Maine Attorney General William J. Schneider, along with 16 other attorneys general, called on Pabst Brewing Company to stop selling or alter its new malt beverage, “Blast” by Colt 45, because of its high alcohol content and marketing tactics.

Known as “binge-in-a-can,” the drink contains the equivalent of five beers in one serving and is marketed in a way that targets underage youth.

“At a time when we’re fighting to prevent underage drinking and binge  drinking among young people, I am urging Pabst to recognize the dangers posed by Blast,” said Attorney General Schneider in a press release from the Office of the Maine Attorney General.

“Promoting this kind of a product to young, underage drinkers is reprehensible.”

According to the release, Pabst introduced its “Blast” by Colt 45 as a carbonated malt beverage in fruit flavors of grape, strawberry, lemonade, strawberry watermelon and blueberry pomegranate, all with an alcohol concentration level of 12 percent in brightly colored 23.5-ounce single-serving cans.

A standard serving of alcohol is any drink (whether beer, wine or distilled spirits) that contains 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of “pure” ethyl alcohol. Each 23.5-ounce can of “Blast’ contains nearly five servings of alcohol.

As a result, consuming a single can of “Blast” in about two hours constitutes “binge drinking” as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the release, such excessive drinking typically leads to acute intoxication that can be harmful for a variety of reasons, including impaired brain functioning. This can result in poor judgment, reduced reaction time, loss of balance and motor skills, and slurred speech. Coma and death can occur if alcohol is consumed rapidly and in large amounts.

The CDC,according to the press release, declared binge drinking to be a major public health problem in the United States. It reportedly increases the chances of motor-vehicle crashes, violence, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy, sudden infant death syndrome, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

These health risks reportedly pose a particular threat to youth, given that about 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by Americans younger than 21 is while binge drinking.

In addition to offering this high-alcohol malt beverage in youth-friendly flavors, Pabst has reportedly enlisted celebrity hip hop/rap music artist Snoop Dogg to promote “Blast,” largely through social media sites such as YouTube and Twitter.

“These marketing practices raise serious concerns that Pabst is targeting an audience that is under the legal drinking age,” said Schneider.

Last fall, after urging by attorneys general and a review by the Food and Drug Administration, the popular alcohol energy drink Four Loko was pulled from the market after reports that children as young as 13 were drinking the product, which also had a 12 percent alcohol concentration in a 23.5-ounce single-serving can. The drink also had a caffeine additive, which the FDA later banned, that enabled consumers of the product to stay awake and drink more.

In addition to Maine, the attorneys general of the following states and U.S. Territory signed on to the letter to Pabst Brewing Company: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington.

More information regarding alcohol consumption can be found at the
following links:

• http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/WhatCountsDrink/WhatsAstandardDrink.asp

• cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm