Posts Tagged ‘attorneys general’


MillerCoors Agrees to Stop Selling Alcoholic Energy Drink, Sparks

December 23, 2008

SparksMillerCoors has agreed to remove caffeine and other stimulants from its line of alcoholic energy drinks, Sparks. The agreement, announced on December 18th, was reached with the attorneys general of 13 states, including Maine’s AG Steve Rowe.

The attorneys general accused MillerCoors of marketing the Sparks alcoholic energy drink to minors and implying that alcoholic energy drinks allow users to stay awake longer, allowing them to drink more. Despite the agreement, MillerCoors maintains that the accusations of marketing to underage drinkers were “inaccurate.”

“Attorneys general from around the country are gravely concerned about premixed alcoholic energy drinks because these products are dangerous and look and taste like popular nonalcoholic energy drinks,” said Maine Attorney General Steve Rowe. “They’re popular with young people who wrongly believe that the caffeine will counteract the intoxicating effects of the alcohol.”

This is the second victory for the 13 AGs. Earlier this year, Anheuser-Busch agreed to take caffeine and stimulants out of its Tilt and Bud Extra brands of alcoholic drinks. (Read Anheuser-Busch Stops Production of Alcoholic Energy Drinks)

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From the Portland Press Herald: Alcoholic energy drink to drop caffeine
From MillerCoors Agrees to Stop Selling Alcoholic Energy Drinks
From this blog: More articles on the controversy around alcoholic energy drinks

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MillerCoors puts hold on Sparks Red after pressure from AGs

September 22, 2008

Last Wednesday 25 attorneys general, including Maine’s Steve Rowe, urged MillerCoors to stop the launch of Sparks Red. The AGs hinted at a possible lawsuit if the plans for the product, called a “recipe for disaster” by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blementhal, were not abandoned. The alcoholic energy drink was slated to be introduced to the public on October 1st.

The week before, the Center for Science in the Public Interest announced that it sued MillerCoors to stop the selling of Sparks. CPSI contended that Sparks has more alcohol than regular beer (as much as 8% vs. just under 5% in Coors and Miller High Life) and contains unapproved additives, including stimulants caffeine and guarana.

“Energy drinks such as Sparks Red constitute a serious health and safety risk for America’s youth,” Maine Attorney General Rowe said in a statement. “Caffeine gives drinkers the subjective belief that they can function normally, making it more likely that they’ll drink more alcohol and make unsafe decisions that can result in serious harm. Increasing the amount of alcohol in these products just makes it all the more likely harm will result.”

While a MillerCoors spokesperson initially said that the brewer would still release Sparks Red on October 1st, the caffeinated drink was put on hold as of Friday. Blumenthal said in a statement he hoped MillerCoors decides to completely abandon the drink, rather than put it on hold.

MillerCoors’s decision isn’t the first time a brewer changed plans regarding a controversial alcoholic energy drink. In June, Anheuser-Busch stopped production of its caffeinated versions of Bud Extra and Tilt.

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From this blog: Posts on the alcoholic energy drink controversy
From the AP (9/19/08): MillerCoors to put Sparks Red on hold
From the AP (9/17/08): States ask MillerCoors to pull energy drink
From the Portland Press Herald: Rowe joins fight against alcoholic energy drink
From the CSPI: CSPI Sues to Stop MillerCoors’ “Sparks” Alcoholic Energy Drink

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Anheuser-Busch Stops Production of Alcoholic Energy Drinks

June 27, 2008

Anheuser-Busch announced yesterday that they have stopped production of caffeinated versions of its Bud Extra and Tilt malt beverage products and is reformulating them to remove caffeine and guarana, both stimulants. The decision to stop selling these alcoholic energy drinks was part of an agreement with 11 state attorneys general, including Maine’s AG Steve Rowe, who had alleged that the brewer was marketing the products to underage drinkers.

The beer company apparently realized that the attention it was receiving from these caffeinated products, which contain what many see as a potentially dangerous mix of alcohol (a depressant) and caffeine (a stimulant), was not good for its image. In a statement from the company, vice president of communications and consumer affairs for Anheuser Francine Katz, said “We have determined that competing in the prepackaged caffeinated alcohol beverage sector may detract from our reputation as the global industry leader in promoting responsibility among adults who drink and discouraging underage drinking.”

The attorneys general said their investigation, which began more than a year ago, showed Anheuser-Busch made false and misleading statements about the health effects of Tilt and Bud Extra, and that ads were aimed at consumers under the age of 21. Anheuser-Busch also pulled its Spykes product from the shelves after advocacy groups and others accused the company of targeting underage drinkers.

While a small victory, the attorneys general continue to investigate as many as 15 other companies that make similar drinks.

Read More
Anheuser to stop selling alcoholic energy drinks ( Reuters – June 26, 2008 ) Anheuser-Busch, Miller Brewing Company Subpoenaed for Information About its Caffeinated Beer Products ( February 21, 2008 )
Attorneys General ask for Federal Investigation of Caffeinated Beer Advertising (August 21, 2007)
The Influence of the Addiction Community (June 4, 2007)
Anheuser-Busch’s Marketing and Labeling of Alcoholic Energy Drink, Spykes, Causes Controversy (May 18, 2007)

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