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17 attorneys general urge halt in production of controversial drink

By Julia Talanova, CNN
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Is Blast alcohol drink targeting youth?
  • 17 state attorneys general send a letter to Pabst Brewing Co., maker of "Blast"
  • The malt beverage is a 'binge-in-a-can" that targets youth, letter says
  • The drink has an alcohol content of 12%, comes in colorful, 23.5-ounce cans
  • "Message of drinking responsibly" is focus of marketing, Pabst says

(CNN) -- Seventeen state attorneys general are urging Pabst Brewing Co. to stop marketing to young drinkers and halt production of a new malt beverage promoted by rapper Snoop Dogg.

In a letter sent to the Pabst Brewing Co., Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler says "Blast" by Colt 45 is a 'binge-in-a-can" that targets youth. Gansler was joined by attorneys general from Arizona, California, Connecticut, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera also joined the petition, according to a written statement.

The makers of the new fruity blend came under fire after advocacy groups and politicians raised questions about its marketing campaign.

The drink, in a colorful 23.5-ounce can that resembles soda pop but has an alcohol content of 12%, more potent than a typical can of beer.

"They're marketing it as a single serving when in reality it's five servings in a can," said Raquel Guillory, spokeswoman for the Maryland attorney general. "We hope they would be a good corporate citizen."

Paul Porter of Industry Ears, a media watchdog group, says "Colt 45 makers are raising the alcohol level from the already high 6% to the even higher 12%, and enticing young people with hip hop themes and lollipop flavors."

He added the company is "expanding its market with our children."

Asked about the letter, Pabst Brewing Co. chief marketing officer Jon Sayer responded in a written statement: "Blast is only meant to be consumed by those above legal drinking age."

"As with all Pabst products, our marketing efforts for Blast are focused on conveying the message of drinking responsibly," the statement said. "To that end, the alcohol content of Blast is clearly marked on its packaging."

Rapper Snoop Dogg is considered a face of the product who "has the ability to take Colt 45 to a whole new level," according to a company marketing video.

As of Thursday night, Snoop Dogg had not responded to a request for comment from CNN.

In 2008, Gansler worked out a deal with MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch to halt the sale and production of select high-alcohol-content drinks.

"Both of those voluntarily pulled those off the market after we sent them a letter" that requested the drinks' removal, said Guillory.