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Senator Inadvertently Increases Teen Awareness of New Malt Liquors

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NOW THIS IS HAPPENING
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Jig's up, kids. You've been sneaking your "energy" drinks into movie theaters and cavalierly knocking them back at family picnics all summer  -- "Glossy eyes? Must be allergies" -- but your favorite canned brands have finally been publicly outed, and now your mom and dad are going to find out that their angel-faced teen has a taste for booze. Here at Minyanville, we've already busted two of our summer interns and it's not even lunchtime.

For this, you can blame Senator Chuck Schumer.

The Daily News reports:

Caffeinated fruit-flavored malt liquor drinks that sell for just $2 are a hit with some city teens, and that has New York pols asking the federal government to help stem the growing popularity.

"The manufacturers are deliberately trying to get young people to drink," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Sunday standing outside a midtown deli that sells the brands Jooce and Four Loco.

Schumer also sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking the agency to investigate the beverage companies' marketing practices because he says the colorful cans attract kids.

To test this theory, the Daily News interviewed a 16-year-old resident of East Harlem who confessed that he was a fan of the drinks. "The alcohol makes you feel smooth and the caffeine makes you jittery," he said.

And this is a good thing?

Schumer has also complained that the drinks' alcoholic content level (up to 12%) is written in type too small for the failing eyes of parents to notice. Lastly, he asked the FDA to speed up its investigation into the safety of mixing caffeine and alcohol at all. 

Schadenfreude must be the prevailing emotion over at larger beverage makers MillerCoors (SAB) and Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD). In 2008, these big manufacturers removed caffeine from their goofy energy drinks (Sparks and Tilt, respectively) and overhauled their marketing campaigns under pressure from state and federal regulators, only to watch small labels like Jooce and Four Loko rush in to fill the gap.

But the real tragedy here may be that American youth must stoop to drinking malt-flavored beverages at all. North of the border, college-aged kids can legally buy overly sweet drinks made with real vodka or rum.  Go North, young girl-drink drunks! This time, no giggling.
 
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.
TAGS:  JOOCE, MALT LIQUOR, NO FUN, FOUR LOKO    SOURCE:   The Daily News
TICKERS:  NYSE:BUD, NYSE:SAB   

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