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WASHINGTON ( -- A consumer group today accused alcohol companies of designing ads for new so-called alcopop drinks to appeal to youths
Read the survey summary.
who don't like the taste of hard liquor.

George Hacker, the director of alcohol policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said two national surveys show that more children than adults are familiar with the products, which are usually fruit-flavored malt-based beverages and carry names like "hard lemonade" or "spiked lemonade."

Tougher labels sought
Mr. Hacker said the center along with several other groups are asking the Federal Trade Commission and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to investigate the industry's marketing of the drinks. They want current labels to be revoked and revisions made to them to prominently display alcohol content.

They also are asking the FTC to require alcohol companies to submit "underage impact statements."

Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute, said today that though consumers like "malternatives," including ciders, wine coolers and sweet wines, underage drinking and drunken driving has declined. He said underage drinking is a societal and family issue, "not an advertising issue."

The drinks criticized today, though mostly malt-based, are marketed both by brewers and distillers. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is often critical of food and alcohol companies.

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