Are Whiskey Pods A Stealth Way For Teens To Get Alcohol?
By Nina Shapiro, Contributor
October 8, 2019
Capsules of whiskey, marketed by The Glenlivet, have made some serious entrees into the social media world, most notably being likened to adult Tide Pods. As discussed in a recent Forbes piece, these whiskey capsules have a strikingly similar look to Tide detergent pods. They have hearkened us back to the “Tide Pod Challenge.” This absurd media blitz later having to warn people not to put detergent in their or their children’s mouths just recently morphed to a whiskey capsule challenge.
But there’s at least one major distinction here– anyone with a modicum of sense knows that eating detergent is stupid, dangerous, and potentially even deadly. But whiskey, dangers and all, is meant to be consumed and enjoyed, not to get out those tough-to-handle grass stains. Many of the YouTube videos of folks taking the Tide Pod Challenge were taken down after the Tide Pod Challenge went viral, so as not to encourage this insanity, but some still remain:
The Glenlivet capsule is not being promoted as a challenge. Quite the contrary–it’s being marketed as an elegant drinking experience, with some eco-consciousness thrown in for kicks, as its coating is made of biodegradable, edible seaweed, not plastic. As an added ecological bonus, no wasteful plastic cocktail stirrer is needed. Each capsule contains a distinct whiskey cocktail. The amber/ochre colors work perfectly for an autumnal ambiance.
While many alcoholic beverages, including whiskey, gin, vodka, and cordials are meant to be sipped, this delivery provides an all-or-none burst of the entire capsule contents once popped in the mouth. Each capsule contains about 25 milliliters of alcohol, or roughly four to five teaspoons. An average shot glass serving is 40 milliliters, so one capsule is like downing a bit more than half a shot of alcohol, if doing shots is your cup of tea. Certainly the advertisement for the capsules portrays a more delicate means of imbibing than doing shots, but such is the beauty of marketing.
One of the perks touted by the capsule crowd is that these are portable, not requiring a glass, ice, or a stirrer. The hashtag #noglassrequired began trending soon after its release. As teens and kids were largely partaking in the Tide Pod challenge, will they be popping whiskey capsules for another kind of challenge?
Underage drinking is remarkably common, and portable capsules (no glass required!) has just made this a tad easier. Just as it’s easier to sneak vaping devices, mimicking anything from USB flash drives to pens to hoodie drawstrings, popping a few contained capsules into a backpack allow for pretty easy consumption for just about anyone, just about anywhere.
Yes, as with any alcoholic beverage, one must be 21 years or older to purchase and consume. Sadly, this has not deterred many teens. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 11% of alcohol consumed in the United States is by 12- to 20-year-olds. According to the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a national school-based survey of youth and adolescents in the U.S., underage teens drink more than one may surmise. When asked on this anonymous survey about their alcohol use in the prior 30 days, 30% report drinking alcohol, 14% report binge drinking, 6% report driving after drinking alcohol, and 17% drove in a car where the driver had been drinking.
Now that no glasses are required, no ice, and no stirrer, a more discreet method of consumption has been laid in front of this strikingly high number of teens in this country. Tide Pods now have warning labels and safety locks to prevent toddlers from accidentally eating these candy-colored poisons. Parents should now consider locking their whiskey capsules in their locked liquor cabinets, even if they’re not stored in standard whiskey bottles.
The Glenlivet was contacted for comment but was not available for immediate response.