs, C. S., et al. Alcohol consumption and mortality among women. The New England Journal of Medicine, 1995, 332(19), 1245-1250

5. Doll, R., and Peto, R. Mortality in relation to consumption of alcohol: 13 years' observations on male British doctors. British Medical Journal, 1994, 309, 911-918.

6 Yuan, J-M., et al. Follow up study of moderate alcohol intake and mortality among middle aged men in Shanghai, China. British Medical Journal, 1997, 314, 18-23

7 Boffetta, P., and Garefinkel, L. Alcohol drinking among men enrolled in an American Cancer Society prospective study. Epidemiology, 1990, 1(5), 42-48.

8 Manson, J. E., et al. The primary prevention of myocardial infarction. The New England Journal of Medicine, 1992, 326(21), 1406-1416.

9 Rimm, E., et al. Prospective study of alcohol consumption and risk of coronary disease in men. The Lancet. 1991, 338, 464-468.

10 Blackwelder, W. C., et al. Alcohol and mortality. The Honolulu Heart Study. American Journal of Medicine, 1980, 68(2), 164-169.

11 National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol Alert, No. 45. October, 1999.

12 Pearson, Thomas A. (for the American Heart Association). Alcohol and heart disease. Circulation, 1996, 94, 3023-3025.

13 Gillman, W. M. et al. Relationship of alcohol intake with blood pressure. Hypertension, 1995, 25, 1106-1110. Also: Beilin, L., Puddey, I., and Burke, V. Alcohol and hypertension - kill or cure? Journal of Hypertension, 1996, 10, 1-5; Ramsey, L., et al. Alcohol and myocardial infarction in hypertensive men. American Heart Journal, 1979.

14 Thadhani, R., et al. Prospective study of moderate alcohol consumption and risk of hypertension in young women. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2002, 162, 569-574.

15 Wheeler, M., et al. Is there a place for alcohol in your diabetes meal plan? Diabetes Forecast, 2003 (August).

16 Umed, A., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus among US male physicians. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2000, 160, 1025-1050.

17 Wei, M. et al. Alcohol intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes in men. Diabetes Care, 2000, 23(1), 18-26.

18 Cohen, S., et al. Smoking, alcohol consumption and susceptibility to the common cold. American Journal of Public Health, 1993, 83(9), 1277-1283.

19. Freiberg, M, et al. Alcohol consumption and the prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome in the US: A cross-sectional analysis of data from The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Diabetes Care, 2004, 27(11), 2954-2959.

20 Rashidkhani, B., Åkesson, A., Lindblad, P, and Wolk, A. Alcohol consumption and risk of renal cell carcinoma: A prospective study of Swedish women International Journal of Cancer, 2005 (December 10), 117(5), 848–853.



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