From Academic Kids

Alcopop is a term coined by the popular media of the United Kingdom to describe 'alcoholic soft drinks'.

In the alcohol industry they are known as RTDs (ready to drink) or FABs (Flavoured Alcoholic Beverages). These drinks, such as alcoholic lemonade, tend to be sweet, served in small bottles (typically 200-275ml), and between 5-7% alcohol by volume.

These drinks emerged onto the market in the mid 1990s with the launch of Two Dogs and Hoopers, both alcoholic lemonade drinks made in Australia. Many more have followed, as the drinks became increasingly popular, especially with younger people.

Later, Mike's Hard Lemonade was released in the United States, with humorous commercials depicting what they called "violence against lemons". Smirnoff also came out with another citrus-flavoured malt beverage in the late 90's called Smirnoff Ice, which promoted itself with flashy commercials, usually involving trendy young people dancing in unlikely situations and places.

Some parts of the media expressed intense concern that such drinks might appeal to children as they tend to be sweet and brightly coloured. Many advertising campaigns have been criticised as trying to make alcopops appeal to young drinkers. As a result Germany has imposed an extra duty of 0.80 to 0.90 Euro per bottle effective 2004-08-01. Some now carry a warning stating that they are not for consumption by minors (under 18 in the UK). Other sweet alcoholic beverages that had been around for years, such as cider, wine coolers, and liqueurs, escaped this concern.

In response to this widespread criticism, the industry set up the Portman Group in an effort to "self-police" such matters.

While the amount of beer being sold worldwide has dropped drastically, the sale of alcopops has taken off dramatically. This is thought to be because the sweetness of alcopops appeals to younger drinkers more readily than the taste of wine or beer, and are less detectable on the drinker's breath.

In the United States, these beverages are sometimes called malternative drinks, or sometimes, derisively, bitch beer, or cheerleader beer. In the UK, derogatory names given to them include poof juice and tart fuel. In Australia the somewhat less derogatory Chick Drink is often used.

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