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06.2011

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedAtPressTime

CONTROVERSY IN A CAN

Now that Four Loko has dumped the caffeine and hence, its buzz has fizzled, there’s a new controversy brewing. “Blast” by Colt 45 is a high alcohol malt beverage that comes in flavors such as strawberry lemonade and raspberry watermelon and has an alcohol content of 12%. Naturally, this has grabbed the attention of law enforcement officials. Attorneys general from California, Illinois, Maryland, and other states sent a letter to Pabst, urging it to reduce the alcohol content in the drink. In the letter, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler called the malt beverage the “binge-in-a-can” that targets youth. Gansler was joined in the campaign by the attorneys general from Arizona, California, Connecticut, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera also joined the petition. “We urge you to take immediate steps to significantly reduce the number of servings of alcohol presented to consumers in a single serving container,” the attorneys general said in the letter. Also of concern is the maker’s use of rapper Snoop Dogg, who is very popular with youths, to market the malt beverage. In a response statement, Pabst said “Blast is only meant to be consumed by those above legal drinking age” and the level of alcohol is “clearly marked on its packaging”. The company added that it has taken several steps to address concerns that the product could be abused. Pabst is encouraging consumers to consider mixing Blast with other beverages or pouring it over ice, which will dilute the alcohol content. Blast is also offered in seven-ounce bottles in addition to single-serve, 23.5-ounce cans. Of course, 23.5 ounces is one massive serving but once a can is opened, it can’t be resealed so the obvious solution is to consume it all. It remains to be seen if Blast will skyrocket in popularity or fizzle out.

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