Who remembers Top Deck shandies, a delightfully refreshing ‘soft drink’ available from the 1970’s through to the mid ‘90’s?
An altogether quite tasty mix of lemonade and ale or, if you preferred, lager and lime or cider and lemonade.
Available in every shop, supermarket, store and outlet across the UK and beyond it was a very popular product – It is even rumoured that Nirvana had 3 cans of Top Deck on their rider when they appeared on the Live UK late night show ‘The Word’ in 1991.
The packaging quite prominently bears HM the Queen’s Royal Warrant – the ultimate seal of approval, writ large across the front of the can. ‘Has to be good doesn’t it – the Queen drinks it!’
With it’s bright appealing livery and logos, often there would be ’12.5% extra free’ or ‘free Top 20 single’ or other such promotions, all backed up by TV, and print media advertising.
These brands were actively, openly and quite clearly marketed at preteens and young teenagers, anyone of any age could pick these up at the local shop without any queries, questions or checks, just as you would with any other soda, pop or soft drink and consume just as freely – and with kids and fizzy drinks, often to excess.
Kids thought they were ‘cool’ as they were freely able to drink alcohol. Wait, what?
With an Alcohol by Volume of up to 2.0% – good old fashioned booze! (Standard lagers are usually around 4-5% ABV by comparison).
Produced, marketed and sold primarily to children.
Top Deck was conceived, manufactured and produced by Beecham’s (that’s right, the same company that went on to become GlaxoSmithKlineBeecham, now the Pharma giant GSK)
There were others just like it too – Shandy Bass, Bulmers Cidona, Kiri, Cydrax. All little siblings to their big alcoholic brothers and sisters.
So it becomes a bit tiresome and hollow to hear the same maxims, arguements, misinformation and disinformation being thrown about in the pursuit of maintaining the prohibition of cannabis – that it is to protect children, or that it is a gateway drug and will ultimately lead to hard drugs and a certain life of addiction…
The same pharma companies lobbying the same politicians to proffer the same old diatribe.
In the very, very recent past, a pharmaceutical company was peddling alcohol to children for recreational use, in full view of the law without any checks or balances and in cahoots with the UK Government and Royal Household.
Producing their very own brand of next generation addicts from the children of the day.
Have a moment to let that sink in.