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Alcoholic version of Sunny D available

A product marketed to kids as an alternative to orange juice and the “purple stuff” is being marketed to the same generation, this time as an alcoholic beverage.

The makers of SunnyD, formerly sold as Sunny Delight, sell an adult version of the drink south of the border.

Although apparently not available in Canada, SunnyD Vodka Seltzer sold at Walmart stores in several states, according to the brand’s website.

12-oz. Sold individually and in packs of four, the slim cans contain 4.5 percent alcohol and under 100 calories per serving. The company boasts that there is no artificial sweetener in the drinks, although they do contain Stevia, and they say the products are gluten-free.

And for those wondering about the taste, the company says: “We crafted SunnyD Vodka Seltzer to have the same great orange flavor that our fans know and love about SunnyD.”

Many of those fans are probably of legal drinking age now, given that SunnyD has been on the shelves since the ’60s, but the orange-flavored beverage is primarily marketed to children, some would argue.

The vodka version has been criticized for this reason, suggesting that the company’s brand recognition is essentially marketing to minors.

Perhaps anticipating this criticism, SunnyD lists as a frequently asked question, “Isn’t SunnyD a children’s drink?”

The response does not actually protect the company from claims that it may be irresponsible, but instead declares the company’s intent that the product be consumed only by those of legal drinking age (21 in the US).

“SunnyD Vodka Seltzer was created specifically for adults 21+ who love SunnyD’s unique orange flavor and who also enjoy cocktails,” the company said.

“We are committed to responsible practices and marketing to consumers of legal drinking age.”

Addressing concerns that minors could accidentally take the alcohol-based product, mistaking it for traditional SunnyD, the company wrote: skip every jar. At home, we encourage everyone to store all alcoholic beverages and keep them away from children.”

A report by the New York Times earlier this year suggested a similar initiative by soft drink makers. Mountain Dewand cited fears by some that these types of products could reverse the trend seen in the states over the past few years; alcohol consumption by young people is declining.

Health officials in Canada recently updated the country’s consumption guidelines to recommend no more than two drinks a week to minimize the risks, including cancer, associated with drinking.

Other documents from the same group, the Canadian Center on Drug Abuse, say alcohol is the leading psychoactive substance used by youth in Canada. The center says alcohol is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among youth and young adults worldwide, and the facts show: can affect physical and mental development drinking

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