Alcopop

Two bottles of blue Rev, a malt cooler from Canada

An alcopop (or cooler, spirit cooler in South African English, or malternative in American slang) is a term describing certain flavored alcoholic beverages with relatively low alcohol content (e.g., 3–7% alcohol by volume), including:

  1. Malt beverages to which various fruit juices or other flavorings have been added
  2. Beverages containing wine to which ingredients such as fruit juice or other flavorings have been added (wine coolers)
  3. Beverages containing distilled alcohol and sweet liquids such as fruit juices or other flavourings[1]

The term alcopop (a portmanteau of the words alcohol and pop) is used commonly in the United Kingdom to describe these drinks and in some countries by neoprohibitionists.[2] Other terms include FAB (flavored alcoholic beverage), FMB (flavored malt beverage),[3] PPS (pre-packaged spirit or premium packaged spirits), and RTD (ready-to-drinkAustralia and New Zealand).

Description

There is a variety of beverages produced and marketed around the world as well as within each market which are described as coolers or alcopops. They tend to be sweet and served in small bottles (typically 355 ml (the normal size of a soda pop can) in the USA, 275 ml in South Africa and Germany, 330 ml in Canada and Europe), and between 4% and 7% ABV. In Europe, Canada, and South Africa coolers tend to be pre-mixed spirits, including vodka (e.g. Smirnoff Ice) or rum (e.g. Bacardi Breezer). In the United States, on the other hand, alcopops often start out as un-hopped beers, depending on the state in which they are sold. Much of the malt (and alcohol) is removed (leaving mostly water), with subsequent addition of alcohol (usually vodka or grain alcohol), sugar, coloring and flavoring. Such drinks are legally classified as beers in virtually all states and can therefore be sold in outlets that do not or cannot carry spirit-based drinks. There are, however, stronger ones that are simply pre-mixed spirits (e.g. Bacardi Rum Island Iced Tea), often containing about 12.5% alcohol by volume, that can be sold only where hard liquor is available.

In the United States there is a proportionally limited tax on alcopops relative to those sold in Europe, although some states are considering legislation to bring their tax levels closer to the European model, which is credited with limiting consumption by youth.[citation needed]

According to the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB):

Flavored malt beverages are brewery products that differ from traditional malt beverages such as beer, ale, lager, porter, stout, or malt liquor in several respects. Flavored malt beverages exhibit little or no traditional beer or malt beverage character. Their flavor is derived primarily from added flavors rather than from malt and other materials used in fermentation. At the same time, flavored malt beverages are marketed in traditional beer-type bottles and cans and distributed to the alcohol beverage market through beer and malt beverage wholesalers, and their alcohol content is similar to other malt beverages in the 4-6% alcohol by volume range.

Although flavored malt beverages are produced at breweries, their method of production differs significantly from the production of other malt beverages and beer. In producing flavored malt beverages, brewers brew a fermented base of beer from malt and other brewing materials. Brewers then treat this base using a variety of processes in order to remove malt beverage character from the base. For example, they remove the color, bitterness, and taste generally associated with beer, ale, porter, stout, and other malt beverages. This leaves a base product to which brewers add various flavors, which typically contain distilled spirits, to achieve the desired taste profile and alcohol level.

While the alcohol content of flavored malt beverages is similar to that of most traditional malt beverages, the alcohol in many of them is derived primarily from the distilled spirits component of the added flavors rather than from fermentation.

—70 Fed. Reg. 194 et seq. (January 3, 2005)[3]

In some Continental European countries, such as Austria and Germany, bottled beer cocktails and shandies are available, which are being marketed the same way like alcopops. However, these beverages are based on traditional hopped beers and therefore not considered to be alcopops.

Other Languages
català: Alcopop
Deutsch: Alkopop
español: Alcopop
français: Prémix
Nederlands: Alcopop
norsk: Rusbrus
norsk nynorsk: Rusbrus
русский: Алкопоп
Simple English: Alcopop
svenska: Blanddryck