Maryland comptroller calls Natural Light 77-pack irresponsible, says it encourages binge drinking

- A 77-pack beer promotion has landed a beer maker in the crosshair of Maryland's top financial official.

Earlier this month, Natural Light began selling limited edition 77-packs of its beer at select stores in College Park, Maryland where the University of Maryland resides.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot says he is not criticizing the beer’s quality, but the quantity of the package. He says selling mega packs in college towns is irresponsible and he is threatening a state investigation.

Why does he care about this?

“It’s not a joke,” Franchot said. “You can’t have kids advertising on TV, target kids for products that they shouldn’t be taking advantage of. We have been very concerned about underage drinking.”

Only 1,400 cases were produced and have been sent to a limited of number of stores in College Park as well as locations in New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The “party packs” though are meant to be shared and not consumed by one person at a time.

In Maryland, the state comptroller has jurisdiction over alcohol taxes. For years, Franchot has battled big brewers over Maryland laws he says are designed to restrict small craft brewers in favor of big beer companies.

Franchot says this kind of promotion from a big brewer like Anheuser-Busch goes against responsible business.

“No craft brewer is allowed to or would engage in this this kind of cheap alcohol to young people that primarily has one goal – how to get drunk cheaply,” said Franchot.

A spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch tells FOX 5 it invests $1 billion to fight underage drinking and drunken driving. The company also added, “We strive to ensure that our consumers are enjoying our products in a safe way.”

Franchot has fired off a letter to the top executives of Anheuser-Busch and he says he wants to receive an answer back.

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