Beer giant Anheuser-Busch tried sponsoring a series of beer pong events across the country in July 2005. To avoid backlash, it called the game Bud Pong and told its distributors to substitute water for beer. Bars had Bud Pong-branded tables, balls and glasses.
The New York Times even printed a story about the Bud Pong events.
"It's catching on like wildfire," an Anheuser-Busch spokeswoman said in the story. "We created it as an icebreaker for young adults to meet each other."
But the promotion was short-lived.
The Times story also pointed out that nobody was using water to play the game and suggested that the game encouraged binge drinking.
Two days later the beer-maker pulled the promotion, saying it had learned that bars were not using water, but actually letting patrons play the game with beer.
"It has come to our attention that despite our explicit guidelines, there may have been instances where this promotion was not carried out in the manner it was intended," the same Anheuser-Busch spokeswoman said when the game was pulled.
A year later, department store giant Kohl's was targeted by organizations that advocate responsible marketing of alcohol and related products for selling drinking games in its stores.
Bing Bong's Schmidt said he understands the concerns.
"We're trying to preach responsibility, and the game is actually at a leisurely pace compared to other drinking games," Schmidt said. "College drinking is not a new thing, and outlawing a table is not going to change problem drinkers from problem drinking and responsible drinkers from drinking responsibility."
Other companies also know about the perception.
Get Bombed, a company that makes brightly colored ping pong balls and racks to keep beer pong cups aligned, refused to talk about its game, which sells for $14.99.
In an e-mail to ABC News, a company representative wrote, "Since there seems to be a lot of controversy and ignorance towards the game, I hope you can appreciate our cautious approach."
Tom McManus, CEO of online retailer KegWorks, put it best: "It's a funny market."
His company mostly sells products allowing people to create their own home bars. Out of roughly 4,000 items the company sells, six are drinking games, including the "Family Guy" cups.
"It's a part of our business that we don't actively advertise," he said. "If people are out there looking for it, we provide the service. … We don't market them actively through a lot of campaigns just because of the funny demographic that plays these games."
Numerous college newspapers, magazines and blogs have asked him to advertise, but KegWorks declines.
"We choose not to participate because we don't want to promote it to the underage community," McManus said.
"It's a line we debate all of time," he said. "We sell a whole bunch more of these things" if we choose to go after that market.
KegWorks advertises its products to those specifically searching for drinking games on sites including Google, Yahoo, eBay and Amazon.
McManus said a lot of recent college graduates and other entrepreneurs have popped up because large companies are avoiding the market.
"I'm guessing that Mattel is not putting [out] something like this," he said. "The big beer producers … they can't promote it, even though they would love to."
Those who manufacture such products, McManus said, need to "be prepared to face the wrath of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the other types of groups, and every binge drinking study."
"It's kind of that market," he said. "That there … that you can provide products to, but you don't want to actively market to."