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Aug
21
2007

Attorneys General ask for Federal Investigation of Caffeinated Beer Advertising

Categories: Alcohol, News, Public Policy, Substance Abuse

Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe and attorneys general from 27 other states, Guam and the District of Columbia sent a letter on Monday to the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to complain about the advertising of certain caffeinated beers. The letter specifically named 4 products (Bud Extra, Sparks, Liquid Charge and Liquid Core) and 3 manufacturers (Anheuser-Busch, Miller Brewing Company and Charge Beverages) and called for a broader investigation of the advertising campaigns that promote caffeinated alcoholic drinks.

Many groups believe that the advertising of such caffeinated alcoholic drinks is targeted at teenagers, mirroring popular non-alcoholic energy drinks like Red Bull. Also in question is the potentially dangerous mix of alcohol (a depressant) and caffeine (a stimulant). In 2005, federal regulators prohibited advertisements that implied that caffeinated alcoholic drinks were stimulants, or that the additives somehow offset the effects of alcohol.

Slogans that are being questioned by the attorneys general include Bud Extra’s “You can sleep when you’re 30” and Liquid Charge’s “A new power source for the 21st century.”

According to Jessica Maurer, an assistant attorney general in Maine, “We think this isn’t on their radar screen, so we’re asking them to put it on their radar screen.”

In response to the letter and its mention of Bud Extra, Francine Katz, a company spokeswoman for Anheuser-Busch, said, “This product is simply a malt beverage that contains caffeine less caffeine than a 12-ounce Starbucks coffee.”

See also:

From Portland Press Herald: AGs ask for federal probe into alcohol advertising

Anheuser-Busch’s Marketing and Labeling of Alcoholic Energy Drink, Spykes, Causes Controversy

The Influence of the Addiction Community

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