In the Doghouse

Loss of Mojo? Not a Problem.

MojoApril 26, 2013

Next time anyone in New York, New Jersey, Alabama, Michigan, South Carolina, or Connecticut goes to grab a bottle of water from the cooler, they'd better triple-check to make sure they don't accidentally get a fruity drink with 7% alcohol by volume. That's right, we're talking about a new alcopop product, designed to resemble the most popular of all beverages: water. After finding that markets for alcopops that look like sodasjuice pouches, and even popsicles were all spoken for, an alcohol producer stepped in to take it where no self-respecting company had dared to go.  

Mojo Alternative Malt Beverages comes in various fruit flavors - Tropical Fruit, Strawberry Kiwi, and Fruit Punch - and its packaging is almost indistinguishable from popular flavored waters like Vitamin Water and Hint. In true traditional alcopop form, the added sugar masks the alcohol taste, carbonation is added to make it fizzy, and it's cheap. The producer, Blue Spike Beveragestouts the plastic water bottle packaging as a design to ensure "no breakage when you're out tearing it up on the dance floor." Blue Spike also touts the resealable bottle for decreasing spillage (take note, FTC). Young people are already proclaiming it "the chick drink of the future" for being cheap and tasting "like slurpees." Its U.S. distributor, Irokos Group LLC, admitted the drink was designed for the female market, and the bottle made very slim for that purpose.

Should drinkers feel like a youth-friendly alcopop drink is beneath them, Blue Spike also makes theMojo Shot product line of spirits - currently available in Rhode Island and Massachusetts convenience stores.

Fortunately, at least one state has caught on to Mojo alcopop and its bottled-water resemblance. The New Hampshire Liquor Commission recently decided to deny a license to bring the product into the state, with liquor officials warning that "[t]hese products are clear liquid, resembling water and are packaged in containers that resemble specialty water products...The lettering stating alcohol content and alcohol percentage are not easily seen and the container could easily be thought to contain non-alcoholic product." Still, at least six states have agreed to allow Mojo so far, and others may follow suit. Instead of simply rubber-stamping Mojo and other youth-oriented product entries into stores, we hope other states will follow New Hampshire's example. State alcohol commissions can, and should, put their foot down and halt products with marketing, packaging, and characteristics that cross the line of public safety.