ALCOPOPS Labeling Bill Passes the Senate

July 07, 2008
Contact: Rodney Foo @  (408) 282-8920

Assembly Bill 346, legislation that requires alcopops - sugary, liquor-laced drinks that mimic the taste and appearance of energy drinks and sodas - to carry prominent labels that say they contain alcohol, cleared a major hurdle Monday by gaining Senate approval by a 27-to-12 vote.

"It's a simple common sense bill - consumers ought to have the right to able to tell which beverages have alcohol and which don't,'' said Assembly Member Jim Beall Jr., who introduced AB 346 last year. "I want to thank Sen. Darrell Steinberg for helping this bill get a two-thirds vote even though it only needed a simple majority.''

The bill, which faces heavy opposition from the liquor industry, now returns to the Assembly for concurrence on Senate amendments that clarify the identification of the beverages that will be required to carry the new and clearer labels.

The bill is designed to end any confusion by consumers over alcopops heavily sweetened, alcoholic beverages that are packaged much like the appearance of containers for fruit drinks, soft drinks, or energy beverages.

Assembly Bill 346 requires the labels of alcopops to bear a distinctive and prominently displayed label or a sticker that tells the consumer, "Attention: Contains Alcohol.''

Research shows that kids who begin drinking before they are 15 are four times more likely to become dependent on alcohol while also exposing themselves to a greater risk of alcohol-associated problems - vehicle accidents and assaults - later in life compared with those who wait until they are 21 to take their first drink. More and more, teenagers - especially girls - have been introduced to alcohol through these flavored drinks.