Pocket Shots: Alcohol Drinks Create Big Controversy

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CLEVELAND, Ohio—The creator of Pocket Shots is defending his product from critics, including the Ohio Department of Commerce.

“This is a nice little product, it’s for today’s lifestyle,” said Jarrold Bachmann. Bachmann developed the 50-milliliter pouches of alcohol a few years ago and claims to be marketing them towards consumers with active lifestyles. “You can say, well, why would you have it on a hunting trip, a camping trip or a bicycle trip, you don’t have to! But if you want it, it’s a convenient way to carry it,” said Bachmann.

Pocket Shots are available in stores in almost half the United States, but not Ohio. According to the Department of Commerce (DOC), it’s illegal for stores to carry the portable shots. It’s also against the law for Ohio consumers to order them online, even though they are easy to obtain. A spokesperson for the DOC said liquor sales in the state are regulated and Pocket Shots are not approved for sale because all spirituous liquor are packaged in bottles, not bags or pouches.

“Why do we need alcohol that comes in a convenient carry all over the place pouch,” asked Holly Chenail. She doesn’t like anything that makes it easier to drink on the go. Nine-years ago, Holly barely survived a drunk-driving related crash with her former husband and two children. They were hit from behind while driving on Interstate 90.

“I was the one that was severely injured,” said Holly. “My head went into the dashboard, couldn’t walk for a while, had problems walking, what they call a traumatic brain injury — because of my head going into the dashboard — I have lots of memory issues.”

Both Holly and Julie Leggett, the Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Northeast Ohio, question whether Pocket Shots should even be on the market. “I thought of Capri Sun juice boxes,” said Leggett. “I’m thinking, where are they going to distribute this at? Is it something that our 8 year olds and 10 year olds are gonna see and be able to have access too? Being small, I think it could be something that could be hidden very easily.”

Bachmann said they’re just like small bottles of alcohol, or nips, which are already available in Ohio liquor stores. He doesn’t believe his product is any more dangerous and he denies marketing towards minors. “I don’t see that, at all,” said Bachmann. “It’s clearly labeled, you can see it, this is clearly not a gimmick, this is a pouch of alcohol, it says what it is, you can see what it is.”

Holly Chenail, a crash survivor, disagrees. “It’s marketing toward, ‘this is cool’. Drinking all the time is not cool.”

The Ohio Division of Liquor Control was previously unaware of Pocket Shots and, according to a statement, will look into the matter further. “The sale and shipment of liquor products that are not approved and sold by the Division is illegal and raises serious concerns about the potential for alcohol getting into the hands of underage persons,” said Commerce Director David Goodman.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) enforces any violation of alcohol-related laws. The OIU has not received any complaints regarding this issue.