It may have taken liquor companies 50 years to study the "too new" medium of television before deciding to advertise, but they wasted no time in getting on the Internet, where 37 percent of the users are under age 18.
Although the sites usually bring a screen prompt that reads, "You must be of legal age to enter this site," nothing stops underage drinkers from clicking past this screen and accessing the alcohol web site.
As a result, kids can punch up the site "stoli.com," a Stolichnaya Vodka site, that puts the computer user into "Stoli Central" and link to other sites of Carillon Importer's products such as Bombay Gin.
An Internet search tool such as Yahoo can link to hundreds of alcohol-related sites by simply typing in the words "liquor," "whiskey" or "vodka."
Goldschlager is typical of one of the sites. As described on its web site, Goldschlager is a 107 proof cinnamon-flavored schnapps best served straight or on the rocks. As is true with most of the alcohol-related sites, audience participation in games, sharing recipes, or stories is welcomed.
"Krazy Schlager Party Stories" entrants can receive a free "Schlager Schweatshirt."
The stories on the web site included one entitled "Tricky Treaty" describing a party where women were asked to remove an article of clothing to receive a shot of Goldschlager.
Sites of better-known companies include http://www.purethrill.com, sponsored by Smirnoff Vodka. "You've arrived and the party is just beginning," it reads. Again, site browsers are warned not to enter if they are under age.
One site that gives no age warning is Liqueurs On-line, which boasts that it is "serving fine wines and rare liqueurs throughout cyberspace."
Featuring liqueurs, wines and vodka from around the world, anyone who has access to a credit card can order Soomskaya Riabinovaya Vodka ($40 for the 750 ml bottle) or a $100 gift set of brandy and cigars.
(c) 1996, Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal