The following statement was made by Aldo Geloso, co-president of the Geloso Group:
MONTRÉAL, March 4, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - "The Geloso Group is a family business, proudly rooted in Quebec for over 50 years. It employs nearly 400 people and exports its diversified products throughout North America.
Last year, a foreign competitor introduced a sweetened alcoholic beverage in Quebec with an 11.9% alcohol content (the maximum allowed for a malt product) named Four Loko, a first of its kind on the Quebec market.
As soon as it entered the market, Four Loko was a tremendous success that forced our company to consider the consequences this success had on our company, our staff and the significant investments we are currently making in our facilities in Laval.
Despite our initial reluctance, we decided to go ahead by introducing our own brand (FCKDUP) to compete with the American company that came here.
"From then on, and even before FCKDUP was put on the market, we had undertaken to work with all levels of government to get approval for a new innovation on the Quebec market: a re-sealable can. It was a concrete gesture for us to encourage responsible drinking. This re-sealable can was recently been approved by the relevant authorities.
The Geloso Group has also taken concrete measures with its advertising to encourage responsible and legal consumption of its alcoholic beverages. The target audience for the marketing of this product has always been the 18-25 age group, excluding those not yet of legal drinking age.
All this being said, with hindsight, I think it was a mistake to enter this category to compete with Four Loko. In fact, the Four Loko category should not even exist. Therefore, tonight I am announcing that the Geloso Group will take the necessary steps with its internal teams, retailers and the entire industry to exit this category as quickly as possible. I have ordered my employees to cease production of the FCKDUP drink immediately. Last Friday, I also ordered the removal of all advertisements for the drink. It's the right thing to do.
Until recently, the Four Loko can contained ethyl alcohol, which is in violation of regulation. For this reason, the product was removed from shelves in December, but is about to return. The entire industry, including retailers, must unit to stop the impending return of Four Loko on Quebec store shelves.
The local manufacturer who is preparing to reintroduce Four Loko on the market must, as we have, make the right decision and not go ahead with the production and distribution of this product. Retailers must also send a clear signal to Four Loko and its local manufacturer that their product is not welcome. Let's be consistent.
"The Geloso Group remains convinced that a roundtable should be set up with all the players in the industry (manufacturers, retailers, the Régie des alcools and the ministère de la Sécurité publique du gouvernement du Québec) to find solutions to better prevent illegal consumption by minors.
In this context, our company is ready to play a leading role in this process and in seeking the implementation of new control mechanisms so that such a tragedy never repeats itself."
SOURCE The Geloso Group