Malt liquor is a carbonated alcoholic beverage that is similar to beer, but stronger. Typically served in large containers, the beverage is heavily associated with binge drinking, especially among the young and the poor. Malt liquor is known by a number of telling nicknames, such as “liquid crack,” “ghetto juice,” “crazy juice” and “death in a bottle.” Understanding the difference between malt liquor and beer can help people make more intelligent decisions about drinking and avoid serious risks to their health.
Malt liquor is designed for inebriation
The process for making malt liquor is a modification on the process to brewing beer. According to Beer Advocate, brewers increase the amount of adjuncts in the beer, such as corn and sugar, which break down almost completely into alcohol and greatly increases the amount of alcohol in the resulting product. Ingredients are chosen to create the strongest and cheapest beverage possible, with little concern given to flavor. The intent is to create a beverage for those solely interested in getting drunk quickly and cheaply.
Malt liquor is also typically sold in much larger containers than beer. While most beer is sold in 12-ounce cans or bottles, typical containers of malt liquor range from 24 ounces all the way up to 40 ounces. The combination of strength and quantity means that a typical “forty” of malt liquor contains as much alcohol as four to five standard drinks. Many brands give the containers wide necks so that the drink can be chugged quickly. Altogether, the packaging of malt liquor is specially designed make it as convenient as possible for drinkers to rapidly consume dangerous quantities of alcohol.
Malt liquor companies target vulnerable demographics
The manipulative marketing campaigns for malt liquor disproportionately target young, black, poor, urban males. Brands feature hyper-masculine names like Colt 45 and King Cobra, hoping to create a powerful and macho image that will appeal to boys and young men. Rap artists famous for their aggressive and violent lyrics have appeared in endorsements for various brands and write lyrics about drinking malt liquor in their songs. One study found that, of those malt liquor drinkers poled, 88 percent were African-American, 72 percent were male and 35 percent were unemployed, so the marketing appears to be working.
The result of this successful marketing campaign has led to malt liquor being the drink of choice for those most vulnerable to financial difficulties and alcoholism. According to Science Daily, a study found that people who drink malt liquor are more likely to be homeless, unemployed and receive public assistance than drinkers of other types of beverages. They also drink more frequently and at greater quantities than other types of drinkers.
Many impressionable young people develop alcohol addiction from learning to drink malt liquor. If you or someone you know might have a drinking problem, there is help available. The Texas Substance Abuse Helpline can connect you with a treatment program that best fits your needs. Call us today to find out more.