Focus coming on RTD manufacturers

Cody's, the preferred drink of weed smoking 9yo maori kids in Hamilton

Cody’s, the preferred drink of weed smoking 9yo maori kids in Hamilton

Today the Herald on Sunday editorial and Kerre McIvor launch into RTD manufacturers.

First up the editorial:

The legislation may need to be revisited to ensure its intentions are clear. Though no parental permission appears to have been given for the supply of alcohol in this instance, the law allowing liquor to be given with parental permission to teenagers below the legal purchasing age may need to include an absolute minimum age for alcohol consumption.

And the sale of canned RTD mixes should be reconsidered too. They are purposely designed for young drinkers. When the law was revised a year ago, the industry was told to voluntarily control these drinks or face regulation. It has set a maximum alcohol content for the cans and banned advertising that appeals to minors.

But sweet drinks in cans will always entice the young. It is time they were banned. Beer, wine, and spirits have a natural child barrier: children by and large do not like them. But potent cocktails are a different proposition for those who are not ready to drink.

The industry says RTDs are giving way to cider among younger adults. It should encourage that trend and phase out RTDs entirely. What better reason does it need than the images of a 9-year-old wasted at a skate park?

That image ought to haunt the liquor industry and legislators for a long time. The video went worldwide and the image may have an impact far beyond New Zealand. The boy, meanwhile, needs help. The police and family services must ensure he receives it.  

It clear to all that self regulation appears to be failing. I’m not sure Independent Liquor wanted a nine year old drunk, weed smoking, maori kid to be the poster boy for their Cody’s brand.

Kerre McIvor launches into the manufacturers as well.

Apart from the people who thought it was okay to give a 9-year-old spirits, it’s the RTD manufacturers for whom I have the most contempt. They load the drinks with sugar to mask the taste of the alcohol, a taste that most kids find unpalatable. They market the drinks using bright colours and trendy advertising, then sit back and watch the money roll in.

Alac has found that 43 per cent of drinkers aged 12 to 17 consumed RTDs on their last drinking occasion and 47 per cent of female secondary students say RTDs are their drink of choice. The RTD industry’s cynical drug-pushing seems to be working.

I hope the police are able to track down whoever supplied this child with the drink and fine them under the new liquor laws. In the meantime, it’s sobering to have it sheeted home that every statistic in the underage drinking percentile has a name – and a face.

I think we will now start seeing local body politicians pushing quite stridently for the removal of those cheap and nasty booze shops in local communities pushing their products clearly targetted at kids.


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • steve and monique

    The people who make this have done nothing wrong. The sellers have done nothing wrong. The Mother/shit hangers on did everything wrong. Get after there asses, and leave the innocent ones alone. And to the media, that means all of us who dont give our children booze to drink.

    • Reid

      …sweet drinks in cans will always entice the young

      So do fast cars, pretty girls, rock music, go-karts, makeup and toys in general. Let’s ban all of them as well. I’m pretty sure some kid hurt themselves with a toy today, even if the biased media didn’t see fit to report it.

      • steve and monique

        Hurt myself putting down the devil possessed Port- a- cot the other night. Ban them now please.

      • WABloke

        “So do fast cars, pretty girls, rock music…” Damn straight. I couldn’t wait to leave school, get a job (first week), get a V8 (three months), get drunk, get laid, move into my own flat (no rules other than pay your own bills), smoke pot, take acid, shoot up some smack, thrash the new stereo, race around on motorcycles when the V8 was out of gas and generally go a self-destructive rampage.

        No RTD’s in those days, it was Blackberry nip, Gimlet or Screwdriver, flagons of beer (consumed at great pace) or, as someone else noted, a bottle of spirits and some coca cola. People can blame the RTD’s all they like but it comes back to the parents of the nine-year old kid to take responsibility. What I did I didn’t do at age nine and my kids didn’t do it either.

        • Mr_Blobby

          I skipped the V8 and went for the sports car, the bonet had a hump to accomadate the engine, a real leg spreader. the interior was to small.

          • WABloke

            Sex in cars is a hassle anyway, if you have a nice enough place take the girl to a clean bed, she’ll thank you for it. We made our V8’s dangerously fast and soon took them off the street; the writing was on the wall and the message was clear; go to the track or death will surely come knocking. We started on the 1/4 mile doing 11’s, progressing to mid-7’s.

            Sports car with a bonnet bulge? Please extrapolate.

        • Steve (North Shore)

          You forgot ‘Cold Duck’

          • WABloke

            OMG! You’re so right it hurts.

        • Dan

          Blackberry Nip was the forerunner to C Hardon. Now that was a nice drop to get the car rocking.

          • WABloke

            I preferred Mycoxafloppin

      • Dan

        That’s the end of buzzy bee then?

    • Salacious T Crumb

      Got to disagree with you there S&M. Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right. If you follow that line of thinking then you’ll have no issue with the legal highs currently available.

      • steve and monique

        Agree with you, was pissed off when I wrote that. What I was meaning was the companies,sellers did not give the kid booze, but they are being held as scapegoats. Booze in this country is a problem. You only need spend a night in A+E most weekend nights. Banning it does not work though.

        EDIT= RTDs are too easy to drink.

        • Salacious T Crumb

          I agree the manufacturer & retailer aren’t to blame for providing product in this case although if it had been a beer or wine would he seriously have got past the first one?
          However I can’t see the whole advent and marketing of these products in anything but a negative light so in that regard I completely blame the liquor companies.

          As you rightly point out booze is a serious problem here. Why start the next generation off on a path of inebriation via product expressly manufactured to do just that?
          In my opinion the liquor industry deserve a whole lot more negative press about this; just then, maybe, they will grow a social conscience and practice some good corporate citizenship.

        • Steve (North Shore)

          Booze in this country is NOT a problem. The arseholes that drink it and supply kids with it are

    • Dan

      I agree and you can make this stuff for a quarter of the price it sells for so beware of making too much noise. You cannot stop people producing legal stuff for idiots to make a fool of themselves with. I did it with beer when I was a hoon.

  • Salacious T Crumb

    A couple of quotes from above that stick with me: ” Beer, wine, and spirits have a natural child barrier: children by and large do not like them” and “The RTD industry’s cynical drug-pushing seems to be working”. Sums it all up right there.
    The sugar in RTD’s not only disguises the taste as pointed out above, but enhances the dehydration cycle alcohol causes giving a double whammy. To call this product cynical is a massive understatement and the liquor companies rightly deserved to be pilloried for it.
    How about at the next executive management meeting or board meeting at Independent Liquor, those with teenage kids younger than 18 bring them in for a “focus group” and give them all a 6 pack of the companies laced lolly water. After all, if they are not marketed at young palates then there should be no problem should there?

  • W.Austin

    After checking my local liquor store I found the cheapest rtd’s were in fact made by Lion Breweries lolly water arm The Drinks Factory. Lion don’t seem to be getting any press (good or bad) at all. Is that because they don’t have the brand ‘Will Codys’? The certainly have many brands similar.

  • MarcWills

    The Coroner will be busy if they do away with (controlled strength) RTD’s – alternative is a bottle of vodka with a can of coke. Predictable results, but interestingly although both are illegal in the hands of under 18’s, just one is more likely lethal.

    • Mr_Blobby

      How about glue, meths, petrol most household goods.

  • Col

    Yep hit those who give them the drinks, even if the drinks are locked up, hit them hard, and they need too do it now, name and shame.

    • WABloke

      Yup; it’s common sense (sorry, I know….too little too late) to lock up things like your bleach, your insect spray, detergent, dunny cleaner, put kiddie locks on the cutlery drawer and so on but the booze and the pot are on the kitchen table? WTF?

  • Mr_Blobby

    Prohibition does not work.

    • WABloke

      Depends which end of the Thompson you’re on.

  • Dave

    Hey Kerri, No doubt you drive to work! Using your analogy, when will you call for the manufacturers of cars to STOP producing them, or red ones, as they are having accidents! Suggest you think a little before committing pen to paper, and look at what is really happening. Those that want alcohol, will end up getting it one way or the other. In this instance Kerri, it appears its all down to one main reason, Poor Parenting. No way in hell my child would have ever had access to alcohol, or wanted to touch the stuff we kept in our house. And, there was plenty of supervision and Positive Parenting to ensure they didn’t get left alone, or left with unsuitable people. Or maybe Kerri, just blame John Key, everyone else seems to be blaming him.

  • Don W

    Some one has broken the law by suppling this9 year old booze. Someone needs to be charged and prosecuted

    • Steve (North Shore)

      And that is what is being avoided by the Parents, peers, Police, and the Media.
      They just want to blame the Govt, National, and John Key

      • Don W


  • SJ00

    I disagree RTD are *targetted* at kids. First of all, kids should be exposed to them. Are they sweet? Yes. How do kids know that? Because someone has given them a sip. Or a bottle or can. Kids CANNOT buy them (legally). Simple.

    I would argue RTDs are targetted at females who don’t like beer, and may not want a wine. No different to buying a bottle of vodka and a bottle of lemonade aka KGB, Smirnoff ICE or any other RTD that is exactly the same thing. There are no ads on TV promoting these RTDs at kids. It is bullshit and a piss poor excuse to say RTDs are targetted at kids. The problem is alot of parents and older people think nothing of giving kids a taste of drink when they are underage. And most kids most likely won’t like beer or wine but yes they would like lemonade. I challenge anyone to prove that an RTD company invented an RTD for the sole purpose of selling these to kids (again which is illegal). Pull your head in. Kids have little or no money and the target market would be people with money, not kids. You want to target something for kids, make toys.

    • OneTrack

      I would argue that RTDs are targetted at spirits drinkers who dont want to screw around mixing their own ie you are going to the barbecue and you only want a few drinks so dont want to take the 40oz bottle. ie Convenience for the customer.

      • SJ00

        Yeah good point, all the leading brands have RTDs and chances are you take a 40oz to a party its not coming home with you!

        • That’s why I take gin, nobody will touch the shit but me.

  • LeftRightWrong

    Why are you so against targeting fatty food products that make children and adults alike obese (admittedly though their own choice) but seem to be railing against RTD manufacturers? They are both as bad as each other.

    • Dan

      Same rules apply. You cant stop dumb people from consuming dumb things.

  • Night Stick

    Whatever happened to the guy who introduced RTD’s to NZ?

    • Rodger T

      Crashed his helicopter.

  • GazzW

    Don’t buy the ‘we are switching to ciders because they are healthier’ line. Just like RTDs they are masking the apple flavours with berries etc to make them just as palatable to teens as RTDs. Supermarkets have already voluntarily banned the selling of flavoured ciders.

  • Lion_ess

    While the RTD’s are definitely marketed at the teen market, the case of the 9 year old has nothing to do with RTD marketing. Just happens that is what the kid was supplied with. Could have been beer, could have been dope.

    The arseholes in this story are the supplier of the booze and the mother covering his identity because she thought this was done to child because it would be funny.

  • Custard

    The makers and retailer have done nothing wrong. Back in 2006 we would have seen the following unfold:
    – sue Bradford would be out on the warpath and looking into some way of su(e)ing both the store and manufactures for not looking after this kid while the incomprehensibly inept mother was off playing pokey….. Off at pak and sa…. Sitting at home living on a bene…… Uhm and be let off because society has let her and her family down. and all the country would be able to do is hold a referendum on why normal people do not want strangers being held accountable for the lack of a child’s superv….. Parenting.
    7 years later those same pricks cry a river because a government won’t listen to them.

  • Jas

    Ban them if you like. I don’t drink them but don;t think it is going to make much difference.

  • Andy C

    “pushing their products clearly targetted at kids.”

    Not sure about that. From memory the statistics are that by far the major drinkers of RTDs like Codys 40+ males?? Am I recalling incorrectly?