Alcoholic beverage targets youths
Alcopops are alcoholic beverages that are sweet and taste similar to soda, juice or energy drinks. They are often found in cans that resemble a soda can or an energy drink can. A lot of people don't recognize that these beverages contain alcohol because of their similarities to nonalcoholic energy drinks. We believe the information about these harmful beverages needs to get out. These drinks are targeted at youth and 78 percent of drinkers who consume alcopops are between the ages of 13-14.
Additionally, alcopops are being sold and taxed as a malt beverage and are being sold at normal stores, when in fact they contain liquor and have been wrongly classified as beer instead. These beverages should be sold in ABC stores, not the common grocery store or gas station. Alcopops start out as a malt, the malt is removed, and then liquor, sugar and flavorings are added to them. They are often packaged in bright colors with youthful themes. And because these drinks are being sold in regular convenience stores, it makes it that much easier for youth to get their hands on it.
State law defines “liquor” as a “distilled or ethyl alcohol, including spirits … in closed containers for beverage use regardless of their dilution.” This means, if a product contains any amount of liquor, it must be classified, sold and taxed as liquor.
Alcopops have liquor in them and should be properly classified as liquor. Reclassifying these harmful products will help contribute to the prevention of underage drinking by making them less affordable and available to youth. We urge you to “Take it Back” North Carolina by calling or writing your local legislators and NC ABC Commission to let them know that you want alcopops properly classified as liquor for the sake of our community's youth.
Jenna Messer, WHS student