Attorney General Gansler Calls Upon MillerCoors to
Cancel Plans for
Newest Alcoholic Energy Drink Sparks Red
BALTIMORE, MD (September
17, 2008) – Attorney General Douglas
F. Gansler announced today that 25 states, including Maryland,
have urged alcohol beverage manufacturer MillerCoors, LLC to reconsider
its plans and refrain from introducing Sparks Red, a pre-mixed
alcoholic energy drink (“AED”), to the marketplace.
Sparks Red will contain as much as eight percent (8%) alcohol,
a significant increase over the alcohol content in other AEDs.
“AEDs are amped
up alcopops that taste and look like popular non-alcoholic energy
drinks. Similar to alcopops, AEDs are popular
with young people who often incorrectly belive that the caffeine
in the drinks will counteract the intoxicating affects of the alcohol,” said
Attorney General Gansler, a member of the National Association
of Attorneys General’s Youth Access to Alcohol Committee. “MillerCoors’ decision
to serve up a new alcohol energy drink, with even more alcohol
per serving than its current offerings, is simply a bad idea no
matter how you look at it.”
Attorney General Gansler’s letter
to MillersCoors emphasized
the increasing evidence from medical and public health professionals
about the dangers of mixing alcohol with caffeine and other stimulants
found in energy drinks. The letter also cited a study recently
published by Dr. Mary Claire O’Brien of Wake Forest University
which found that college students who mixed alcohol and energy
drinks were more likely to engage in increased heavy episodic drinking
and have twice as many episodes of weekly drunkenness.
In June 2008, Attorney
General Gansler, along with ten other Attorneys General, reached
a settlement with Anheuser-Busch in which Anheuser-Busch
agreed to reformulate its two AED’s, Bud Extra and Tilt.
The Attorneys General alleged that Anheuser-Busch made express
and implied false or misleading health-related statements about
the energizing effects of Tilt and Bud Extra. While Anheuser-Busch
denied the claims, it cooperated and promptly decided to reformulate
Tilt and Bud Extra without caffeine or other stimulants, and agreed
not to produce any other caffeinated alcohol beverages in the future.