The new Hard Solo contains 4.5 per cent of alcohol and is now available in 375ml cans, each amounting to 1.5 standard drinks.
However, Hard Solo has ruffled a few feathers, as some consumers fear the product may attract underage drinkers.
It even led The Cancer Council of Western Australia to lodge a complaint to the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) Scheme, as per The Sydney Morning Herald.
The council said that the drink’s manufacturer Asahi had breached the code section, which prevents alcoholic beverages from having ‘strong and evident appeal’ to minors.
“Solo is a well-known soft drink brand in Australia, is popular with children and teenagers, and has highly recognisable branding, packaging, and advertising,” the complaint said, obtained by the outlet.
The complaint added that the new product looks too similar to the original Solo, which could lead to confusion.
“The Hard Solo product is an extension of the soft drink brand, using the same brand colours, icon and font on the packaging and the same can shape as the Solo soft drink,” it said.
However, according to the outlet, Asahi subsidiary CUB Premium Beverages head of marketing Hayden Turner said the new relative of Solo comes in a little black can, distinguishing it from the non-alcoholic beverage.
He added that the drink had been ABAC approved.
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education chief executive Caterina Giorgi said alcohol companies were increasingly trying to appeal to a younger demographic.
“This is one of the first [examples] that we’re aware of here in Australia,” Giorgi told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s a taste and a product that people are familiar with, including young people, and so they’re really trying to cash in on that particular market.”
While alcohol advertisers say they don’t violate these codes and aim to keep their ads away from minors, research has found companies have routinely broken these rules.
A study titled ‘Effects of Alcohol Advertising Exposure on Drinking Among Youth’ surveyed 1,872 teens and found that each advertisement viewed resulted in a 1 per cent increase in the number of drinks consumed that month.
“Youth who lived in markets with less alcohol advertising drank less and showed a pattern of increasing their drinking modestly until their early 20s, when their drinking levels started to decline,” the study added.Featured Image Credit: Hard Solo. Untappd/Adam H