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Tax on Alcopops Planned

The price of alcopops will increase by 83 cents ($1.07) when a new tax is applied to the bottled mixed drinks of alcohol and juice. Consumer Affairs Minister Renate Künast announced on Thursday that the drinks, which contain whiskey, rum or vodka, would be brought under the new tax net. Earlier, a government study discovered that alcopops are immensely popular among teenagers in the 14 to 17 age group, with 40 percent of teenagers consuming the drinks once a month. The government intends to stem the growing popularity of alcopops among under-age drinkers with the new tax. In France, where a similar tax has been imposed, sales of the club drinks have fallen dramatically. Sales of alcopops Rigo and Breezer make up some 56 percent of Bacardi Deutschland's entire turnover, and rival company Diageo depends on Smirnoff Ice for half its profits. Alcopops sales rose from 3 to 13 million liters (0.8 to 3.4 million gallons) between 2001 and 2002.