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.
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)