Éduc’alcool’s recommendations to Health Canada regarding sweetened alcoholic beverages

If the production and sale of premixed, sweetened alcoholic beverages that camouflage the taste and impact of alcohol can’t be outlawed, the federal government should, at the very least, enact strict regulations regarding sizes, packaging and labelling.

It is Éduc’alcool’s opinion that such beverages are dangerous in and of themselves. Unlike actual alcoholic beverages, these are deceitful drinks. Real beer tastes like beer, wine tastes like wine and gin tastes like gin. But these premixed, sweetened alcoholic beverages are a menace and should not be on the market.

One might argue that people are going to make their own mixed drinks anyway. True enough, but at least they’ll be aware of what they’re doing.

Recommendation 1: Outlaw the production and sale of premixed, sweetened alcoholic beverages containing stimulants, no matter what the alcohol content.

If, despite everything, the government does not want to outlaw them straight out, at the very least, it should enact legislation to limit the ways that consumers may be tricked by them.

It doesn’t matter whether consumers are young or not so young, or whether they prefer this flavour over that: given that we’re dealing with a beverage that is trying to hide its true nature, it shouldn’t take a degree in nutrition or chemistry to figure out what you’re drinking.

Recommendation 2: Containers may be resealable or not, but all premixed drinks should be sold only in servings equivalent to one standard drink, i.e. 13.5 g of alcohol.

The federal government has jurisdiction over packaging and labelling. The packaging and labels for premixed, sweetened alcoholic beverages are designed clearly and unquestionably for the youth—even the very young—market.

We are not saying that packaging should be ugly, repulsive or hideous. But, at the very least, targeting young consumers should not be allowed.

Recommendation 3: The packaging, labelling and lettering on premixed, sweetened alcoholic beverages should be designed clearly to appeal to an adult market, and no sales shall proceed without government authorization and the manufacturer’s guarantee that only adults will be targeted.

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