PEEK

Anheuser-Busch and Spykes: A dangerous lure for kids?

Philip Barron: A-B's line of alcoholic mixers may cross the line between appealing to young adults and pandering to kids.
Pity the poor major brewery in today's beverage market. Beer sales in the United States for the big three brewers are stagnant at best. While smaller "craft beers," wines, and spirts have enjoyed growth, beer's "share of stomach" has suffered in comparison, and brewers have to worry when their wholesalers admit concerns.

In response, brewers are adopting such tactics as making alcoholic products more appealing to women by making them sweet - hence such "malternative" beverages as the flavored 9th Street Market pilsners from Anheuser-Busch. Such products are intended to capture a unexplored demographic. The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest worries that A-B has taken the strategy a step too far, however, with one particular offering: Spykes, a line of concentrated alcohol drinks with an appeal that looks for all the world like a collection of kids' fruit drinks. The flavors do little to dispel the notion, with names like Spicy Mango, Hot Melons, Spicy Lime, and Hot Chocolate.
Philip Barron is a St. Louis writer and author of the blog Waveflux.
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