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Anheuser-Busch: Spike "Spykes"
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, April 07, 2007

OK, this is going to be a bit controversial.

I've not been a big fan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest for the most part. The CSPI has, in the past, issued alarmist reports, mostly on food products, which I felt overstated their case. Understanding the intense competition out there to grab the public's attention, I understood their techniques even while deploring them.

However, in this case I'm not so sure I don't agree with them:
Anheuser-Busch's smallest product is raising big concerns among some who believe it entices minors.

"Spykes" is a 2-ounce bottle of flavored malt beverage meant to be mixed with beer or other drinks, or consumed as a shot. Packaged in colorful bottles, Spykes holds 12 percent alcohol by volume. The St. Louis-based maker of Budweiser and Bud Light test-marketed the drink in 2005 and rolled it out more broadly last year. It is available in 30 states, including Connecticut.

"Spykes is a predatory move to attract underage drinkers," Joseph Califano Jr., chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, said in a statement.

Not so, according to the brewery. Anheuser-Busch told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Spykes is part of an effort to respond to adults — especially those 21 to 29 — looking for innovative alcoholic beverages with diverse flavors and mixtures.

Critics say those characteristics are attractive to underage drinkers. They say the flavor masks the strong taste of alcohol.

Spykes comes in four flavors — lime, mango, melon and hot chocolate. It also contains caffeine, ginseng and guarana, which are components of energy drinks popular among teens and young adults.

"There may be a young adult market for this, but it's not just young adults — it skews much younger than that," said George Hacker, director of alcohol policies at the Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has long been a critic of Anheuser-Busch.
Let's be clear about something here before we go on. Anheuser-Busch has the right to put any legal product it chooses to produce on the market. That's a given. But that doesn't mean it is immune from criticism and resistance.

Looking carefully at the product as described here, you have 2 oz, 12% alcohol by volume flavored mixers designed to be added to other drinks (such as energy drinks?) to include alcoholic drinks such as beer to, one assumes, make the mixed flavor more enjoyable. So, in some cases they're talking about taking a 12 oz beer which may be 5+% ABV and adding two more oz of 12% ABV, correct?

Why? Well think about how acquired a taste beer is folks. The first time I tasted beer, as a teen, I hated it. It was a bit like the first time I drank black coffee (which I now enjoy). I couldn't stand it. So I added what? Cream and sugar, of course. This isn't any different in reality.

Anheuser-Busch makes beer. That's their primary product line. And they want to sell more if it ... that's no secret. However, they are not going to entice older beer drinkers to put that garbage in their beer. But for the "I drink for the buzz" crowd - and having been a vested member of that club when in my teens - this is perfect. Makes the beer you still haven't learned to like taste better and puts more alcohol by volume in it too boot. All-in-all a buzz seekers delight.

Of course at some point, if buzz is your game, why drink the beer at all? 2 oz pops that will get you there sooner are perfect. And, they're easier to hide to boot.

As most of us who've raised kids know, teenage binge drinking is a serious problem. There is a personal component to my resistance to this product, but that'll remain private. I add it only for full disclosure:
The average age when youth first try alcohol is 11 years for boys and 13 years for girls. The average age at which Americans begin drinking regularly is 15.9 years old.

According to research by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, adolescents who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.

[...]

The three leading causes of death for 15- to 24-year-olds are automobile crashes, homicides and suicides — alcohol is a leading factor in all three.

[...]

Binge drinking, often beginning around age 13, tends to increase during adolescence, peak in young adulthood (ages 18-22), then gradually decrease. Individuals who increase their binge drinking from age 18 to 24 and those who consistently binge drink at least once a week during this period may have problems attaining the goals typical of the transition from adolescence to young adulthood (e.g., marriage, educational attainment, employment, and financial independence).
Are we interested in seeing that problem encouraged?

Now I want to ask you a question. Given your understanding of the product - 2 oz flavored malt beverages in flavors that appeal to teenagers, who is A-B targeting with this product? They say "young adults" from 21 - 29, who want "innovative" and "diverse" flavors for their alcoholic drinks. But what else would they say? What else can they say?

Let's be clear here - A-B may not be purposely targeting underage drinkers, but they'd be hard pressed to claim these products wouldn't be of prime interest to them. In fact, the products would most likely be sought out by underage drinkers who, for the most part, don't like the taste of beer or alcohol particularly, but do crave the buzz it brings.

Amazingly, they're "perplexed" by the criticism:
"As with all of our products, we encourage the responsible consumption of Spykes," Francine Katz, Anheuser-Busch's vice president of communications and consumer affairs, said in a statement.

Katz also noted that the brewery and its wholesalers had spent more than $500 million since 1982 to prevent alcohol abuse, including underage drinking.

"Frankly, we're perplexed at this criticism," she said.
Well yeah, Ms. Katz, Philip Morris printed warnings on the side of their cigarette packages warning their product could kill people all the while attempting to expand their market share, so I guess I'm perplexed at you being perplexed. Mouthing platitudes about responsible drinking while rolling out a product that will most likely lead to irresponsible drinking doesn't particularly impress me.

Corporations, are indeed in the business to make money and provide positive returns to their investors. That's fine. Everyone understands that. But corporations should also understand that they also have a responsibility to the society in which they operate to act responsibly.

One of the ways to ensure corporations live up to such responsibilities is to criticize their attempts to introduce products which may target a very vulnerable portion of the population and exacerbate an already serious problem. Obviously it is a matter of opinion and then principle on behalf of the critics.

If, in fact, the corporation doesn't react to the criticism in a responsible manner, then boycotting them becomes the next step in escalating the pressure. It is that bottom line where many times the point can finally be made.

A note: It should be clear to anyone who has taken the time to read this carefully that I am not, nor have I ever, even intimated that I want government involvement in stopping this product from going to market. Instead I'm calling for consumers troubled by this product and it's potential to be abused by a vulnerable part of the population to do the work of letting A-B know that they disapprove and why. Let the market do the work, not the government.

Anheuser-Busch: spike "Spykes".
 
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Comments
Frankly, I don’t hold the folks who make booze responsible at any level for teen drinking. Not even if they marketed a drink called "Teen Blitzed".

First off, it’s illegal to sell the stuff to kids. Maybe there should be prison time for selling it to minors, I don’t know. I do know that it doesn’t do a hell of a lot to slow down the problem that kids these days do whatever the hell they want, and if their idiocy has a negative side-effect, mommy and daddy will save them and never hold them responsible. It’s "Blame Canada" in beer-company form.
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
and why stop there? Smirnoff Ice, Mike’s hard lemonade, Boone’s farm flavored wines, Peach and Blackberry Schnaaps are all obviously aimed at underage drinkers. In fact, any mixed drink that uses a sweet mixer (rum and coke, margeritas, etc.) probably skews that way too. Let’s limit limit drinking to "bad" tasting drinks - that’ll work really well.
 
Written By: Jimbo
URL: http://
and why stop there?
Indeed. Stop where you think you need too.

Operative word: "you".
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I think Jimbo was taking the idea too far on purpose. I hope...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
1. Spykes sounds useful to me. I encorage A-B to churn them out by the bazillion.

2. I don’t believe in "vulnerable" teenagers, nor do I believe in "dependence" or "addiction".

I’ll end by observing three strategies for surviving Stalinism by three writers; Osip Mandelshtam defied Stalin, Isaac Babel tried to say the right things and Yuri Olesha got drunk and stayed drunk for the rest of his life. Mandelshtam and Babel failed and Olesha survived - kind of. Given general trends, who is to say that A-B is doing vulnerable youth a disservice?
 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: http://www.no-treason.com
Times must have changed in the few years since I turned legal. When I was a kid alcohol was such a precious comodity that we usually bought in bulk (everclear). We were poor and we wouldn’t go out and buy 5 dollar shots to mix with beer. A community bottle of liquor and some mixer from Wal Mart. I honestly think these ’spykes’ will be more of a successful with an older (and in my experience female) demographic. People who just don’t like the taste of beer. Kids will do anything to abuse alcohol.
 
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
I agree with Ryan, BTW, I liked beer the very first time I tasted it, and I was fifteen. Part of the reason our society has such a big problem with teen drinking (as opposed to other nations) is because we make such a big deal of it, we forbid them from trying it (so they do so in secret) and we do not teach them how to handle and respect liquor. The result; binge drinking.
 
Written By: kyleN
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Rya, it’s WAY more common now... They all have cash to blow, they get some older guy who wants to bang the 16 year-old, get him to buy the goods...

It’s freakish. I could find a college (or even a high school) party when the weather gets better, and have my choice of booze. It’s disgusting...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Beer was supposed to be an acquired taste? I’d have preferred beer (or Scotch) to anything melon-flavored right from the beginning.

I think Kyle is right. The problem arises from not teaching them how to drink. Learning on your own isn’t the best way — just like teaching yourself to drive a car would be problematic.
 
Written By: Grim
URL: http://
The hysteria concerning youth alcohol consumption today is similar to the hysteria of the ‘60’s about youth drug use. National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information is one of a number of organizations seemly dedicated to return the Nation to the tea totaling days of Prohibition. They support the agenda of “forces for good in the community” busybodies who know what is best for everyone. Like the proponents of human caused global warming, or any other interest groups, their statistics bare scrutiny.

As a Nation with Puritan roots we always have had prigs like Bill Bennet, Bill O’Reilly, and Laura Schlesinger who eschew any form of pleasure. They stand today in the footsteps of the Carrie Nations of an earlier time. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union has been replaced by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Fighting pleasure is now a Federal responsibility.


"Ya got trouble, - my friend, Right here, I say trouble right here in River City” today’s "Professor" Harold Hill is played by “Uncle Sam” and like any bureaucracy it is necessary to escalate the danger to escalate funding.

Spykes is the perfect target for demonizing. It fits into the picture, presented by the forces for good, of an alcohol besotted teenage population staggering from one hook up to the next.

It is the job of each teenage generation to scandalize their parents. Today’s generation is doing its job, perhaps too good a job, and scaring the bejeasus out of the older generation. That is not a good reason for America’s jihad against pleasure.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information is one of a number of organizations seemly dedicated to return the Nation to the tea totaling days of Prohibition.
Not at all germane to the discussion and a prime example of attacking the messenger and ignoring the message.
It is the job of each teenage generation to scandalize their parents. Today’s generation is doing its job, perhaps too good a job, and scaring the bejeasus out of the older generation. That is not a good reason for America’s jihad against pleasure.
American jihad? No hyperbole there, eh Jim?

Did you miss this:
The three leading causes of death for 15- to 24-year-olds are automobile crashes, homicides and suicides — alcohol is a leading factor in all three.
Now, believe it or not, I remember what it was like to be 16, take awful chances and make stupid decisions because I was sure that I was immortal and liking the buzz alcohol gave me even if I didn’t like the taste. Or said another way, I drank to get drunk. I mean, how else does one gag down cherry vodka in quantities enough to produce drunkeness? And then I drove a car ... often. I often marvel at the fact that I somehow survived those years and am alive today. I’m equally amazed that I didn’t kill someone else as well. I certainly came quite close any number of times. Pure luck, I suppose.

I certainly don’t believe that spiking Spyke will change that dynamic. Teens are still going to make awful and stupid decisions and many will involve alcohol. But I know, at least in the case of Spyke, and assuming the pull the product, that it, at least, won’t be further enabling it.

My point is there are plenty of opportunities out there for A-B to make other products that will appeal to the prime demographic (uh, that’s folks over 21) without enticing the demographic which has the worst problem with irresponsible use of alcohol among those who seem least equipped to handle it, or try to for that matter. And I’m asking them to consider pulling the product for those reasons.

Whether or not they do is completely up to them, of course.

How’s that an "American jihad?"
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The hysteria concerning youth alcohol consumption today is similar to the hysteria of the ‘60’s about youth drug use. National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information is one of a number of organizations seemly dedicated to return the Nation to the tea totaling days of Prohibition.
I am opposed to the government’s drug war for libertarian reasons, but at the same time I am occasionally annoyed by the way libertarians tend to minimize the problems associated with drug abuse, or even to romanticize it.

I saw first hand, up close and personal, the devastation created by the crack epidemic of the 1980’s. That drug destroyed the lives of countless of its users, and its ripple effects destroyed the lives of users’ friends, families, dependents, even whole communities. For a while, whole areas of Los Angeles resembled Night of the Living Dead during the 1980’s.

Now I am seeing something similar occurring with Meth. That drug creates zombies who end up destroying everything around them.

Even though I want to get the government out of the drug war I do support private efforts to discourage young people from getting involved with drugs like this, and I think that people who associate such efforts with kill-joys and prigs are still stuck in the 1960’s. These people do not recognize that the street drugs out there today are not comparable in any way with the mild weed that they smoked back in the day.

 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Now I want to ask you a question. Given your understanding of the product - 2 oz flavored malt beverages in flavors that appeal to teenagers, who is A-B targeting with this product? They say "young adults" from 21 - 29, who want "innovative" and "diverse" flavors for their alcoholic drinks. But what else would they say? What else can they say?
I don’t think they’re being disingenuous here. A-B is trying to compete with the Red Bull market. Haven’t you ever heard anyone order a Vodka and Red Bull? They’re quite popular (and yummy) especially if you work long hours, go out for a drink, and want to be able to stay out and awake sometime past 9:30. And the flavors don’t so much appeal to teens as much as they appeal to chicks ... er, women.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
"Teens are still going to make awful and stupid decisions and many will involve alcohol."
I grew up in El Paso, Texas, just across the river from Juarez Mexico, where you could drink if you could get the money to the top of the bar. Age was irrelevant. Yet, despite a lot of booze my cohort made out pretty well a half a century later. I don’t believe this generation will do worse.

If we had the attention now being paid to teenagers, the statistics would probably have been similar. Teenagers believe, as we did at that age, they are immortal. You can’t change that. Tell them something is ‘bad’ for them, and they surly, will go out and do it. It’s there nature.
Even though I want to get the government out of the drug war I do support private efforts to discourage young people from getting involved with drugs like this
Information, when accurate, is always good. The problem is when in their zeal to discourage action, they fudge or lie about the facts. Teenagers have excellent B.S. detectors. Set them off with a lie or overstate a danger and you have lost all credibility. This campaign is an example of overreach that turns off those who will listen.
These people do not recognize that the street drugs out there today are not comparable in any way with the mild weed that they smoked back in the day.
“Speed Kills” was one of the mottos of the 60’s generation. They realized some drugs were more dangerous than others. Since then the anti-drug hysteria has given the impression everything you hear from official sources is a lie. It’s no wonder to days generation are making the same mistakes. The claims today’s drugs do not compare with drugs in the 60’s is Government propaganda. Then LSD was available from it’s manufacturer Sandoz, today its ‘bathtub acid’ no where nearly as strong as then. As for weed, the increase in potency means you just smoke less for the same high. As the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers would say, “After a certain point, you don’t get higher, your stash just gets lower.”
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
congrats for a mention of the Freak Brothers, Hadn’t read any since I was about 19.
 
Written By: kyleN
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
They all have cash to blow, they get some older guy who wants to bang the 16 year-old, get him to buy the goods...
According to news reports, today’s teenagers trade joints for beer at concerts. The kids can get the pot easier than the adults, and the adults can get beer easier than pot.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
"They say "young adults" from 21 - 29, who want "innovative" and "diverse" flavors for their alcoholic drinks."

As a former bartender I would say they are probably truthful there. Many people that age, particularly females, dislike the taste of beer or booze. That is why drinks such as Hawaiian Punch, Long Island Iced Tea, B-52, Mudslide, etc. ad inf. were invented, and they are consumed mostly by that demographic. Lots of booze, a quick buzz, and no nasty alcohol taste. I cannot speak for other bartenders, but I despised those drinks and those who drank them. Then there are the more traditional drinks such as rum & coke, whiskey sour, the collins family, daiquiri, also etc. ad inf., also for those who do not care for the taste of alcohol, but an older, more civilized demographic(better tippers, too). Finally, there is the never-ending thirst for plain old tequila shots, beloved by that 21-29 demographic. That particular market is highly competitive.

If you are worried about the small, convenient sizes, check out the shelves behing the register the next time you go to the liquor store(depending on how your state handles liquor sales, of course). In Maryland you can find 2 oz.(approx) bottles of Bailey’s Irish Cream, flavored vodkas, and a multitude of other flavors. The addition of a few more flavors, and only 12% ABV at that, won’t make much difference. In other words, you are too late.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The solution is people making the right decisions regarding the consumption of alcohol (or drugs), not the removal of a product even if it is done by the market instead of the government.
 
Written By: dvorak
URL: http://
The solution is people making the right decisions regarding the consumption of alcohol (or drugs), not the removal of a product even if it is done by the market instead of the government.
Cool. Tell us all about how you do that.

In all seriousness, yes, that’s part of the solution. But, as I assume you must know, it will never be all of the solution. Most solutions are complex and have many different components. What you suggest is one component. What I suggest is another.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Then there are the more traditional drinks such as rum & coke, whiskey sour, the collins family, daiquiri, also etc. ad inf., also for those who do not care for the taste of alcohol, but an older, more civilized demographic(better tippers, too). Finally, there is the never-ending thirst for plain old tequila shots, beloved by that 21-29 demographic. That particular market is highly competitive.
And no appeal at all to underage drinkers, right?
If you are worried about the small, convenient sizes, check out the shelves behing the register the next time you go to the liquor store(depending on how your state handles liquor sales, of course). In Maryland you can find 2 oz.(approx) bottles of Bailey’s Irish Cream, flavored vodkas, and a multitude of other flavors. The addition of a few more flavors, and only 12% ABV at that, won’t make much difference. In other words, you are too late.
Never said I wasn’t late. I’m just saying there’s no need to add fuel to the fire. And I’m appealing to A-B to actually live up to their claim of not wanting to be a party to irresponsible use of their product. Again, it’s an appeal. Whether they do so or not is obviously totally up to them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I despised those drinks and those who drank them
Single Malt Scotch. The only way to fly.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Much like the people who sell guns aren’t responsible for the crook who shoots a store clerk, I don’t think AB is at all responsible for the feckless dolts that are america’s youth getting blitzed on their products...

It’s illegal for them to buy them. Make no difference if they ARE the intended target demographic. It’s a poor business plan that relies on sales to a group that can’t legally buy the product...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Let’s be clear here - A-B may not be purposely targeting underage drinkers, but they’d be hard pressed to claim these products wouldn’t be of prime interest to them. In fact, the products would most likely be sought out by underage drinkers who, for the most part, don’t like the taste of beer or alcohol particularly, but do crave the buzz it brings.

Should the makers of Bailey’s Irish Cream be urged to take it off the market or to make it less tolerable to the tastes of underaged drinkers?
 
Written By: Lynette Warren
URL: http://
Never said I wasn’t late. I’m just saying there’s no need to add fuel to the fire. And I’m appealing to A-B to actually live up to their claim of not wanting to be a party to irresponsible use of their product. Again, it’s an appeal. Whether they do so or not is obviously totally up to them.

Please explain how you can be more irresponsible with a 2 ounce bottle of Spyke containing 12 percent alcohol than with a full-sized bottle of wine cooler at 14 percent alcohol.

Or by "irresponsible" do you mean "irresponsibly spending all your money and hardly getting drunk at all"?
 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: http://www,no-treason.com
And I must say I’m tired of having my entire life determined by what might possibly damage the tender delicate psyches of "teenagers." To hell with them, if they are so hopelessly stupid that they can be induced into alcoholism or car crashes by tiny bottles of wine. A-B shouldn’t back down in the face of unproven and unprovable claims by nitwit "public interest" groups.

Run the grain alcohol plants full bore, A-B! Spykes all around! First kid to choke to death on their own vomit while lying face down in the gutter gets laughed at!
 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: http://www,no-treason.com
In fact, it’d be cool if A-B would take the "Spykes" concept to a whole new level- single use two ounce injector syringes of straight alcohol. You’d get kids learning how to use IV drugs properly, for when they move on to say, heroin. I tell you, watching someone fumble around trying to find a vein for a half-hour or so when you want to get somewhere is just plain annoying. It’s an educational thing.

For the children.
 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: http://www,no-treason.com
Well McQ, its good to see that you are a fellow neo hypocritical-libertarian. And I don’t mean that disparagingly. As with all other ideologies, libertarianism works perfectly in the classrooms, but not so well when faced with real world actualities.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Should the makers of Bailey’s Irish Cream be urged to take it off the market or to make it less tolerable to the tastes of underaged drinkers?
That’s up to you. But I’ve not seen Bailey’s to be the basis of much binge drinking, have you?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Please explain how you can be more irresponsible with a 2 ounce bottle of Spyke containing 12 percent alcohol than with a full-sized bottle of wine cooler at 14 percent alcohol.
Who made the case it was? I’m talking about a specific product presently being rolled out. That doesn’t mean there aren’t products already on the market which are just as bad in that regard.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
And I must say I’m tired of having my entire life determined by what might possibly damage the tender delicate psyches of "teenagers."
Well good for you. Then don’t participate in the appeal.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
For the children
And it’s a personal appeal. I assume you have a problem with that?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Well McQ, its good to see that you are a fellow neo hypocritical-libertarian. And I don’t mean that disparagingly. As with all other ideologies, libertarianism works perfectly in the classrooms, but not so well when faced with real world actualities.
I see nothing hypocritical about a personal appeal to have a product removed. No government involved.

Explain how you see it as such.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The three leading causes of death for 15- to 24-year-olds are automobile crashes, homicides and suicides — alcohol is a leading factor in all three.
What method of death would be preferable for 15-24 year olds? Cancer? War? Spontaneous human combustion?

As a parent of teenagers, one who has committed a multitude of sins, the other who has not:

I’m always puzzled by today’s parents who seem to remember this time 20 or 30 years ago when nobody drank alcohol or did drugs. I went to high school and college 20 years ago and nothing anybody is describing about the alcohol usage of today’s youth would have been out of place then. When I went to college they had just changed the drinking age to 21 and all the upper classmen were still telling tales of the beer companies pulling trucks up behind the dorms and dispensing free beer until you puked. Drunk co’eds always went to the front of line of course. And if you ever talked to an alumni who was on campus in the 70’s, you knew they had stories that could never be topped in the boring old 1980’s.

My point is that this is not a new phenomenon and focusing so much parental outrage on it is probably counter-productive. Just like Nancy Reagan’s "just say no" was a huge joke in my high school, the joke literally got old when every time somebody lit up it was a ritual to say "just say no" and laugh.

I’m much more cenerned that this generation of teenagers is much more spoiled, pampered and live their lives with an indignant sense of entitlement, probably the result of the self-esteem movement in the schools. The lack of any sort of work ethic or sense of having to earn anything is apalling.

Or maybe they are just like every other teenagers who have walked the planet, its hard to tell from the parent side.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
"And no appeal at all to underage drinkers, right?"

If all alcoholic beverages tasted like horse manure, they would still appeal to underage drinkers. The object of underage drinking is to get buzzed as cheaply as possible, not to enjoy the taste. Speaking of cost, if the price of these Spyke things is high enough, it is a non-problem. Paying $2.00 or so (just a guess) for what amounts to a shot of wine is not cost-effective for underage drinkers. Kids may not have degrees in accounting or economics, but they intuitively grasp the concept of buzz-per-dollar.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Single Malt Scotch. The only way to fly."

I must say, your taste is a bit parochial.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Single Malt Scotch
Dry Chopin Vodka Martini’s
A Czech Pilsener (not Bavarian, thanks very much)
A nice Cabernet Sauvignon or Beaujolais

Those are a few of my favorite things. Oh yeah, gotta say that I liked beer from the first time I tasted it. Scotch and Bourbon too, wine was a more acquired taste. Never liked sweet or fruity alcoholic beverages at all.

While we are on the topic, I think that alcohol laws, puritanical attitudes and parents have far more to do with teen drinking problems than what the booze makers are doing. Having lived in Europe for quite a few years, I have to say that my anecdotal experience reinforced that perception. For that reason, I refuse to say anything negative about booze makers, they aren’t the problem. Mrs. Grundy and her government and parent enablers are.
 
Written By: Adam Selene
URL: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/
McQ wrote:
Should the makers of Bailey’s Irish Cream be urged to take it off the market or to make it less tolerable to the tastes of underaged drinkers?
That’s up to you. But I’ve not seen Bailey’s to be the basis of much binge drinking, have you?
Yes, but that’s beside the point.

You’ve presented your criteria for a boycott as 1) a drink that an underaged person would enjoy and 2) that can be the basis of much binge drinking. That would encompass beer, any number of tasty liquers, and a large selection of 80 proof and above beverages.

You’ve going to be a busy man in this endeavor to save the world from young binge drinkers.





 
Written By: Lynette Warren
URL: http://
Me: "The solution is people making the right decisions regarding the consumption of alcohol (or drugs), not the removal of a product even if it is done by the market instead of the government."

McQ: "Cool. Tell us all about how you do that."
Me again: Education. Good parenting. Harsh punishment for law breakers.
McQ again: "In all seriousness, yes, that’s part of the solution. But, as I assume you must know, it will never be all of the solution. Most solutions are complex and have many different components. What you suggest is one component. What I suggest is another."
Me again again: For a persuasive case you need to explain why this product and not others. ’This one is starting and others are already established’ is not convincing. ’It is just a bit too tasty’ is not convincing.

Efforts are better directed to convincing the underaged not to drink (or at least to do so responsibly for those who are not fans of the drinking age) than to a company who wants to offer options to its customers.

 
Written By: dvorak
URL: http://
You’ve presented your criteria for a boycott as 1) a drink that an underaged person would enjoy and 2) that can be the basis of much binge drinking. That would encompass beer, any number of tasty liquers, and a large selection of 80 proof and above beverages.
Actually those aren’t the criteria for my boycott at all.

The appeal has to do with drinks/products which enable binge drinking by making it easier (more enjoyable?) to drink to excess. The fact that there are already many products out there that enable it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t take exception to a new one or appeal for it’s removal.

Obviously such an appeal might have more traction before the product is fully rolled out than afterward (and after it is established in the market).
You’ve going to be a busy man in this endeavor to save the world from young binge drinkers.
Not what I’m attempting at all. I’m attempting to get a large corporation to not market a new product that, in my opinion, will further enable binge drinking. The point is to do it before their financial point of no return is reached.

Like anything else, such efforts have to start with a first step.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Efforts are better directed to convincing the underaged not to drink (or at least to do so responsibly for those who are not fans of the drinking age) than to a company who wants to offer options to its customers.
We disagree. I think, as I stated previously, that it is a combination of approaches which will help the situation. Pretending that "good parenting" is the exclusive answer is simply a non-starter.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
How about if we change the damn Puritan culture that wants to make things illegal, forbidden or regulated because they don’t like them. This, in my opinion, is much more likely to lead to binge drinking by teens than a new niche product from a booze manufacturer. This culture is counter-intuitive and destructive. Mrs. Grundy has much more to do with teen drinking than Anheuser-Busch.
 
Written By: Adam Selene
URL: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/
McQ wrote:
I’m attempting to get a large corporation to not market a new product that, in my opinion, will further enable binge drinking. The point is to do it before their financial point of no return is reached.
When, in fact, every new alcoholic beverage will further enable binge drinking so, even if you and the Center for Science in the Public Interest succeed in getting Spykes removed from the market, you’ve accomplished effectively nothing toward stopping binge drinking.

I understand CSPI’s motivation for it’s legal efforts against Anheuser-Busch. They have a victim constituency to cultivate and phobias to synthesize. However, it wouldn’t do much of anything for you, personally, aside from feeding the delusion that you did something to prevent alcohol related mishaps.
 
Written By: Lynette Warren
URL: http://
McQ,
Let’s be clear about something here before we go on. Anheuser-Busch has the right to put any legal product it chooses to produce on the market. That’s a given.
But you also consider it a given that you and others are entitled to determine whether they may market this product or not, correct?
 
Written By: John T. Kennedy
URL: http://no-treason.com
John T. Kennedy:
But you also consider it a given that you and others are entitled to determine whether they may market this product or not, correct?
Actually, I think that McQ believes that it is his right to freely speak out on this subject. He also believes that it is his right to take such actions as he deems are appropriate to convince Anheuser-Busch to change their mind and not market this product. I have yet to see him write anything that suggests that he is entitled to determine anything regarding what products they can market.

There is a significant difference between I, as an individual, believing that something you are doing is wrong and believing that I have the privilege of preventing you from doing it because I believe it is wrong.

Now, I happen to think McQ is on the wrong track here, but that I don’t think I’m entitled to determine what track he should follow. See the difference?
 
Written By: Adam Selene
URL: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/
As far as I can tell, many libertarians think that because an individual criticizes a company they are advocating some sort of government intervention. I happen to really dislike the predatory behavior of Microsoft, and I regularly say so. That doesn’t mean that I advocate government intrusion into the marketplace. McQ doesn’t like A-B’s behavior that he deems predatory towards teen drinkers. But, that doesn’t mean he advocates government intrusion.

Dogmatic libertarians seem to believe that nothing negative should be said about corporations because it’s "their right" to do what they want, or something.
 
Written By: Adam Selene
URL: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/
How about if we change the damn Puritan culture that wants to make things illegal, forbidden or regulated because they don’t like them.
Well that’s fine, except I’m not advocating making anything illegal, forbidden or regulated in this post.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
But you also consider it a given that you and others are entitled to determine whether they may market this product or not, correct?
I’m certainly entitled to an opinion, but I have no coercive power which entitles me to ’determine’ whether or not they market this product.

So, to answer you question, "no."
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Actually, I think that McQ believes that it is his right to freely speak out on this subject. He also believes that it is his right to take such actions as he deems are appropriate to convince Anheuser-Busch to change their mind and not market this product. I have yet to see him write anything that suggests that he is entitled to determine anything regarding what products they can market.
Bingo, Adam. Probably most instructive about this entire thread has been the reaction. Knees are jerking and assumptions are being made that don’t necessarily coincide with the facts at hand.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Dogmatic libertarians seem to believe that nothing negative should be said about corporations because it’s "their right" to do what they want, or something.
Game, set and match.

Thanks, Adam.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"The appeal has to do with drinks/products which enable binge drinking by making it easier (more enjoyable?) to drink to excess."

So how do these new things enable binge drinking more than what is already available?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
When, in fact, every new alcoholic beverage will further enable binge drinking so, even if you and the Center for Science in the Public Interest succeed in getting Spykes removed from the market, you’ve accomplished effectively nothing toward stopping binge drinking.
That’s effectively not true. The success of spiking Spykes may lead to similar successes, A-B can tout it as a "responsible move by a purveyor of alcoholic beverages" (thereby enhancing their corporate image) and the possibility of shaming established products off the shelf as the culture changes are always possibilities.
I understand CSPI’s motivation for it’s legal efforts against Anheuser-Busch. They have a victim constituency to cultivate and phobias to synthesize. However, it wouldn’t do much of anything for you, personally, aside from feeding the delusion that you did something to prevent alcohol related mishaps.
CSPI isn’t the point of the post, nor am I concerned or interested in their reasons for pursuing A-B. Mine are for the reasons stated.

And these activities are certainly no more delusional than thinking a libertarian or An/Cap society has any chance of establishing itself in the US, are they? But that doesn’t stop us from pursuing it as a goal, does it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
every new alcoholic beverage will further enable binge drinking so, even if you and the Center for Science in the Public Interest succeed in getting Spykes removed from the market, you’ve accomplished effectively nothing toward stopping binge drinking.
That’s effectively not true.
You won’t acknowledge the basic fact that every new alcoholic beverage and (all of the old ones) will further enable binge drinking. Bit of a rational disconnect going on there for you, McQ, probably a result of your personal issues with the drink. But that doesn’t let you off the hook anymore than it does any grief-stricken, "feel our pain" MADD mother who would raise the drinking age to 45, if given half the chance. In fact, your contention on this issue is really just the old assault weapons ban argument recycled for alcoholic beverages.

Ugly, black guns wreak more havoc than good old, brown guns and tutti frutti liquor drinks wreak more havoc than good old fashioned straight shots of traditional high proof drinks.

No restriction on assault weapons ever did a bit of good and neither would your proposed restrictions on flavored alcoholic beverages.
 
Written By: Lynette Warren
URL: http://
McQ,
So, to answer you question, "no."
You don’t believe you and others are entitled to outlaw such products by democratic means?
 
Written By: John T. Kennedy
URL: http://no-treason.com
You won’t acknowledge the basic fact that every new alcoholic beverage and (all of the old ones) will further enable binge drinking.
Absolutely incorrect. I have no problem whatsoever acknowledging that. What I’ve said is you have to start somewhere. And this is where I choose to start.
No restriction on assault weapons ever did a bit of good and neither would your proposed restrictions on flavored alcoholic beverages.
I’m not asking for restrictions on flavored alcoholic beverages, I’m asking that a single product be pulled from the market before it is fully rolled out. Again, that’s where I start.

It’s interesting, though, how you avoided my reference to a liberarian or an/cap society and how my and your continued pursuit would likely not do a "bit of good". Do we only pursue things which we’re sure will do a "bit of good"?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net
You don’t believe you and others are entitled to outlaw such products by democratic means?
Entitled?

Outlaw?

If you mean, ban by legislation, law, or legal means the answer is no.

I have no such entitlement nor do I seek the use or help of the law.

I’m not sure how many times I have to say this before it clicks, but this is a private appeal.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net
McQ,

You originally wrote:
Let’s be clear about something here before we go on. Anheuser-Busch has the right to put any legal product it chooses to produce on the market. That’s a given.
If there is no right to outlaw products then why did you qualify Anheuser-Busch’s right with legality? If there is no right to outlaw products then don’t they have just as much right to offer illegal products as legal ones?

 
Written By: John T. Kennedy
URL: http://no-treason.com
McQ asked:
these activities are certainly no more delusional than thinking a libertarian or An/Cap society has any chance of establishing itself in the US, are they?
The chance for anarchocapitalism in the US is pretty slim, at best. The chance of making binge drinking decrease with selective product recalls and bans is zero.
But that doesn’t stop us from pursuing it as a goal, does it?
Yes. It does.

I don’t pursue a libertarian or ancap society, as a goal. I prefer strategies that insulate me, individually, from your government and your collectivist allies at MADD and the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The return on those strategies are sometimes limited, but most often they are immediate and measurable.

I won’t waste my time on ineffective, emotionally driven, poorly thought-out corporation boycotts like the one you’re advocating. It’s a waste of time and it requires you to check reality at the door of the project.

 
Written By: Lynette Warren
URL: http://
How about if we change the damn Puritan culture that wants to make things illegal, forbidden or regulated because they don’t like them.
Well that’s fine, except I’m not advocating making anything illegal, forbidden or regulated in this post.
I never said you were. I said that I think the much bigger problem is our Puritan culture and Mrs. Grundy. I am advocating changing that culture rather than trying to get A-B to pull Spykes off the shelf.

P.S. you and I know each other in person. We met in Atlanta at a gathering Brad Warbiany put together. *smiles* something to take into consideration when reading my posts. You used to read my now defunct blog with a Heinleinesque name.
 
Written By: Adam Selene
URL: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/
McQ: Pretending that "good parenting" is the exclusive answer is simply a non-starter.

Considering "good parenting" wasn’t the only thing I mentioned, you lose serious debate points. (Not that my list was meant to be all-inclusive either.)

The difficulty of libertarian philosophy is knowing some people will make the wrong choices. I’m ready to be convinced Stykers are just too tempting and must be stopped but I need something more than ’think about the children’ to justify it.

Anyway best of luck to you on your campaign. If they ever market those things with SpongeBob SquarePants toys let me know.
 
Written By: dvorak
URL: http://
And the flavors don’t so much appeal to teens as much as they appeal to chicks ... er, women.

Written By: MichaelW
Exactly . . . these are "leg spreaders" . . .

What’s not to like?
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
And this is where I choose to start.
Sounding like a nannyish a$$, as it happens, although the apron doesn’t suit you.

You are also perfectly free to make like King Canute and order the tide back at swordpoint.

We will also laugh at such foibles whenever you choose to let us know about them.
Lynette-
The chance for anarchocapitalism in the US is pretty slim, at best. The chance of making binge drinking decrease with selective product recalls and bans is zero.
McQ-
But that doesn’t stop us from pursuing it as a goal, does it?
Lynette-
Yes. It does.
And like the lady says, it certainly does if you are rational. Of course, you are free to enjoy tilting at windmills.

Surely there are other ways to feel morally self-satisfied which are coincidentally more productive, at least potentially?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Surely there are other ways to feel morally self-satisfied which are coincidentally more productive, at least potentially?
Yeah, you could always tell others what they should or shouldn’t pursue because one is more "productive" than the other, huh?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The difference McQ, is that I’m not trying to influence your decisions, as you are A-B’s. I’m just laughing at yours instead.

Thank you, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
The difference McQ, is that I’m not trying to influence your decisions, as you are A-B’s. I’m just laughing at yours instead.
That’s fair. At least you’re getting some utility from them.

I mostly skip your stuff, especially when you’re engaged in trying to be my mom.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
First off, I get that this isn’t about the government. This is about our opinions. And my opinion is different from yours. I don’t think this will particularly appeal to teens. I think, like others, this is for twenty-something women.

In my experience, the number one "gateway" binge drink is the same one it was for my parents — Boones Farm Strawberry Hill. It’s cheap, it doesn’t taste like booze, and you can get it anywhere. And you can drink it by the bottle. If they want something to just get f-ed up, then they get Jagger or tequilla. Red Bull and Vodka is a club drink like appletinis and mojitos, not an underground drink.

The proof will be in the ad campaign. If they show a bunch of men and women sitting around a campfire drinking this stuff, then they are shooting for adult women. If they show some hottie getting low in a club drinking this, then it is aimed at teenagers. (At least, that is how I would run the campaign.)
 
Written By: Phelps
URL: http://phelps.donotremove.net
Wow, spirited debate. I just wanted to point out that I support the idea of trying to acquiesce A-B to remove this item from their marketing.I have been a juvenile probation officer for over 16 years and kids are influenced by this type of packaging. If it becomes cool and trendy among kids then it will be consumed. Obviously alcohol is consumed daily by youth and will continue to be consumed.. but asking a company to refrain from making it so enticing to an audience that is ill equipped to handle it (not many adults handle alcohol consumption well) and it is illegal.. can not hurt.. and might help in some way. Parenting of course is a huge issue but if we could solve all the problems I would happily be out of a job, dont see that happening.
 
Written By: Parent and probation officer
URL: http://

 
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