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.
From this blog: Posts on the alcoholic energy drink controversy
From the Portland Press Herald: Rowe joins fight against alcoholic energy drink
From the CSPI: CSPI Sues to Stop MillerCoors’ “Sparks” Alcoholic Energy Drink