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Experts Raise Concerns as Big Soda Shifts to Alcopops

Connie Chan Robison, Director of PHI’s Center for Collaborative Planning, shares concerns about the health impact of alcopops on youth and girls in particular.

  • The News Movement
four friends with a can or glass of alcohol

“Hard soda and other alcoholic beverages made for casual or social drinking are a booming industry.  Coca Cola is about to launch a canned cocktail (they actually now have 4 alcoholic products, the first launching back in 2018).

Other companies are adding alcohol to healthier drinks like Kombucha and coconut water. The thinking is that this might appeal to health-conscious consumers and women in general. With these drinks, it’s worth knowing that even if their alcohol percentage is low, the can or bottle is often bigger than what you’d get in a regular beer or drink.

So what’s going on, why is big soda getting into alcohol?

“These big guys getting into the space is realization of the competitive market that’s out there.” – Max Johnson, BevSource

White Claw debuted in 2016 and popularized a whole new category of alcoholic beverages that aren’t your traditional beer, wine or liquor.

“The problem is…I never know when I’m buying them as well. This could be lemonade, right? This could be a Sprite. If I hadn’t have had the normal one, I wouldn’t know. ” – Max Johnson, BevSource

Connie Chan Robison
Alcopops are flavored, they're more sweet. They very much continue to be appealing for our very youngest of kids.  Connie Chan Robison

Executive Director, Center for Collaborative Planning, Public Health Institute

Unlike hallucinogens and marijuana which have recently had record high use, alcohol use in younger generations has been declining overall for a long time.

“However, that really masks another reality. Because of the rise of these products like alcopops, our girls are now not only drinking more, but binge drinking more,” said Connie Chan Robison, Executive Director of the Center for Collaborative Planning at the Public Health Institute.

By 2017, girls underage drinking started exceeding boys drinking which was in decline with the overall trend.

In the UK, concerns over teens drinking alcopops led to increased regulation and taxes that eventually fizzled out the industry. But the U.S. is a very different story.

“People are going to be looking to find new ways to use new ingredients to create alcoholic beverages. That trend isn’t gonna change.”

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Originally published by The News Movement

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