Posts Tagged ‘caffeine/secondary effects’
Joe Sixpack this week has a good and thorough look at the many beer labels that talk about and tip a hat to their colleague, marijuana. The numbers and audacity are surely growing, as the old and antiquated laws fall by the wayside a bit. I like the quaint and funny reference to coats of arms:
With this month’s ballyhooed legalization of marijuana in Colorado, some beer makers are adding playful drug references to their brand names and labels, and regulators can do little to censor them.
Label oversight, a quirky if contentious area of federal alcohol law, has confounded breweries for years with often capricious standards that bear little on consumer protection.
Federal law, for example, oddly prohibits the use of coats of arms or wording that promises ‘pre-war strength,’ whatever that means.
Mr. Russell (aka Joe) also helped educate me that a safety meeting is not necessarily boring and dire:
Yes, there are limits. Dark Horse Brewing, in Michigan, lost its bid for Smells Like Weed IPA, though its hops, in fact, smell like pot. The name was later changed to Smells Like A Safety Meeting IPA. (A ‘safety meeting’ is slang for taking a break on the job to light up a doober.)
But expect to see fewer of those objections as more states move toward legalization.
The video features John Stossel, Nick Gillespie, and Rhonda Kallman (owner of Moonshot, Beer with Caffeine). Among the highlights:
Rhonda says FDA’s ban is “clearly a case of the government over-reaching. … My Moonshot Beer is nothing like these Four Loko drinks.” FDA:
didn’t fully research it … they put the onus on the small entrepreneur to have a scientist. … It’s 5% alcohol by volume and less than a half a cup of coffee of natural caffeine. It’s a great combination. … They won’t stop here. Where will they stop?
Sen. Schumer won’t stop at calling these drinks a “blackout in a can.” He goes further to suggest they may be a death wish in a can. And here, Iowa takes a step toward going much, much further (toward banning any mixture of cola, coffee or Red Bull with alcohol, at bars and restaurants).
For the time being, Moonshot has ceased production due to [the FDA ban]. … Three of the products targeted are high alcohol, high caffeine and high sugar “juice” drinks sold in oversized 23.5 ounce cans and targeted to underage drinkers. The fourth was Moonshot ’69 – an all malt, craft-brewed pilsner beer that bears absolutely no resemblance to these high alcohol, high caffeine sugary drinks. … There is nothing new about adults combining caffeine and alcohol. Who hasn’t enjoyed a rum and Coke, Irish coffee, Kahlua or espresso martini? The question should be what levels are appropriate.
In a massive and coordinated action yesterday, the Federal Government moved to favor Red Bull and pummel other drinks with caffeine.
FDA handed a giant gift to Red Bull here.
The FTC handed a humongous present to Red Bull here.
Other actions are expected imminently, as legions of other regulators rush in to exaggerate the dangers (it looks like soda, it’s “loaded with caffeine,” it’s like a “plague” and “toxic”) and ignore evidence to the contrary. This follows many state actions in recent weeks. Presto, problem solved! We eagerly await the evidence that young people cut back on alcohol, or cut back on co-consumption of alcohol with caffeine. We hope it’s better than the current leading study; it purports to highlight the dangers of the pre-mixed products such as Four Loko, Liquid Charge, Joose and scores of others — without ever having examined any such products. Instead, the O’Brien study reviewed products so different they are not even within the scope of yesterday’s governmental actions (none of which, after some dexterous sleight of hand and misdirection, stopped it from instigating the above actions).
We believe caffeine and alcohol raise plenty of important public policy issues, whether they are combined or not, and they warrant serious deliberation. But many of the deliberations so far reflect political pressures more than an even-handed review.
November 18, 2010 Update: TTB lands another blow, against caffeine added to alcohol beverages, here.
We can learn a lot from this Jakk’d label:
- It is one of very few that mentions the amount of caffeine on the label. This is probably a good thing. It is hard to imagine a good argument for disallowing a short, plain statement as to how much of a powerful psychoactive substance is in the beverage you are about to consume. This product has 75 mg. of caffeine per bottle, according to the label. It might be even better if the label used an icon or other simple statement to show that this is roughly equivalent to a cup of coffee.
- According to box 19, the brand name does not refer to anything nefarious, and instead refers to the name of the company’s founder, and other good things like “cool,” “thorough enjoyment,” and “being pumped about the greatness of this drink.” TTB is not so sure, and noted that “The brand name remains under review.”
- This is a rare spirits label with an FDA-style ingredient list.
Jakk’d is made in Temperance, Michigan.
This Sparks label may well be the label that ignited a big controversy, coming to a boil eight years later. As near as we can tell, it is the first or one of the very first label approvals showing the direct addition of caffeine. Since then, TTB has approved hundreds or thousands of labels with a similar caffeine-alcohol combination as per this list, as explained by TTB here. Beginning about two years ago, CSPI began vigorously challenging caffeine-alcohol combination, and then the states and the FTC jumped in. In November of 2009 FDA said the drinks probably should not be allowed. Caffeinated Sparks is gone, but the controversy burns on.
Holty’s Cyclone is a much earlier approval, and contains at least two sources of caffeine — but it does not have the directly-added caffeine that makes the 2001 Sparks approval noteworthy. Holty’s is beer with added ginseng, guarana and kola nut. It is quite amazing that Holty’s has an image of a doctor examining the beer and seeming to approve, along with a reference to Dr. Holty. It is also surprising that the product lacks anything resembling a modern statement of composition. The terms are all over the place, from lager to herbs to the stimulants.