Hard lemonade, hard price

from the Detroit Free Press:

Hard lemonade, hard price

If you watch much television, you’ve probably heard of a product called Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
And if you ask Christopher Ratte and his wife how they lost custody of their 7-year-old son, the short version is that nobody in the Ratte family watches much television.
The way police and child protection workers figure it, Ratte should have known that what a Comerica Park vendor handed over when Ratte ordered a lemonade for his boy three Saturdays ago contained alcohol, and Ratte’s ignorance justified placing young Leo in foster care until his dad got up to speed on the commercial beverage industry.
Even if, in hindsight, that decision seems a bit, um, idiotic.

The Comerica cop estimated that Leo had drunk about 12 ounces of the hard lemonade, which is 5% alcohol. But an ER resident who drew Leo’s blood less than 90 minutes after he and his father were escorted from their seats detected no trace of alcohol.“Completely normal appearing,” the resident wrote in his report, "… he is cleared to go home."
But it would be two days before the state of Michigan allowed Ratte’s wife, U-M architecture professor Claire Zimmerman, to take their son home, and nearly a week before Ratte was permitted to move back into his own house.

I can certainly understand the cop calling CPS but once the hospital said the boy was okay why put him in foster care?
I work for a social service agency and there are cases where CPS tells us their “hands are tied” because they don’t have enough evidence – which I understand.
But a case like this seems like “no harm, no foul.”

The way some alcohol and energy drinks are bottled could confuse someone. Although I am aware the Mike’s Lemondade is hard, I bet not everyone knows that some lemondade is alcoholic.

I actually don’t understand why CPS was called. It seems like the statement from the security guard and parent would have been enough to alert police that this was an accident.:shrug:

Take into account that it happened in Detroit. Common sense and thinking are not allowed within the city limits. :shrug:

I don’t know if it was printed in the online article, but the hard copy of the Free Press ran a photo of the booth where the Mike’s was bought. It simply advertised “Mike’s Lemonade”. No mention whatsoever that the lemonade was alcoholic.

I suspect that this happens more often than we know. I went to a Tigers game last summer with my labmates. My advisor (also a U-M professor, and also oblivious to much of pop culture) brought his 9-year-old son and also bought a Mike’s lemonade for his son, although those of us with him were the ones who pointed out what the lemonade really was. He was horrified and immediately took the drink away from his son. Thank goodness a cop didn’t spot it.

Given the information above, the parents should sue the vendor, and in the future all vendors should be required to display “adult beverage” somewhere prominant in their signs. That’s just ridiculous! If someone doesn’t drink those kind of beverages, and it’s just advertised as “lemonade” of course some people are going to buy it for their kids (my kids drink lemonade all the time!). And what if the parents were illiterate, or didn’t speak English, and just saw the lemons on the bottle? I’m surprised there hasn’t been a lawsuit already.

In Christ,



True that! :rolleyes:


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