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Pabst’s Colt 45 & Snoop Dog hawk high alcohol fruit drink

on 18/03/11 at 9:28 am

Booze News

This isn’t your father’s Colt 45.

The new owners of that malt-liquor brand, with the help of rapper Snoop Dogg, plan to unveil next month a label called Blast by Colt 45. The beverage will contain fruit flavors and 12% alcohol by volume, about twice the level of the original version of Colt 45.

The move places the brand into a rapidly growing category that has drawn criticism from lawmakers and anti-alcohol groups: high-alcohol, fruit-infused malt beverages. That makes Blast a risky debut for the Metropoulos family, which acquired Colt 45 through its purchase last year of Pabst Brewing Co., the fifth-largest U.S. beer supplier by sales.

Brothers Evan and Daren Metropoulos, who control the company with their father, private-equity investor C. Dean Metropoulos, say Blast is the first of what will be a number of efforts to refresh Pabst’s time-worn brands. The elder Mr. Metropoulos made his fortune running companies that sold such pantry basics as Bumble Bee tuna and Vlasic pickles. Terms of the Pabst deal weren’t disclosed, but people familiar with the matter said the price was around $250 million.

The company’s flagship brew, Pabst Blue Ribbon, has enjoyed strong growth since 2002 thanks to a newfound hipster appeal. But Colt 45, advertised by actor Billy Dee Williams in the 1980s, has been in decline for over a decade.

{Full story via WSJ}

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