It’s the newest and hippest trend in alcoholic beverages: "hard" or "spiked" soda. Companies are taking what used to be just plain, old soft drinks and adding booze. But there are some growing concerns for parents.
When Sarah Sigro picks up adult refreshments for get-togethers with friends, she's eager to serve one of the hottest new items on the market: root beer-beer.
"I like it because it's delicious, like, it is drinking an awesome childhood drink, but in an adult way," said Sigro.
Sigro's favorite is Not Your Father's Root Beer, and makers say it's flying off the shelves.
"We cannot keep up with the demand across the country and consumers are ranging from 21 years old all the way to 80 years old," said Aaron Sosnoski, with Small Town Brewery.
From spiked root beer to other companies, which make hard soda flavors like cherry cola, orange, lemon lime and ginger ale, industry insiders say alcoholic beverages with traditional soft drink flavors will be the trend to watch.
"I think the trend toward spiked sodas, it will happen and occur for the next year or two," said Brian Sudano with Beverage Marketing Corporation.
The Beverage Marketing Corporation points out there's been a drink evolution when it comes to flavored alcoholic beverages. It started with wine cooler, then flavored vodkas, spiked lemonades, ciders, and now hard soft drinks.
Sudano says some brewers are getting creative.
"So they're pushing into this flavor business, which was originally the domain of the spirit companies," said Sudano.
But with that comes a warning: Experts say parents need to stay on top of this trend, especially with teenage kids.
"Really talk and engage with teens that these drinks are alcohol regardless of what content they come in and how they're packaged. But it's alcohol and we want them to make the right choices by not consuming it if they are under the age of 21," said Natasha Thomas, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
The makers of Not Your Father's Root Beer say they take underage drinking seriously.
"We have 21+ on all our packaging and all our retailers then card, as well as bars," said Sosnoski.
Experts advise parents to stay alert, as even more spiked soda products will be on the market starting in early 2016.
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