South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Hospitality Institute is funded by liquor giants


Last updated 11/9/2012 at 6:57pm

In the April 3rd issue of the South Pittsburgh Reporter, representatives from the South Side Local Development Company suggested that we involve the Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI) in our efforts to solve the problems caused by the excessive concentration of liquor licenses in the South Side. 

It is important to keep in mind that RHI is underwritten by Diageo (the world's leading premium drinks business), the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc., the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association (go to for details).

It is true that RHI also receives funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - interesting when you consider that state laws to lower blood alcohol thresholds for impaired driving have been enacted despite strong opposition from the hospitality industry (see

A group with this degree of support from the liquor industry, which understandably has a vested interest in maximizing their bottom line, is not the best organization to be guiding us in how to address the problems that result from the sale of liquor.

How will involving RHI inspire confidence that the solutions we arrive upon will be fair and unbiased? Why would we go to a group that has such potential conflicts of interest, when we have the Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy, CMU's Urban Lab, and Pitt's GSPIA Non-Profit Clinic right in our own back yard?  

Mary Ann Sevick

South Side Resident


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