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The company behind the malt beverage Colt 45 has launched a new fruity “alcopop” beverage to rival the banned Four Loko and other similar beverages on the market.
The drink is called Blast, and according to its website, it is a “premium malt beverage with natural fruit flavors and a kick that is uniquely Colt 45.” But with a 12 percent alcohol content, it is twice as boozy as Colt 45.
"You are making it attractive for what appears to be a relatively low alcohol content,” said John Challis, vice president of Treatment Services at Daytop Village, an alcohol and drug abuse counseling service. “And of course, once you start consuming it you get a much greater effect and of course that’s what makes it so attractive.”
Blast has started a mass advertising campaign on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. On YouTube, there is a video showing a publicity shoot for the beverage featuring the drink’s promoter, rapper Snoop Dogg.
“So much flavor, it’s great,” says Snoop in the video. “That will stop the press.”
Blast will compete with drinks like Four Loko, which was banned in New York State. Once the company took the caffeine out of the Four Loko, the drink returned to store shelves.
Lourdes Pagan, of Yonkers, is worried these drinks are targeting her teenage children.
“They try to attract them with bright colors, this is what they like," she said.
Others feel it is targeting a specific demographic.
“It's obviously targeting the urban market. They think we like bright colors and flavored beer. I’m not buying into that, I don’t care if Snoop is promoting it,’ said Jacquella Funchess, of Harlem.
A spokesman for the company told NBC New York that the product is clearly labeled for consumers.
"Blast is only meant to be consumed by those above legal drinking age and does not contain caffeine ... the alcohol content of Blast is clearly marked on its packaging," the company said.