Monday, August 20, 2007


Alcopops [also known as Flavoured Alcoholic Beverages, Malternatives, or Premium Malt Beverages] is a term used to describe bottled alcoholic beverages that resemble drinks such as soft drinks and lemonade, because of its very sweet and non-beer like taste. Some examples of Alcopops include Mike's Hard Lemonade, Zima, Sminoff Ice, Bicardi Silver or Twisted Tea Hard Ice Tea.

The controversy surrounding the Alcopop products is that they appeal to teenagers and these products need to be regulated in a different way then beer. In response to pressure from parent groups, faith-based groups and safety and health advocates, California regulators voted last week to raise taxes from 20 cents per gallon to $3.30 per gallon starting in July 2008 on Alcopops. Gary Galanis, a vice president of Diageo North America, responded to the decision stating the "It's access. It's about how kids get alcohol in their hands. This will do nothing to address that issue".

Mr. Galanis is partly right. In the world of cigarettes we are finally seeing the number of cigarettes sold and the number smoking adults reduce after years and years of growth. This was not accomplished by increased cigarette tax alone but rather a multi-pronged approach including inside smoking bans, reduced tobacco advertising and marketing, heightened levels of age verification and increased public awareness of the hazards of smoking. All of these actions in concert has begun the much needed reduction in smoking in the US and the problem of underage drinking will need a similar multilevel approach for it to have any effect.

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