What do kids drink?
The alcohol industry makes an estimated $22.5 billion by selling to underage drinkers, accounting for 17.5 percent of all alcohol sales in the U.S, according to a report from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.
Alcopops are the newest trend in underage drinking. These fruit-flavored malt
beverages come in colorful packaging similar in design to many teen-friendly soft
drinks. They are called “flavored malt beverages” or “low-alcohol refreshers”
by the alcohol industry, even though they contain 5-7 percent alcohol by volume, rivaling most beers.
The American Medical Association (AMA) reported the extent of underage consumption and marketing exposure to “alcopops” based on the results of two
nationwide polls. A majority of teens 17-18 years old (51%) and many teens 14-16 years old (35%) have tried alcopops. These sweet malt beverages are considered
to be a “gateway” beverage to attract younger and newer drinkers. When asked what one type of alcoholic drink they would most prefer to drink, nearly a third of teens (30 percent) said “alcopops” compared to only 16 percent for beer and 16 percent for mixed drinks. As an alcohol industry representative admitted, “The beauty of this category [alcopops] is that it brings in new drinkers, people who really don’t like the taste of beer.”