Advocates Call on ‘Tween Stores to Stop Selling Flasks

Thanks to Sue Cairan from the Hampshire Educational Collaborative for sending this in:

Image posted by The Beacon News.

February 24th, 2009 -(Source: Join Together) Join underage drinking prevention advocates in calling on the teen accessory store chain, Icing by Claire’s, to stop selling girl-friendly flasks. The initial report was done by the Chicago Sun Times on January 23, 2009.

Join Together reports that the flasks are decorated with charms and designed to hold 5 ounces of liquor and are available for $12.50, and one-shot keychain flasks with room for the individual’s initials are available for $8.50 each.

The flasks show disclaimers that the product is not meant for minors, and warns that the flasks are designed to carry alcoholic beverages and should not be used for beverages with acidic contents like fruit juices. Oregon Partnership announced that Icing by Claire’s said it will continue selling the flasks at its 3,000 stores, but will post signs at store counters supporting “responsible” alcohol consumption.

Advocates are concerned that Icing by Claire’s is encouraging underage drinking by selling flasks, while targeting its products to girls as young as 17. Icing by Claire’s is a subsidiary of Claire’s, Inc., which operates approximately 3,000 stores throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Alcohol containers should not be considered fashion accessories – which plays into young women’s increased alcohol consumption.  Recent studies show that girls are drinking earlier and increasing their alcohol intake. For example, the rate of 14-year-old girls using alcohol escalated from one in ten to almost one-third over the last 40 years. “In many cases, the girls are outdrinking the boys, putting themselves at greater risks,” said Janet Williams, co-chairman of the Illinois Coalition to Stop Underage Drinking, which wrote a letter to parent-company Claire’s.


You are encouraged to contact Claire’s corporate offices and voice your concern at these harmful marketing practices:

  • Telephone: 800.252.4737
  • E-mail:
  • Fax: Executive Office, 954.433.3999; Investor Relations, 212.244.4237
  • Mail: Claire’s Stores, Inc., 3 S.W. 129th Avenue, Pembroke Pines, FL 33027

4 Comments on “Advocates Call on ‘Tween Stores to Stop Selling Flasks

  1. Here’s a recent article Sue sent that families might be interested in:

    In Easthampton, alcohol sellers get perfect score in compliance check

    Saturday, March 7, 2009

    EASTHAMPTON – All 32 liquor-selling establishments in this city last week
    passed a compliance check in which two teenage girls tried to purchase
    alcohol without identification.

    The teenagers, ages 18 and 19, are from out of town and were trained
    before the checks in a program run by Hampshire Educational Collaborative.

    “This shows me that Easthampton is a safe place for our youth,” said Alan
    Schadel, community resource officer in Easthampton. He organized the
    compliance checks, which took about two hours to complete here, with the
    Strategic Planning Initiative for Families and Youth at Hampshire
    Educational Collaborative.

    “They did exactly what they should have done, which was very nice to see,”
    Schadel said.

    An array of places were checked and passed in Easthampton, including the
    American Legion Club, Treydon’s Bar & Grill, Papa George, Jim’s Package
    Store, Big E’s Foodland, Union Package Store, Easthampton Diner, Amy’s
    Place, Brass Cat, Whiskerz Pub, Nini’s and Pizza House.

    More liquor stores, bars and restaurants were tested last week than the
    city’s previous check in January 2008, when nine out of 19 establishments

    “To have 100 percent compliance this time I think was amazing, and
    fantastic for Easthampton,” said Heather Warner, prevention specialist at
    Hampshire Educational Collaborative.

    The teens left their identification with police, and told servers their
    real age when asked. Establishments have served teens who admitted they
    were 18 in the past, according to local compliance-check organizers, who
    train teens to be truthful.

    Last year, the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission administered compliance
    checks in Easthampton. This year, local law enforcers took over that role.
    If any establishments had failed, penalty decisions would be made by the
    local licensing commission rather than the state’s commission.

    In light of the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission’s federal and state
    funding cuts, the commission intends to train more local police in
    compliance checks, Warner said.

    “When they’re done, frequently it does bring down the rate of sales to
    young people,” Warner said.

    Easthampton High School students continue to participate in compliance
    checks in other communities. A group selected by Easthampton High School
    health teacher Nancy Dunn was trained to work in other communities with
    the Strategic Planning Initiative for Families and Youth, a program known
    as SPIFFY.

    Meanwhile, the coalition is analyzing results of a teen drinking survey
    taken by parents of Easthampton and Northampton seventh, eighth, ninth and
    10th-grade students. The survey, sent to 900 Northampton families and 500
    Easthampton families, addresses attitudes parents have toward underage
    drinking and their perceptions of what other parents think. The results
    will be included in a campaign that seeks to educate parents.

    “We fully expect that this kind of survey shows most people are already
    doing the kinds of things you want them to do,” said Gail Gramarossa,
    environmental strategies specialist at Hampshire Educational
    Collaborative. “But sometimes parents think that maybe they’re the only
    ones who are enforcing these rules.”

    The collaborative last year received a four-year, $50,000-a-year grant to
    fund local projects. The first two years focus on studies in Easthampton
    and Northampton, while the second two years will focus on Hadley, South
    Hadley and Amherst.

    Catherine Baum can be reached at

  2. @Jim- I get where you are coming from. Really I do. But I also don’t think only teen girls shop at Claire’s. It was obviously meant to be used for adults, since the drinking age is 21. I also don’t feel just by selling something it is promoting it to underage children (they do after all have a disclaimer on the product itself). Personally I am not super tolerant of the ANY of the cheap crap Claire’s sells in general beside the point of the flasks. I feel like my energy can be better channeled teaching responsibility and self worth which will be more at the core of the choices my children will make. But to each his/her own!

  3. I would have to disagree that this is a stretch. Given that it is primarily the parents’ responsibility to educate and steer their children toward healthy habits and thoughtful approaches to life’s pitfalls, it is precisely this sort of retail and media negative reinforcement that make’s things confusing for teens and further challenges a parent’s ability. Why would a company design (and why would a retailer make available) a product that would make it “cool” and appealing for teen girls to acquire and use an accessory meant for covert (in defiance of parents and social authority) alcoholic consumption? For sheer irresponsible profit. Obviously. Certainly, the existence of these flasks is not going to be the deciding factor in whether a teen girl misuses alcohol, but why tolerate this sort of product and glamorization at all?

  4. I think that this is a real stretch. Personally I don’t feel this encourages underage drinking in the least but that’s just me. I feel the only people who can discourage drinking in teens are parents, peers, etc. If you have to worry about your kid picking up a drinking habit by buying a flask you have worse problems on your hands.

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