Caffeine + Alcohol = Hyperactive Drunk Teens


flickr photo: Symic

Miller Coors, the giant beer conglomerate, announced last week that it will cut the caffeine out of its popular Sparks alcoholic beverage:

MillerCoors today said it has reached an agreement with a coalition of state attorneys general to voluntarily reformulate Sparks to remove caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng from the product. The brewer also agreed not to produce caffeinated alcohol beverages in the future.

Read MillerCoors Press Release

The “voluntary” move is of course a preemptive decision designed to stop further investigation by over 25 state attorney generals who have

criticized the brewing company for its Sparks beverages, saying high caffeine levels in those high-alcohol brews can mask intoxication.

Energy-alcohol drinks “look and taste like popular non-alcoholic energy drinks,” Maine Atty. Gen. Steve Rowe said in a press release. “They’re popular with young people who wrongly believe that the stimulating effects of caffeine will counteract the intoxicating effects of alcohol.”

The attorneys general have also slammed MillerCoors for aggressive Sparks marketing campaigns that they say target youth.

Read the entire Chicago Tribune article…

What you need to know:

Energy drinks such as Red Bull have been mixed by drinkers with alcohol for almost as long as Red Bull has been around, as a means to “party on” while still getting “buzzed”. The Sparks drink took it one step further and saved consumers the chore of mixing. And by consumers, we mean college campus youth. However, studies have shown that mixing alcohol, a depressant, and caffeine, a stimulant, can cause people to feel less drunk than they actually are. As a result, these wired, inebriated youngsters are more prone to accidents and over time, alcoholism.

Earlier this year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer watchdog organization, warned both MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch of its intent to sue them over the caffeination of alcoholic beverages. This helped Anheuser-Busch decide to take caffeine and other unapproved additives out of its two alcoholic energy drinks, Bud Extra and Tilt in June 2008.

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