Group blasts new alcoholic beverage

DURHAM Representatives of the Durham's Partners Against Crime groups gathered for a brainstorming session led by Wanda Boone of Durham Together for Resilient Youth.

"We're against the dangerous effects of the product, which have to do with crime, injury, death by motor vehicle," she said.

It's the latest round in an on-going battle against alcoholic drinks like Four Loko.

Federal regulators banned Four Loko nationwide last year because it contained caffeine, fueling health concerns. Colt 45 Blast does not contain caffeine, but Boone says Blast sales need to be monitored.

"And others like it, because there are so many like it on the market that are called 'alcopops'" she said. "We're concerned about underage drinking and that's really what our focus is."

Just last week, Minister Paul Scott with the Messianic Afrikan Nation followed Pabst Brewing Company's brightly painted bus as rolled it into Durham promoting the new beverage.

What makes the fruity flavored 23-ounce canned drink so unsettling to him is its 12 percent alcohol content, which is equivalent to downing five beers, and it is completely legal.

While the FDA and the State of North Carolina have cracked down on beverages that mix caffeine and alcohol, high alcohol only drinks like Blast are still on the market. Opponents claim they promote binge drinking, and Durham activists went a step further last Thursday - charging that Blast is targeted at African-Americans.

"They push this poison, this genocide in the black community, and then they act, then they don't want to talk to us. They're a bunch of cowards," said Minister Scott. "They ain't putting this in the white community. They're putting it in the black community. Every store in the hood, that's where they're putting this poison."

ABC11 reached out to Pabst Brewing Company and they say that, "Blast is produced only for consumers above legal drinking age marketed as an alcoholic beverage. The alcohol content is clearly marked on its package sold exclusively in stores that sell beverages with alcohol geared toward adults. Blast is promoting drinking responsibly to ensure it is enjoyed properly by those above the legal drinking age."

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