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OFF BEAT: Alcohol watchdog sees red over wine-infused milkshakes


An alcohol industry watchdog group says Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc.’s introduction of wine-infused milkshakes could have far more dire consequences than merely offending the sensibilities of sommeliers the world over.

The “Mango Moscato Wine Shake” — which combines Moscato wine, vodka, mango puree and vanilla soft serve ice cream — is among the seasonal offerings that the Greenwood Village, Colo.-based casual dining chain has added to its menu for spring and summer 2014, according to a statement from the company released on Tuesday.

“With the Mango Moscato Wine Shake, we’ve capitalized on the growing popularity of wine and the Moscato varietal over the past few years, delivering fresh flavors and out-of-the-box mixology just in time for spring,” Donna Ruch, Red Robin's resident mixologist, said in the statement.

While Red Robin predicts the shakes will be well received by “dessert lovers and wine connoisseurs alike,” they could pose a threat to the company’s reputation as a family-friendly dining destination. Bruce Lee Livingston, executive director of the San Rafael, Calif.-based watchdog group Alcohol Justice, criticized the shakes in an interview with USA Today as an attempt to lure younger patrons to drinking alcohol.

“It's alcohol on training wheels,” Mr. Livingston told USA Today. “They're just trying to find ways to get people to consume more alcohol.”