Many high school and middle school students used to play it with their friends with dollar bill as a trick to sneak in a kiss. However, the term “Suck and Blow” is no longer so innocent.
The name is back, only this time in the form of a gelatin shooter in a tube. Suck and Blow (SAB), created in July 2003 by SAB Enterprises LLC in Greenville, S.C., was created as “a new and exciting way for young adults to enjoy an alcoholic beverage in nightclubs, bars and resorts worldwide,” according to the product’s Web site.
However, after booming in Ohio, the site’s seductive, cartoonish type font, among other things, has many adults worried it will attract youths in the local community.
“(Underage drinking) is quite a big issue and the reason for it is that there’s a lot of adults out there who, either out of lack of concern or care, don’t see it as a problem to give a beer or two to a minor, but it is against the law and can lead to a lot of problems down the road,” Berea Police Chief Dwayne Brumley stated recently in a Richmond Register story about underage drinking.
With catchy phrases such as “It takes two to tango” on the product’s Web site, Richmond Mayor Connie Lawson warned audience members at Tuesday’s city commission meeting to protect their youngsters from the new alcoholic gelatin.
The gelatin’s Web site, www.suckandblow.com, has a user verification and site viewers have to be 21 years of age or older. However, it only asks for a date of birth and state of residency, which still leaves the door open for underage curiosities.
“Unfortunately I think that we will have young people that will access the particiular Web site to get that information. It makes it too easily available for them,” said Phillis Adams, head start director for Kentucky River Foothills and Children’s Champion Program.
“Our concept is the first interactive beverage in the alcohol industry,” said Doug Hamer, founder of SAB. “People in college or high school, they have all the interaction they need. People in their 30s and 40s and 50s, they just want the interaction of having fun when they go out to nightclubs or home parties. So our product is really geared toward the 30-plus-year-old demographic. We never go after college towns or solicit the product in a young environment.”
When users log onto the site, they are seduced by bright red, bubbly text and suggestive phrases.
The site shows a photo of a male and female touching hands and sharing an “extremely interactive” moment, as the site describes. SAB is advertised as “the fun and flirtatious novelty beverage!” It also has a list of recipes, how-to instructions and photos of SAB parties.
There also is a tab for people to buy the kits to make the “Next Generation of Shots,” or tubes that are pre-filled. The site states: “SAB offers this new and exciting concept in ready-made packaging for patrons to consume and play!”
“We sell empty tubes,” Hamer said. “We don’t sell any ingredients, any type of mixture or anything that goes in the tubes. Then we sell the filled product and that’s sold through distributors — and those distributors sell it to convenient stores or liquor stores.”
Hamer said the products are not sold in grocery stores.
Although potential buyers are referred to a map highlighting the distributors in the country, providing the empty kits without proof of age is enough to worry Richmond officials.
Underage drinking in Madison County is “a problem,” said Sheriff Nelson O’Donnell.
Richmond Police Sgt. Michael Marcum agrees.
“This time of year, you know graduation starts, you got a lot of the people who are having parties and stuff. They get alcohol somehow or another,” he said. “A parent needs to monitor their children. When they go to parties they need to make sure that there’s not alcohol there. ...”
There are no SAB distributors in Kentucky, but they are located in all seven adjoining states.
“When we started the company, the name ‘Suck and Blow’ describes what you do with the product,” Hamer said. “We never promoted any type of sexual innuendo, or anything like that. We just couldn’t come up with any other name for people to understand the concept.”
Havanna Hagans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-1669.