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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Steve Ruckman, 410-576-7035
sruckman@oag.state.md.us

Gansler Calls Alcohol Reduction in Tilt Important First Step Away from Dangerous "Binge-in-a-Can" Industry Trend
Anheuser-Busch's Announcement Provides Opportunity to Warn Consumers and Call on Industry to Stop Marketing Supersized Alcopops as "Single Serves"

BALTIMORE, MD ( May 24, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler is calling today's announcement by Anheuser-Busch that it will be reducing the alcohol content in its flavored malt beverage Tilt from 12% to 8%  an “important first step in the right direction away from dangerous ‘binge-in-a-can' beverages." The Attorney General also views this announcement as providing an important opportunity to warn consumers that today's alcohol products - frequently sold in disarming fruit flavors and marketed in brightly colored so-called “single serve" containers - often contain multiple servings of alcohol that can lead to dangerous levels of intoxication when consumed on one occasion.

Attorney General Gansler said, “I am pleased that Anheuser-Busch is taking this important first step in the right direction away from dangerous ‘binge-in-a-can' beverages, those flavored malt beverages that pack nearly 5 servings of alcohol in a ready-to-drink single serve container."  The Attorney General added, “At a time when law enforcement, public health professionals, communities, educators, and parents are working hard to prevent the all too frequent injuries and deaths that result from underage drinking and binge drinking, alcohol simply is not a product that should be ‘supersized.'"

Attorney General Gansler expressed particular concern about such “supersized" products when they are sold in disarming fruit flavors such as grape, watermelon, and strawberry that mask all traditional beer taste, and are packaged in in brightly colored cans that appeal to young people.  “I hope that all other manufacturers of supersized, high-alcohol-content flavored malt beverages immediately follow the productive first step that Anheuser-Busch's leadership has taken," he added.

Other “binge-in-a-can" products - ones with as much as 12% alcohol in a 24 ounce can - include Pabst Blast by Colt 45, Phusion Projects Four Loko, and United Brands Joose.  These products, if consumed in the single-serve manner intended, may result in dangerous consumption of alcohol. 

Attorney General Gansler reminds consumers that there is nothing safe or responsible about rapidly consuming multiple servings of alcohol of any kind.  Even with the announced reduction from 12% to 8% alcohol by volume, a 24-ounce can of Anheuser-Busch's Tilt will still contain a potent 3.2 servings of alcohol which, according to public health authorities, may result in intoxication, marked by impaired judgment and motor skills.  “Unfortunately, we are seeing a growing number of alcohol products such as flavored malt beverages being marketed today as ‘single serves' when in fact they contain anywhere from 3 to 5 servings of alcohol.  Coupled with the lack of serving facts on the cans, today's consumers may have no way of knowing just how much alcohol they are consuming.”

Today's announcement by Anheuser-Busch follows Attorney General Gansler's April 21, 2011 letter,  joined by 17 other State Attorneys General and chief legal officers, to  Pabst Brewing Company about its Blast by Colt 45, calling upon that company to “take immediate steps to significantly reduce the number of servings of alcohol presented to consumers in a single serving container so as to eliminate the serious public safety risks posed by this ‘binge-in-a-can' product" and to ensure that the marketing of Blast does not target an audience under the legal drinking age.

For more information about the number of servings of alcohol in any beverage, see:
http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/ToolsResources/DrinkSizeCalculator.asp

For more information about the dangers of binge drinking (women consuming 4 and men consuming 5 servings of alcohol on one occasion), see:
http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm

For more information about estimating blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from consuming alcohol beverages, see:

http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/ToolsResources/CalculatorsMain.asp
   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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