When I was a kid the IBC root beer bottling plant was just a few blocks closer to downtown than where I lived. The root beer came in dark brown glass bottles that looked just like beer bottles. They probably bought them from Anheuser Busch.
We would get some of the root beer and peel the labels off and walk around the neighborhood pretending we were actually drinking beer instead of soda pop. A short time later, a brewery came out with a brew with a really low alcohol content, like .5% percent.
It was called Apple Beer and anyone could buy it. The .5% alcohol it contained was a natural byproduct of the brewing process. It tasted malty like beer, but also like apple flavored juice. We thought that it was totally cool, a beer that we could actually buy, even though you couldn’t drink enough of it to get you intoxicated.
All that made us feel grown up but when my parents would occasionally let me take a couple of sips of real beer: yuck. I remember taking a big swallow of a hard drink that my father had sitting on the car as he was working on it.
It burned my throat and really tasted awful. Back then when you got to be near your teens, parents would let you take a few sips of alcohol. No big deal. Compare that to now when a young girl accidentally got an alcoholic drink that looked like a shake at a Chili’s and it made the national news. She only took a couple of sips of the frozen beverage.
Now the makers of Colt 45 malt liquor has come out with a drink called Blast. It’s in a class of alcoholic drinks called alcopop. It comes in several fruit flavors and critics say that it is designed to appeal to a younger audience and encourages kids to drink. It has a higher alcohol content than Colt 45, 12% alcohol as opposed to 6%.
The advertising for the drink shows Snoop Dogg dressed in a suit and sunglasses holding what looks like a grape-flavored can of Blast. There is a beautiful woman lying behind him. According to CNN:
“Colt 45 makers are raising the alcohol level from the already high 6% to the even higher 12%, and enticing young people with hip hop themes and lollipop flavors,” said Paul Porter of Industry Ears, a think tank that promotes justice in the media. They are expanding the market with our children” He says.
Flavored cigarettes caused a similar controversy a few months ago when they were introduced. Blast’s competition includes Four Loko, Joose and Tilt. If they want the youth market, maybe they should just bring back Apple Beer, it tasted pretty good and it didn’t get you drunk.