• Alcohol Companies Targeting Our Kids This Summer


    Alcohol Companies Targeting Our Kids This Summer  

    You can help stop them


    You've probably never heard of popular brands such as Four Loko, Joose, or Sparks. But your kids know all about them. My preteen kids even know these brands.

    Last fall, Marin Institute helped win a multi-year campaign to get such dangerous alcoholic energy drinks off the market.


    But now these same companies are back. Although the products no longer contain caffeine, they are now supersized, sweet, and come in colorful packaging. The latest entry, "Blast," is being promoted by rapper Snoop Dogg. Marin Institute recently sounded the alarm about this shameless youth exploitation in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and on CNN. 

    Now we need your help to get Blast and other dangerous products like it off the market for good.

    PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY to Marin Institute this summer, so our children can grow up to become productive adults. Thank you.


    Bruce Lee Livingston
    Executive Director/CEO



  • New Alcohol Justice Report Questionable Health Claims by Alcohol Companies


    Big Alcohol's latest marketing scheme: Claim your products are the perfect complement to muscle-building and weight-loss. A new report from Alcohol Justice concludes that such claims are "legally tenuous, morally unsound, and potentially dangerous."Alcohol brands spotlighted in the report include Devotion Vodka("Infused with Casein"), Fragolistrawberry liqueur (promoted with antioxidants), Absolut, Skyy, and Finlandia vodkas("infused with natural flavors"), Michelob Ultra, and MGD 64 beer (promoted as fitness and weight-loss aids). For the full report, click here. To read the press release, click here.

  • New Alcohol Policy for San Francisco’s Pink Saturday



    Pink Saturday--the unofficial street party in San Francisco that celebrates the Pride Parade--joined the ranks of city events that have moved to keep alcohol consumption inside bars and restaurants and off the street during the annual celebration. In past years, partygoers were able to bring their own alcohol or purchase it from local outlets and drink it outside. Alcohol-related problems became a concern and led to an atmosphere that contradicted the community-centered nature the organizers intended. This year, organizers increased efforts to prevent alcohol from being brought into the event. In doing so, Pink Saturday took an important step toward making the celebration safer and more true to its intentions.

  • Public Hearing to Ban Alcohol Ads on State Property


    The Massachusetts legislature held a public hearing June 7 on House Bill 851, which would ban alcohol advertising on any property owned or operated by the commonwealth. Six members of the public and four lawmakers supported the legislation in their testimony focusing on the negative impact of alcohol advertising on youth. The bill is sponsored by Representative Martin Walsh, who testified in support of the bill along with Representatives Garballey, Collins, and Nangle. A total of 106 letters of support have gone to the Statehouse for HB 851 to date. Testimony and letters of support are still being accepted. Click here to take action.

  • Four Loko Producers Subpoenaed by NY Senator Klein

    KleinSubpoenaFourLokoOn June 2, 2011, New York State Senator Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), announced the issuance of a legislative subpoena to Phusion Projects, the makers of the embattled alcopop Four Loko.  The subpoena came after Phusion Projects refused to show up for an April 12 hearing on the matter, and has generally been obstinate and uncooperative with officials seeking to protect the public health.

    Senator Klein, Chair of the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, has been fighting a continued battle against the dangerous effects of alcopop availability on youth in his state. On June 6, 2011, the Senate passed his bill to ban the sale of caffeinated alcoholic beverages. Klein is currently working on crafting legislation that will limit the access of underage drinkers to alcopops, with the expressed intent to not put an undo burden on brewers and drink makers.

    However, in keeping with their long history of avoidance and denial, Phusion Projects refuses to participate. Says Klein“This company makes a product for sale in New York that's cheap, tastes sweet and packs a six-pack punch in a 22-ounce can…We believe that their information can greatly inform our efforts to keep Four Loko and similar 'alcopops' out of the hands of minors. Given Phusion's lack of cooperation, this committee has no choice, but to use the tools at its disposal to obtain the facts that we need.”

    The owners of Phusion Projects don't seem to care that their actions keep sending them back to thedoghouse. Marin Institute applauds Senator Klein for standing up to them and demanding they cooperate with the investigation into their harmful products.

  • Landmark Report "Toward Liquor Control" Republished

    Toward-Liquor-ControlFirst published in 1933, Toward Liquor Control was the result of a study commissioned by John D. Rockefeller to prepare America for effective alcohol regulation in a post-prohibition era. The book provided guidance to policymakers establishing state-based regulatory systems for alcohol, and the framework for many alcoholic beverage control systems in America today.Toward Liquor Control has been republished, and is available to order online. For more information, view the press release.

  • Victory on Stopping Bus Bench Alcohol Ads in Los Angeles

    Contact: Michael Scippa 415 548-0492
    Jorge Castillo 213 840-3336


    Victory on Stopping Bus Bench Alcohol Ads in Los Angeles


    Coalition to Ban Alcohol Ads from Public Property Rallies in

    Los Angeles to Persuade Board of Public Works

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA (June 10, 2011) – The Coalition to Ban Alcohol Ads from Public Property organized a lively grassroots rally in Los Angeles City Hall Plaza this morning to send a message to the L.A. Board of Public Works that promoting alcohol on city-owned bus benches was a really bad idea. The Board heard the concerns and agreed by asking for a full ban on all alcohol ads in the new contract. The contractor, Martin Outdoor Media, LLC quickly agreed. There will be no alcohol ads on 6,000 L.A. city-owned bus benches. This will reduce youth exposure to messages that are feeding an epidemic of underage alcohol consumption and harm.

    “The City of Los Angeles has a responsibility to its citizens to not provide a venue for advertising of alcohol on property owned by the citizenry,” said John O. Whitaker, Jr., CATC, A.W.A.R.E./Tarzana Treatment Centers. “Children should never be exposed to alcohol advertising.  For most addicts, alcohol was their first mind-altering substance and it is known to be a gateway drug to the rest. The earlier the exposure to alcohol advertising, the earlier addicts or potential addicts are likely to drink and then use. Banning alcohol ads on city-owned property is a fantastic step in the right direction." 

    The Los Angeles Department of Public Health recently recommended that "reducing alcohol advertising in public spaces and in areas commonly seen by minors," would help discourage underage drinking. Yet the originally proposed 10-year bus bench contract with Martin Outdoor Media inexplicably allowed the company to place alcohol ads on public property.

    "The banning of alcohol ads is not about contracts and profits or freedom of speech. Alcohol, a toxic and poisonous substance that has been shown to cause disease and death due to health problems, should not be advertised in public view,”stated Ruben Rodriguez, executive director Pueblo y Salud. “The City of LA has the responsibility and the right to protect the health and safety of its residents. We call upon the City to ban all alcohol advertising on City-owned property.”

    L.A. is plagued by over $10.8 billion in alcohol-related harm every year. More than 2.3 million underage youth drink alcohol each year in California. Underage drinking costs the state a staggering $7.3 billion annually. Youth violence, crime, car crashes, and high-risk sex are the most noticeable results.

    “Throughout this country there are laws to protect the safety of our youth, including making sure that the youth that use public transportation on a daily basis, are not exposed to this type of advertising,” said Hugo Pacheco, Community Leadership Coalition. “Yet local politicians, unwilling to take the necessary steps to eliminate non-essential spending, are hoping to gain additional revenue by selling off advertising rights to previously protected public property venues.Ultimately the taxpayers will have to pay the exorbitant costs associated with curing the negative results of those who have been influenced to touch the products.”

    By acknowledging the research-based data on the dangers of exposing youth to alcohol-ads, and calling for a full ban, the Board of Public Works decision will now move the contract to the Mayor and City Council for final approval.

    “The Los Angeles MTA does not allow any alcohol advertising on its buses, trains and other transit facilities,”said Jorge Castillo, advocacy and outreach organizer from Marin Institute. “We thank the Board of Public Works and Martin Outdoor Media for reaching this similar agreement. Now we will focus on persuading the Los Angeles City Council and the Mayor to also adopt this wise policy, and approve the Martin Outdoor Media contract with a full prohibition on any alcohol ads on city-owned bus benches.”



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  • Big Beer Sets 8% Alcohol Limit for its Alcopops: Color Us Unimpressed


    Anheuser-Busch InBev recently announced plans to lower the alcohol content in its supersized alcopop,Tilt, from 12% to 8% and cap the alcohol content in all drinks over 16 ounces moving forward. Meanwhile, MillerCoors also has an 8% alcohol by volume (ABV) cap for Sparks, its alcopop brand. Despite these image-bolstering moves, dangerous public health risks remain. By keeping its 24-oz. can at 8% ABV, Tilt will still contain 3.2 servings of sweet, fruit-flavored kid-friendly swill, in a single-serving container with bright colors and design--the same problems that alcopops have had for years. Let's hope the state attorneys general keep the pressure on these companies.