A US consumer watchdog has attacked Anheuser-Busch for its "kid-friendly" marketing of Spykes.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest said yesterday (4 April) that it believes the brewer is trying to "get children interested in alcohol" through its positioning of the drink. Spykes are available in what the body describes as "kid-friendly flavours" such as Spicy Mango, Hot Melons, Spicy Lime and Hot Chocolate. The CSPI is asking A-B to launch an immediate nationwide recall of Spykes and is calling on state attorneys general to investigate.

"Anheuser-Busch should immediately pull Spykes off of shelves, apologise to parents, and hope that in the meantime, no young person wraps his or her car around a tree after being Spyked once too often at the prom," said George Hacker, director of alcohol policies at the CSPI.

"Anheuser-Busch is practically begging to be investigated, subpoenaed, sued, or hauled before a Congressional committee to explain this one."

The two-ounce drinks are fortified with caffeine, ginseng and guarana - ingredients which the CSPI claims are "typically associated with energy drinks that are popular with young people".

The body has threatened to launch private litigation if its call to state attorneys general goes unheeded.

Although no-one was available for comment at A-B when contacted today, a spokesperson told local press that the brewer is "adamantly opposed to underage drinking.

"No company has done more to demonstrate its commitment to proactively fighting this problem," the spokesperson continued, adding that the CSPI is "a perennial, fear-mongering, anti-alcohol group whose members are in the business of spreading misinformation".