Home alcopop kit condemned

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The Independent Online
A do-it-yourself alcopop kit that promises to turn any fizzy soft drink alcoholic could attract under-age drinkers and should be banned, anti-alcohol campaigners said yesterday.

It is yet another controversy to hit the alcopop industry which has this year seen a 40 per cent increase in duty in the Budget after concerns that the cartoon-style labels, bright colours and fruit flavours encouraged under-age drinking.

Earlier, the Advertising Standards Authority said advertisements for Hooper's Hooch, from Bass, should be removed because the cartoon character on the label appealed to under-18s.

The do-it-yourself drink is called Splooch and is also being promoted with a cartoon-style label. It costs pounds 4.99 from home-brew shops or through mail order. The instructions read: "Your Splooch can be mixed with any drink, i.e. lemonade, orangeade, blackcurrant, fruit juices, colas etc... "

Home-brew kits are not covered by the licensing laws, so Splooch, made by Continental Wine Experts in Norwich, can be bought by under-18s.

Alcohol Concern condemned it as a "totally irresponsible extension" of the trend for making alcoholic products that appealed to under-18s and called for it to be removed from sale.

Nigel Griffiths, Labour's consumer affairs spokesman, said: "This product, which is freely available to teenagers and children, should be withdrawn."

Richard Danby, the makers' technical director, said the comments would be considered, but added: "We are certainly not targeting under- age drinkers ."