FTC REJECTS 'ALCOPOP' MARKETING ACCUSATION

Says Malt Beverage Advertising Is Not Taregeting Kids

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The Federal Trade Commission rejected charges by a consumer group that accused brewers of targeting children with sweeting-tasting malt beverage products.

The Center for the

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Science in the Public Interest last year accused alcohol companies of designing ads for so-called alcopop drinks to appeal to youths who don't like the taste of hard alcohol.

In a letter sent this week to the center, the FTC, which investigated the claims along with the Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said that while there may be a need for better labeling the beverages' alcohol percentage, a look at marketing plans in 10 cities found no evidence advertising was targeting those under the legal drinking age.

"We do not believe that the available information supports the conclusion that the new flavored malt beverages ... are targeted to minors," said the letter, which was signed by J. Howard Beales, director of the bureau of consumer protection.

The Beer Institute issued a statement saying it was pleased with the decision.

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