Individual companies within the South African liquor industry have for decades been acutely aware of the need to prevent the misuse and abuse of their products and have tried to ensure that consumers enjoy only the benefits which the responsible, moderate use of alcohol has bestowed on humanity for hundreds of years.
The South African liquor industry is however highly competitive and co-operation between competing parties and groups is therefore rare. However in the middle eighties a few of the major manufacturers began to understand the need to put aside these competitive issues and begin to actively address the problems of alcohol misuse and abuse.
It took almost five years to create a loosely constituted forum by the major producers of alcohol beverages in South Africa to address what the industry refers to as the alcohol issue. In 1986 this forum became the Social Aspects of Alcohol Committee and in 1989 the first full-time director was appointed.
In 1996 the association's name was changed to the Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA) and its mission was to reduce alcohol-related harm through combating the misuse and abuse of alcohol beverages and promoting only their responsible use.