New Rules for Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages

With the hammer coming down on alcoholic energy drinks, like Four Loko, which add synthetic energy blends and lots of pure caffeine to their high-alcohol-content beverages, the Brewers Association will formally petition the US TTB to set rules on alcoholic drinks containing caffeine. [source:]

The questionable alcoholic energy drinks have received a lot of negative attention because of directly caused health issues, deaths and more. Many states are banning the sale of drinks, like Four Loko, including New York.

According to, “The petition seeks to disallow synthetic and pure caffeine additions to alcohol beverages, but allow incidental caffeine from ingredients that have a long tradition in brewing, such as coffee, chocolate and tea. The petition seeks to clarify that coffee, chocolate, herbs, spices, seeds and fruit are ingredients that should remain available to brewers to make beers for responsible enjoyment by beer drinkers.”

Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout
Pictured: Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout

The intention of the Brewers Association’s petition is to provide a clear national standard to assist states in their individual rulemaking, under the 21st Amendment, which would remove the questionable alcoholic energy drinks from shelves, while allowing products brewed from naturally caffeinated ingredients, like coffee, chocolate and tea to remain.

According to Charlie Papazian, Brewers Association President, “Responsible brewers have successfully used coffee, chocolate and tea to add interesting flavor and complexity to their beers for decades. In fact, the Aztecs brewed a corn, honey and chili-based beer that contained cocoa. Many craft brewers build on these traditions today using coffee, tea and chocolate. On the other hand, the addition of artificial caffeine not from a natural ingredient source has no heritage or tradition in brewing. We support a ban on the direct addition of caffeine.”

In the interest of honoring longtime natural brewing tradition, I support this petition. How about you?


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