More complaints about ads and bar promotions in Quebec encouraging excessive drinking

Some bars and advertising in the province were the subject of more complaints in 2017 than in the past few years for encouraging excessive drinking.

The Ethics Council of the Quebec Alcoholic Beverage Industry said they've seen a spike in complaints and the government isn't doing anything to address the problem.

The council got 20 complaints last year, compared to 11 in 2015.

Council president Claude Béland said the arrival of beverages such as Four Loko and FCKDUP have stirred up concern among parents, the drinks making up a number of the complaints for its high alcohol content camouflaged by sugar and additives and its potential for abuse. 

Béland said the increase in complaints is also partly because businesses are finding ways around the law to maximize drinking.

Béland cites complaints about cross-promotions that defy the minimum set price for beer and bars that promote excessive drinking by pretending they're actually socially responsible awareness campaigns.

Béland said the government needs tougher laws to crack down.

Béland said alcohol is often trivialized, pointing to complaints about bars that feature ads promoting excessive drinking or using sex to advertise it.

They also received complaints about Rockstar Energy Drink for having the alcohol content predominant on its packaging and advertising, which is a violation of the ethics code.

The council has also alerted the Quebec Liquor Board about Application Presto, an app that has signed a deal with Montreal-area bars promoting the alleged free distribution of alcohol which is illegal. The app indicates that if you pay the monthly $9.99/month subscription and show the app installed on your phone at one of the bars, you can get a free drink.