The makers of Colt 45 malt liquor have stirred up a controversy with a new beverage that some fear will encourage kids to drink. 18 state attorneys general – both Republicans and Democrats and from a wide range of states sent a letter to Pabst asking it to take Blast off the market.
Blast is a fruity new blend boasting twice the alcohol as Pabst Brewing Co.'s original malt liquor. The drink in a colorful 23.5-ounce can resembles soda pop but has an alcohol content of 12%, more potent than a typical can of beer.
"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. Blast comes in such flavors as grape, strawberry watermelon and blueberry pomegranate. According to the state Attorney Generals, each can of the product, which comes as large as 23.5 ounces, is equal to drinking as much as five servings of alcohol.
It is being promoted on hip-hop radio stations, at concerts, and by popular hip-hop/rap artist Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg, a presenter at Nickleodeon’s Kids Choice Awards, has been asked to withdraw his endorsement of the controversial Blast beverage.The fruit flavors, as well as the marketing, is oriented towards youthful drinkers, maintain the AGs, who have a history of getting such products removed from the market. Pabst, in a statement, denied it is marketing the product to underage drinkers.
In describing Blast, the chairman of Pabst, Dean Metropoulous, called it a “uniquely positioned product.” The company then described a marketing campaign that appears to be heavily aimed at the African-American community because of the campaign’s heavy use of hip-hop concerts and radio stations.
In order to cooperate with FDA regulations, Blast by Colt does not contain caffeine, taurine, or guarana. The drink’s slogan is “Works Every Time”.