U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the marketing of certain caffeinated malt beverages that “seem to be explicitly designed to attract underage drinkers” and to determine whether new enforcement actions are warranted. In a July 12, 2010, press release, Schumer singled out popular drinks “that appear hip with flashy colors and funky designs” but contain 12 percent alcohol, which is more than twice the amount in a bottle of beer or glass of wine.

“However, the labeling and packaging of these beverages renders them nearly indistinguishable from ordinary energy drinks,” Schumer said. “Some stores even stock them directly next to other energy drinks causing further confusion for legal and illegal consumers.”

Schumer called the marketing “extremely troubling” in a letter to FTC Chair Jon Leibowitz. “Frankly, it looks to me as if manufacturers are trying to mislead adults and business owners who sell these products, while at the same time actively courting underage drinkers,” he wrote. See Press Release of Senator Charles Schumer, July 12, 2010.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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