A single can of Pabst Co.’s 12 percent alcohol, 23.5-ounce, fruit-flavored ‘alcopop’ meets national standard for ‘binge drinking’
SAN FRANCISCO (April 21, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today joined 17 attorneys general from U.S. states and one territory to call on Pabst Brewing Company to stop selling “Blast by Colt 45,” a highly intoxicating, supersized alcoholic beverage marketed to young consumers. The Woodridge, Ill.-based company launched the new product earlier this month in a colorful array of 23.5 ounce single serving cans and assorted flavors that include grape, strawberry lemonade, strawberry watermelon, and blueberry pomegranate. With an alcohol concentration of 12 percent, a single can of Blast contains the equivalent of nearly five servings of alcohol — which, if consumed within an hour, meets the standard for “binge drinking” as defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The jointly signed letter from Herrera and attorneys general from Arizona, California, Connecticut, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington describes the product as a “binge-in-a-can” targeted at youth. The coalition of public law enforcement offices urges Pabst to take immediate steps to address the serious public health and safety risk of the product by significantly reducing the number of servings in single containers. The letter also insists that Pabst ensure that its marketing does not impliedly target audiences under the legal drinking age.
“Just as we’re seeing real progress from companies and regulators to address the dangers of ‘alcopops,’ along comes fruit-flavored ‘binge-in-a-can,'” said Herrera. “When people open a chilled, carbonated beverage, they tend to drink it before it goes warm and flat. That Pabst actually printed ‘Please drink responsibly’ on a 23.5-ounce can, with 12 percent alcohol, is just absurd. You can’t drink it responsibly unless you throw most of it away. There’s nothing responsible about ‘Blast,’ and Pabst needs to fix it.”
Herrera previously worked with a number of the same attorneys general to reach a successful pact with MillerCoors in 2008, in which the company agreed to stop producing caffeinated alcoholic beverages like Sparks, following studies that found the drinks to be unsafe and often illegally marketed to young people. Herrera and the attorneys general also successfully urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue warning letters in late 2010 finding that caffeine and other stimulants in alcoholic beverages are unsafe food additives, thereby making the products “adulterated” under federal law. A copy of the letter from the state attorneys general and City Attorney Herrera is available on the City Attorney’s Web site at: https://www.sfcityattorney.org/ .
PDF of the ‘Binge in a can’ letter to Pabst presskit (April 21, 2011)