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States Target Snoop's Brew

'Blast' makes a splash as regulators call for its alcohol content to be trimmed

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Blast by Colt 45, a fruity malt liquor made by Pabst Brewing Company, has drawn a blast of free publicity.

Attorneys general from 16 states and Guam last week signed a letter demanding Pabst’s CEO cut down on the drink’s alcohol content. The letter also expressed concern that Pabst was deliberately marketing the drink–which is being promoted by the rapper Snoop Dogg—to minors.

Blast, which contains 12 percent alcohol by volume and comes in a 23.5-ounce can, was released earlier this month and comes in flavors such as grape, raspberry, watermelon, blueberry pomegranate, and strawberry lemonade, which smacked the attorneys as “youth-friendly.”

Last fall, Four Loko, a similar drink that also included caffeine, came under fire because several college students were hospitalized after drinking it. The Food and Drug Administration prevailed upon Four Loko’s parent company to remove the caffeine from the product.

At the equivalent to four cans of beer per blast of Blast, the product has earned the derisive nickname “binge in a can.” But Pabst responded that “Blast is only meant to be consumed by those above legal drinking age . . . Our marketing efforts for Blast are focused on conveying the message of drinking responsibly.” Still, critics–like the alcohol watchdog group the Marin Institute, which called Snoop Dogg’s endorsement an “obvious attempt to target urban youth”–aren’t buying it. The question remains: who is?