Oregon Partnership and other advocacy groups around the country are praising the decision by Anheuser-Busch to stop the sale of energy drinks containing alcohol.
The decision was in response to an investigation by state attorneys general about the detrimental health effects of the beverages and the aggressive marketing of the products targeting underage drinkers.
Anheuser-Busch said it would stop making caffeinated versions of Bud Extra and Tilt and remove the stimulant guarana from those beverages.
The brewer pledged to call on other alcohol producers to discontinue alcoholic energy drinks as part of an agreement with the Center For Science in the Public Interest. CSPI had threatened to file a lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch.
“These beverages were nothing less than a public health hazard,” says Pete Schulberg, Communications Director of Oregon Partnership, one of the first groups to publicize the dangers of alcoholic energy drinks about a year ago. “We’re thrilled that Anheuser-Busch got the message, and now we’re expecting Miller Brewing to follow suit.”
Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing Company – the two largest American brewers - are the leading producers of the alcoholic energy drinks capitalizing on the popularity of energy drinks marketed to young people.
Two years ago, Oregon Partnership helped lead the successful charge against Spykes, an Anheuser-Busch energy drink sold in two-ounce, multi-colored bottles containing 12 percent alcohol. Anheuser-Busch eventually pulled the product from the market.
Later, the California-based Marin Institute, an alcohol industry watchdog group, released the most comprehensive report yet on alcoholic energy drinks.
“The available research suggests that alcoholic energy drinks create a dangerous mix,” the report states. “Yet the alcohol industry markets the beverages with messages that fail to alert users to the potential for misjudging one’s intoxication. Indeed, these messages irresponsibly suggest the beverages will enhance alertness and energy.”
The companies market these products as ways to “party all night.” On the Tilt and Bud Extra websites, they say “Move from party to after-party,” “Get your second wind,” and “Who’s up for staying out all night.”
The Marin Institute, along with Oregon Partnership, recommend that the producers of alcoholic energy drinks containing alcohol take them off the market, that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conducts research on the health and safety of energy drinks and that the Federal Trade Commission investigates energy drink producers’ marketing practices.
About Oregon Partnership:
Oregon Partnership is a statewide nonprofit that has worked to promote healthy kids and communities for well over a decade by raising awareness about drug and alcohol issues, providing prevention education in classrooms, and 24-hour crisis lines for people needing help. To learn more, visit www.orpartnership.org.