Alcon – Rockin d nation

By now, all drinkers know the news – alcohol tax has remained unchanged for another year.

I guess it’s good news, altho Alcon‘s ultimate aim is a restructuring followed by a reduction of taxes.

For a non-registered organization, the media coverage of Alcon has been massive.

Big-up to those who have actively contributed to the fight. Here’s a quick round-up of the last one year, with majority of publicity occurring in the last three months.

 

The Sun

 

The Sarawak Tribune

 

TimeOut KL

 

NewMan

 

The New Straits Times

 

Kwong Wah

 

Malaysiakini

 

Nanyang, i think

 

AsiaOne News

 

The Malaysian Insider

 

The Star

 

The Star, post-Budget reaction

 

The Star, random article in June

Phew.

Hidup, hidup! Hidup Alcon! (sorry to steal your battle cry, Bersih)

Believe it or not, not all are listed here. I left some of the Chinese papers out. Also, there’s a piece about it in my drinking column in Esquire’s October issue. There’s another piece i did for JUICE.

The most recent is the two-page spread in The Star last Saturday, and the BFM interview a week before. There were also our letter(s) just before the Budget in The Star.

Ambik kau!

There’s talk of doing an Alcon launch in KK and Kuching too.

So, Stage 2 (Publicity) is complete. What’s next? Alcon will continue with consumer awareness, and also encourage reasonably-priced outlets, as not all but definitely most over-charge for drinks, tho they wont admit it. Maybe they assume people blame only the government for the prices. Most people still do.

To be frank, the government is only partly to blame. People tend to always fault the government for all their problems! Haha

But the biggest cause of our expensive booze at outlets is very high mark-ups, often 200-300% for beers, and up to 350% for spirits! These are bars, not clubs. It’s unheard of anywhere in the world, and is at the least, unethical.

We’d accept 75% mark-ups, hell even 100%, but more than that is too much. There needs to be a balance, give-and-take. This would translate to less profit initially, but higher turnover, so profit might even increase. Higher turnover also means better incentives from suppliers.

Problem is, they aint in the industry for the passion, that’s for sure. It’s run mostly by quick-buck hunters. Whatever industry they make money from makes no difference to them. As long as it’s lots of money.

I’ll write soon about how many percent of your $$ per drink goes where, and you can decide for yourself if the alcohol industry here is being fair. Maybe i’ll do pie chart. The government and the actual producers receive the least.

I have a feelin even if the government reduces the taxes, consumers aren’t gonna benefit in terms of price reduction, knowing how Malaysian outlets are. Whats the point of all this work then??

Dammit.

The breweries and the spirits companies need to be more responsible. They’re big and influential, but have done virtually nothing to address this situation.

Maybe it’s time they be more responsible and step-up. They tell us to “Drink Responsibly”. How about they “Sell Responsibly”?

At the least, they can create and publicize Recommended Retail Pricing,  so consumers know what’s the deal.

To their credit, Guinness Anchor Bhd (GAB) did give the RRP at outlets for their new German beers. However, this was only after i requested.

Well, at least it’s a start.

When the Euro and US$ dropped very significantly against the ringgit (up to 20%), did consumers benefit at all? Nope! Even tho most of the booze comes from there. Wait if the Euro & US$ rise? They’re sure to make us know it and feel it.

Where’s the basic business ethics in our alcohol industry? Non-existent?

An Alcon member decided to do sumtin about it – he suggested this – get responsible outlets to participate in a win-win partnership with Alcon. If an outlet is determined to be reasonably-priced, they will receive a large, bright badge certified by Alcon that they can display outside their premises, saying Fair Price Outlet.

Consumers who see this will know that outlet has been vouched for by an independent party. And all Alcon members will be notified of the outlet online via direct mail. Great idea.

My buddy is designing the badge now. I can already identify a couple of outlets that qualify. Alcon will work on this next.

Fairness is a simple concept that most short-sighted and money-minded Malaysian businessmen don’t seem to understand. These days, it’s not about win-lose-screw u, but win-win.

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Alcon gettin there

The Star, which has been giving Alcon (Alcohol Consumer Rights Group) minimal publicity, looks to have changed its stand.

It ran a brief letter by Alcon on Saturday. Then on Monday, some old man who writes to The Star daily and who’s like 80 years old replied, saying increase liquor taxes!

Goddamit. We dying out here, and he just goes and shoots his mouth off.

Anyway, good news is today (Wed), it ran Alcon’s reply in full and unedited. We gave back to the old man.

There has been a lot of publicity on Alcon, which I’ll summarize sum up after the Budget.There’s supposed to be a full-on feature story on Alcon on Saturday. Look out for that.

Budget announcement takes place Friday late afternoon. I think cigarettes are gonna be hit. Booze, I feel it’s 50-50. Lets hope for the best.

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Alcohol-tax time??

Budget 2012 will be tabled next week by the government.

Will the tax on alcohol be raised further, although it’s already one of the world’s highest?

I dont know. An outlet owner told me this – “my supplier advised me to order extra stock  now as the tax is going up.”

Malaysian drinkers - screwed for years by the govt and the outlets

Maybe its a rumuor. Either way, that’s why Alcon exists – to fight for fair prices for us from the government and outlets.

Alcon has gotten a lot of media and publicity lately. Hopefully there’s an impact.

We plan a submit a memo to the Ministry of Finance in a few days, so please dont just sign it, but publicize and get your friends to sign too. If we dont hit at least 1.000 signatures, there’s no point handing it over.

Click here.

Do it!

 

PS: Catch the live interview with Alcon reps on BFM (89.9) this Friday at about 6.30pm with me and Ben Ng. Yea!

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Alcon’s in dahaus!

Alcon has officially launched!

It’s been a journey that began in October last year very urgently and informally. And now, with  5,000 members (one of our launch objectives), Alcon (facebook.com/groups/myalcon) is ready to step-up and take it further.

The Alcohol Consumer-Rights Group Malaysia launch happened Saturday afternoon, at Souled Out Cafe in Sri Hartamas. The weather was chilled n perfect, as the rain had stopped in time for d party.

We were treated to loads of Guinness and Tiger Draughts, courtesy of GAB. A good crowd of about 200 members showed up.

Food was pretty awesome.

Crowd havin fun

Biresh MC-ed for us, another volunteer-resource among Alcon membership’s many talents. Another member Khang, who’s a good artist, designed the new logo, also pro bono. And G2 handled the media, on the house. Thanks Vivian & crew!

Well, speeches at Alcon events aren't that serious. Drink break

After i did a short speech on our next steps, etc, it was time for laughter. Douglas Lim was ridiculous! His stand-up comedy had everyone laughing their nuts off. Dude sure knows how to work the crowd.

He had some good yellow jokes

Then blues-rockers Rollin Sixers took d stage (also patriots for the cause and Alcon members, so no charge of course). The boys didnt disappoint, with a stylish one-hour set.

Bluesy

We’re lookin at gettin more media and online coverage over the next few weeks and months. Any help / contacts here would be welcome. It’s already out in The Sun here and a Chinese paper over the last few days. Will update re media coverage in d future.

The start of something interesting

Pre-event, we had support from bloggers like Shaolin Tiger, Eyeris, BeerBeer, JUICE Online, Adoi mag, and a few others.

Consumers in Sabah want us to do an event there as well. Haha.

Thank you for those who helped. You know who you are! And even if all u did was add your drinking friends into the Alcon FB group, thanks.

Thanks also to S’mores in Bangsar South, which form the start, offered the outlet for free for Alcon’s event, with food thrown in. However, we needed a large outlet and did it in Souled Out. S’mores has some really good promos, like $15 nett for a pint of Strongbow on certain days. S’mores is a supporter of Alcon. Check it out.

Unfortunately most outlets weren’t supportive of our efforts last year, and i dont expect them to change this year. Maybe they dont want people to know that they mark-up their drinks by up to 300 percent! They’re also guilty as the government for the situation alcohol consumers face.

But you know what, support among consumers has been great! I guess once people are aware of the issues (most aren’t), they’re all for it. Some even get upset. So it’s only a matter of time, and this issue could snowball.

Flyer

So join the fight here. (Our Group page has 5,000+ members, but we’ve just created this Fan page). To know more, click Info on that page.

Anybody wants to be on the Alcon committee, pls contact me.

With Kennhyn (Vice-President) and Min Jie (Alcon Taxation Consultant). Hmmm. I think we'll also need a mascot soon. Homer? Haha

Phase 1 is underway, Phase 2 happens soon.

Among the alcohol companies in Malaysia, Guinness Anchor Bhd has been very supportive of us consumers and our launch. All you drinkers in the country owe them one!

 

Brain damage: 8/10

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