Oregon Partnership Tells Claire’s: Response To Flask Flap Comes Up Woefully Short

(Portland, Oregon) Responding to calls to stop selling alcohol flasks in its stores catering to teen customers, Icing by Claire’s says it will continue selling the flasks at its 3,000 stores. But according to a company spokesman, the store will post signs at store counters supporting “responsible” alcohol consumption.

The multi-colored flasks with a myriad of designs are predominantly displayed at Icing by Claire’s stores, which according to the company website, focus on a customer base that includes teenage girls.

Earlier this month, Oregon Partnership, a non-profit group dedicated to combating underage drinking and drug abuse, had written CEO Eugene S. Kahn of Claire’s Stores, Inc., to discontinue flask sales. Other advocacy groups around the country have expressed their displeasure as well.

“Deciding to continue selling the flasks, complete with chains, charms, and colors, sends a bevy of  messages – none of them good or responsible – to teenage girls,” says Pete Schulberg, Communications Director of Oregon Partnership. “In Oregon and around the country, teen girls are drinking more and drinking younger.”

Icing by Claire’s is a costume jewelry and accessory store targeting young women. It is a subsidiary of the tween accessory chain store Claire’s.

The flasks hold five ounces and cost $12.50. Some of the designs include leopard skin, a peace symbol, and the Empire State Building.

“When it comes to preventing underage drinking, parents are the biggest influence on their kids,” says Schulberg. “But we don’t understand why a major retailer such as Claire’s would want to spread the perception among young girls that drinking is fun and cool.”

Last year, responding to Oregon Partnership’s request, Nordstrom agreed to stop the sale of flip-flops with built-in flasks.

After complaints by Oregon Partnership, Macy’s and Bloomingdales decided to take beer t-shirts off their shelves, which received substantial positive attention in the national media. Other national chains have discontinued the sale of drinking games and other similar products.

Oregon Partnership and other anti-drug coalitions are making real inroads in informing parents, educators, and the business community about how alcohol use among adolescents is even more dangerous to their developing brains than previously believed.

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