International

19.05.2007  

Pressemitteilung/ Pressrelease CSPI on Spykes

As reported today in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press, Anheuser-Busch has announced plans to cease production of Spykes, the controversial sweet candy-flavored, caffeinated malt beverage that has been attacked by prevention groups and state attorneys general for its appeal to young people.  An A-B spokesman attributed the decision to the product's "limited volume potential and unfounded criticism."  CSPI's George Hacker responded with a statement released to the press today (see below).  Coupled with the company's tanking "Bud.TV" website, this is an object lesson for the nation's biggest brewer, a victory for public health and safety, and proof that the public will not tolerate the aggressive marketing of alcohol to young people.

 


 

PRESS RELEASE: Friday, May 18, 2007

Last Call for Anheuser-Busch’s Ill-Considered ‘Spykes’ Drink

Statement of CSPI Alcohol Policies Director George A. Hacker

Anheuser-Busch did the responsible thing, if begrudgingly, by pouring its caffeinated, child-friendly alcoholic drink known as Spykes down the drain. But the real question is how this ill-considered product slithered from the drawing board to the assembly line in the first place. One also wonders whether the company truly hit bottom with Spykes or whether it will again stoop to market kid-friendly drinks after the furor subsides.

I hope this episode sparks greater caution in the Anheuser-Busch boardroom about the extent to which its marketing appeals to minors. Certainly, if it were not for Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and 28 other energetic attorneys general, I am sure Spykes would have remained on shelves until lawsuits forced it off.  


Press Release of Marine Institute

SAN RAFAEL, CA (May 17, 2007) --- After just a few short months of
threatening teens, Anheuser-Busch's 12% alcohol flavored malt beverage
called “Spykes” have been permanently withdrawn from the U.S. market.  The
announcement, made yesterday by August Busch, IV, CEO of Anheuser-Busch,
was immediately applauded by public health advocates nationwide.

Spykes were A-B’s latest brazen attempt to market to teens. They were
nail-polish-bottle-size, alcohol shots to add to beer or drink straight.
Coming in flavors seductively called hot melon, spicy mango, hot chocolate
and spicy lime they made a splash on teen Internet chat rooms as well as
among upset parents and public health advocates. Many organizations and
individuals spoke out against the product over the past two months.  To
their credit, it has now been shown that Big Alcohol, in this case
Anheuser-Busch, can be contained.  Special credit goes to the 29 States
Attorneys General who blasted the drink just last week for failing Federal
labeling regulations.

Additional embarrassment came Anheuser-Busch's way last month when an
alcohol product-labeling bill, AB 346 (Jim Beall, D- San Jose), was
introduced in the California State Assembly. The measure takes special aim
at deceptively packaged and labeled "alcopops" - sweet, fruity alcohol
laced beverages, like Spykes, that have particular appeal to underage
drinkers.  (A summary of that legislative activity is available at
http://www.marininstitute.org/alcopops/alcopops_legis.htm

"Spykes were 12% alcohol depth-charges meant to be mixed with beer," said
Bruce Livingston, Executive Director of Marin Institute, the alcohol
industry watchdog that helped lead the charge against the stealth beverage.
"They were clearly designed to appeal to teenage girls. We can only hope
that August Busch will think twice in the future before pushing more
alcopops at kids.” 
More on Spykes http://www.marininstitute.org/alcopops/spykes.htm

 

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