Ohio public officials and regulators are perhaps experiencing a bit of déjà vu as they contemplate Blast, a new alcoholic beverage manufactured by Pabst Brewing Company. Late last year, Ohio banned the sale of Four Loko -- a caffeinated malt liquor beverage -- within the state, and it may now just do the same with Blast.
The concerns with Four Loko were many, but they centered especially around a few core worries, including the obvious marketing spin toward young people, the quick and often unexpected inebriation, the fears that drunk young motorists would get involved in car accidents, commit sexual crimes and engage generally in dangerous behaviors.
The Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine, views Blast with the same disdain that he regarded Four Loko. DeWine calls the drink "binge in a can" and has joined his counterparts from many other states in demanding that Pabst lower the beverage's alcohol content to prevent abuse by college students and underage drinkers.
Blast does seem to quite undeniably target young drinkers. Unlike other alcoholic beverages, it comes in colorful cans and is sold in fruit flavors. Moreover, it is promoted through hip hop music and employs the rapper Snoop Dogg as its spokesman.
And does it ever pack a punch. One can of the beverage weighs in at 23.5-ounces -- nearly twice the size of a standard can of beer -- and has an alcohol content of 12 percent, which is more than twice the alcohol contained in most beers.
In responding to criticisms, a Pabst marketing officer said that the company is "focused on conveying the message of drinking responsibly" and that Blast's alcohol content "is clearly marked on its packaging."
Related Resource: CNN, "Colt 45's fruit flavored Blast drink comes under fire" April 20, 2011