Beer companies promoting drinking games have recently been accused by college administrators of targeting college students and marketing the dangerous and potentially fatal habit of binge drinking.
According to a recently released study, out of a surveyed 6000 students, 50 to 80 percent of college students play drinking games.
“Drinking games are so popular because they combine competition and alcohol,” said Chris Singel, a student at George Washington University.
Anheuser-Busch, the company that makes the popular beer Budweiser, promoted their version of the game, Bud Pong, to 47 different markets including various college towns, according to an article in the New York Times.
The company distributed Bud Pong tables, glasses, and balls in an effort to encourage Bud Pong tournaments in which various teams and leagues can compete using a scoring technique like those used in any basketball tournament.
“It’s catching on like wildfire,” said Francine Katz, spokeswoman for Anheuser-Busch.
But the recent article in the New York Times scrutinized the Anheuser-Busch company for encouraging binge drinking.
According to a recent study released by analysts at Indiana State University, 44 percent of men who play drinking games did so to sexually manipulate other players.
On Oct. 19, only two days after the New York Times article was published, Anheuser-Busch withdrew its promotion for Bud Pong. The company said in a statement that it did not know people were using beer for the games.
The official rules called for the use of water.
“It has come to our attention that despite our explicit guidelines, there may have been instances where this promotion was not carried out in the manner it was intended,” said Katz in a statement.
College students feel exploited by the marketing of the games.
“Anheuser-Busch advertising a water-drinking game is like Phillip Morris advertising for candy cigarettes. Budweiser knew what they were doing and were too afraid to take responsibility,” said Singel.
Many colleges around the country have banned drinking games on campus, including Bucknell University and Kenyon College.
Yale University announced on Monday that they would be adding eight new restrictions to the popular tradition of tailgating at home football games, including the banning drinking games and requiring tailgaters to clear out for each game’s second half.
“We think creating a climate where people are expected to behave in mature and healthy ways and look out for each other’s safety is a better approach,” Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said in a statement.
The university will confiscate any drinking game paraphernalia at the games.
“Tailgates should not be for the sole purpose of getting drunk,” said Judith Krauss, head of Yale’s Council of Masters.
Now that drinking games and the beer companies that are promoting them have come under fire, other college campuses plan to discourage the games.
“We’re not here preaching abstinence,” said Margot Ables, Tufts University’s director of drug and alcohol education services. “We talk to people about what they do to be safer.tell them to think about limitation participation in drinking games, about not drinking so much so fast.”