New Bill Could Change Where Flavored, Alcoholic Drinks Are Sold

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by Audrina Bigos
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CHARLOTE, N.C.--They look like energy drinks and reportedly taste a lot like soda. But “alcopops” - or flavored alcoholic drinks- contain up to15 percent alcohol.

"This is really binge drinking in one can, in one sitting. And they're also very marketed to our youth and our young girls because of the sweet sugary taste," said Kim Matone, with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Drug-Free Coalition.

Matone says the teen-targeted drinks are more appealing to teens than the bitter taste of beer. Because of their low cost and lower sales tax, alcopops make up over 16 percent of the youth alcohol market.

"They seem like they're marketed to seem like they don't have alcohol in them or that kids can drink them because they're colorful and sporty," said Marva Farris, a North Charlotte resident.

A new North Carolina bill would stop the sell of alcopops in convenience stores and limit them to ABC stores.

Local convenience store owners say moving these drinks off their shelves would mean a loss in business.One manager says he sells 15 to 20 cases per week, profiting $25 dollars per case.

"They're really not malt beverages which is what they're classified as now. They're really distilled spirits, which should be sold only in ABC stores," said Matone.

"You won't have to worry about it getting into kids hands because you know everyone in the convenience store will be 21 or over," said Farris.

In 2006, a law was changed in North Carolina to allow these beer based beverages with up to 15 percent alcohol to be sold outside of ABC stores.

 

 

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