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The begin of an additional "Fri-high-day" in the Bronx: with no concerns asked and no evidence of period demanded, a 19-year-old walks right into a grocery store and also buys a 40-ounce party of Olde English 800 malt liquor. Rejoining his friends on a stoop throughout the street, he lifts the fat bottle trumpet-like come his lips and gulps under the brew in loud, foamy swallows.

"It it s okay you nice," the says, pass the party to an passionate friend.

"It gets you pumped up," to add the next boy. "I feel much more comfortable as soon as I'm drinking a 40."

Malt liquor -- basically beer brewed through sugar because that an extra alcoholic absent -- has actually long been popular with black and Hispanic drinkers. However in the outsize 40-ounce bottle, introduced in the so late 1980's with aggressive marketing projects aimed at decimal drinkers, that is fast ending up being the intoxicant of selection for black and Hispanic youths in brand-new York and also other American cities.

Some teen-agers speak to malt liquor "liquid crack" in tribute come its potency. And also to the dismay of medicine counselors, social workers and also ministers who see malt liquor together a dangerous medicine in sheep's clothing, the 40-ounce bottles through brand names choose King Cobra, stunner Horse, Colt 45 and St. Ides have come to be an accessory to the youth-culture ensemble the baggy clothes, expensive work boots and street-hardened attitudes. "Tap the Bottle," a new song celebrate the consumption of 40-ounce malt liquor, has come to be a hit on the laboratory charts.

The essence of the 40 is its mix of size, power and also price. At in between $1.25 and $2.50, essentially the same as a quart bottle, and with one alcohol content of 5.6 to 8 percent, contrasted with 3.5 percent for consistent beer, the 40-ounce malt liquor offers an ext punch because that the money.

The impending companies -- which have long to be criticized for marketing campaigns that target minority areas -- argue the in selling and also promoting the 40-ounce malt liquors, lock are merely trying to keep what has always been a an essential market. But to a chorus that critics, the creation and also targeted marketing of the 40 is a pessimistic attempt to take advantage of negative youngsters looking for a cheap high. The results, lock say, have the right to be dangerous and also occasionally disastrous, not least since of a misimpression the malt liquor is a reasonably harmless pleasure.

"They are coming to be alcoholics and also don't also know it," claimed Eric Brent, a recovering cocaine addict that is the founder the Rescue, an anti-addiction regimen in the Hunts point section of the Bronx. "Denial is such a monster in their lives."

The an exact dimensions that the phenomenon space unknowable. However industry experts say that in the last couple of years, malt liquor has become the fastest-growing segment the the beer market. And drug counselors and health officials say the while they understand of no researches of malt-liquor usage by young human being in the within city, they see indicators of enhancing underage drinking connected to the access of the huge bottles. Viewed as different to Drugs

The popularity of the 40's comes as drug-treatment experts and the police space reporting modest drops in teen-age medicine use. Part teen-agers in negative neighborhoods now see malt liquor together an alternative to drugs, according to Makani Thaemba, a public plan specialist because that the Marin Institute for the avoidance of Alcohol and Other Drug troubles in mountain Rafael, Calif.

At the exact same time, some substance abuse authorities to speak they have actually been seeing growing numbers of young civilization seeking therapy for pair addictions. Increasingly, among the substances is alcohol, countless say, and also often that alcohol came by method of malt liquor sold in a 40-ounce bottle.

Some say, too, that they have noticed a farming association in between drinking 40-ounce party of malt liquor and smoking marijuana. The combination, one teen-ager said, goes hand in hand like "cookies and also milk."

The Bronx teen-ager that bought the Olde English 800 returned to the grocery keep minutes later on to acquisition a 35-cent Philly blunt cigar and, together street fad dictates, that hollowed that out and packed it v marijuana come smoke through the malt liquor. Hoisting a 40 because that Breakfast

Drinking a 40-ounce party of malt liquor for breakfast en route to institution is no unusual, stated a Bronx teen-ager who said he supplied to do just that. Guzzling 40 ounces to intoxication, rather added, is a significant attraction in ~ "hooky parties."

"It is simply a thing we did," stated Clifton W., a 16-year-old Bronx boy who is in treatment for problem abuse. "It simply made me feeling good."

Fakri A., a 17-year-old native the Bronx who is now in treatment, recalled the he was once so drunk after drinking six 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor that he staggered obliviously through a firefight in between drug dealers. "I guess God to be looking out for me that day," that mused.

Darryl McDaniels, a 28-year-old member that the rap group Run-DMC, freshly told a laboratory magazine that he had actually been hospitalized because that alcoholic pancreatitis, the result of year of drink as plenty of as eight 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor a day. 'Pack a many Punch'

The 40-ounce bottle was introduced beginning in the mid-80's together a "retailer and consumer convenience," follow to Ron Richards, a spokesman because that the Miller impending Company, machine of the Magnum brand that malt liquor. Store owners like them, he said, since they take up much less shelf space than six-packs.

And in the wake up of your introduction, national malt liquor consumption has increased to 82.9 million 2.5-gallon instances in 1992 native 73.6 million in 1989, follow to the Jobson publishing Corporation's Beer Handbook, i beg your pardon predicts sales the 97.8 million instances this year.

The reason for such sales, industry researchers say, is the promise of more alcohol for much less money.

"If girlfriend measure her serving dimension by 40 ounces," said Peter Reid, editor of modern Brewery Age, "it's walk to load a most punch."

In a comparative analysis, the Marin Institute discovered that 40 ounces of St. Ides, which in ~ 8 percent alcohol is among the most an effective malt liquors, has more alcohol than a six-pack of traditional beer, and roughly the exact same amount as five 5-ounce glasses that wine.

Brewery officials deny that their quest of a tiny but rewarding segment that the American liquor sector is an initiative to tempt underage or irresponsible drinking, and also they insist that they room not above targeting young minority drinkers. Noting the malt liquor sales have always been the highest among minority drinkers, they say they room simply adhering to the dictates of preserving a market they want to proceed to serve.

"You obviously gear the heralding of any products to teams that have tendency to like them," claimed Randy Smith, a vice president of the G. Heileman Brewing firm of LaCrosse, Wis., the an equipment of Colt 45.

He and officials of other breweries to speak they routinely advertise versus irresponsible and underage drinking. And also they speak they likewise sponsor a selection of service tasks in decimal neighborhoods, native concerts, to proficiency programs, to scholarships.

"The sector is very sensitive and also spends a most money to it is in responsible," claimed Frank Walters, manager of research study for M. Shanken interactions in new York, publishers of impact and industry Watch, leading trade publications.

Two year ago, Heileman brewing came under fire from black customer groups and also civil rights organizations after introducing Power Master, its most an effective malt liquor in ~ 5.9 percent alcohol, and also marketing it particularly to black color drinkers. Regulators notified it off the market, saying the word "power" ~ above the brand violated a law against using brand surname to encourage alcohol content. Linking Success with Liquor

Heileman now deals with criticism over an advertising campaign for Colt 45 that is aimed at a younger black customer than before. Unable to do is a middle-aged black color actor, Billy Dee Williams; instead, a polished, soft-spoken younger black man talks that commitment, giving ago and success. As he does, that reaches because that a can of Colt 45.

Linking black success through malt liquor is downhearted and exploitative, movie critics of the ads say.

"All this speaks of a slick marketing campaign that has actually tremendous affect on African-Americans," stated the Rev. Calvin O. Butts 3d of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. Mr. Butts has actually led a campaign to stem the heralding of alcohol and also tobacco products in poor neighborhoods. Popular at Hooky Parties

Judy Corman, a spokeswoman because that Phoenix House, a drug-rehabilitation organization, said she to be surprised by the response when she inquiry a roomful the Manhattan teen-agers newly if they had drunk 40-ounce malt liquor.

"You should have actually seen the hands go up," she said. "Nearly everyone raised their hands."

Jennifer O. Was among them.

The 15-year-old Bronx high school student claimed she seldom went to classes last year, preferring instead to attend hooky parties at friends' houses, in basements and on rooftops. "As lengthy as there to be music and also people," recalled Jennifer, who is Puerto Rican.

"When I visited hooky parties, we provided to have boxes and boxes and boxes of 40 ounces in the refrigerator, and we would certainly go crazy," she said. She drank to impress her friends, she said, and also her capacity to drink two bottles that malt liquor back-to-back earned her the nickname, "Shorty 2 Forties."

"The many I drank to be three and also a half bottles and also I to be drunk the end of my mind," Jennifer said.

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When request if there to be anything she regretted about her job of drunken malt liquor binges, she paused, and also nodded.