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Caffeinated Alcoholic Drinks May Be Illegal

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the so-much-for-irish-coffee dept.

Government 398

Anonymusing writes "The FDA has announced an investigation into the safety and legality of alcoholic beverages containing caffeine. As a Wall Street Journal blog reports, two major beer companies, MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch, stopped producing caffeinated alcoholic drinks last year after reports surfaced of increased negative effects compared to caffeine-free alcohol. CNN notes that, according to FDA rules, 'food additives require premarket approval based on data demonstrating safety submitted to the agency' — and caffeine is a food additive. The 26 targeted beverage makers have 30 days to respond."

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398 comments

Mines a vodka and red bull... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30099720)

Or is that not going to be available either?

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (4, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103348)

Or will they start monitoring in stores now that you wont buy vodka and red bull at the same time?

It's also interesting that alcohol is being kept legal while it has a lot more health issues than like cannabis, like heart disease, dementia, cancer, alcoholism, diabetes, strokes and then the usual ones like hangover and weight problems. It seems it should be other way around.

That being said, I prefer good vodka (Russian Standard Vodka) over beer any day. Usually the best mix is just some smashed ice and lime. I used to mix with red bull, but it tastes like shit now.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (4, Funny)

munctional (1634709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103358)

The USA tried banning alcohol once, but it didn't work out too well.

At least we got cool bar names like "The 21st Amendment" out of it.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (5, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103550)

We tried banning cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and a laundry list of other drugs as well. It hasn't worked out any better.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (3, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103678)

We tried banning cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and a laundry list of other drugs as well

I don't know about cocaine or heroin, but I am all for banning the eating of other people, AND banning me having to do laundry.

(lame joke quota: filled... for now...)

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (4, Funny)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103756)

I am all for banning the eating of other people.

Really I think its a waste of perfectly good food to not to eat people. Think of how many starving people 1 fat person would feed. It is like recycling food.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103864)

Two words, dude. Sustainable cannibalism.

I have a friend who has a rare disease of the internal organs. Every few months he has to go to the doctor, who takes a big chunk of his liver for testing. Between tests, it GROWS BACK like crabgrass.

So how about making human liver from living donors a viable food source? I figure as long as we don't those who eat donated liver also donate their livers to eat, it's all good.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103688)

We tried banning cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and a laundry list of other drugs as well. It hasn't worked out any better.

Actually, out of all of those the only one we've banned is pot. The others are restricted, but legally available from your local pharmacy. Translation- it's good to be a pillhead, but stay away from the stuff that grows naturally, it's "bad" for you.

Along a similar line, if caffeine is an "additive" then how exactly does it get into cofee and tea? Doh!

Besides, while the FDA might be able to put a little pressure here, caffeine is already pre-approved for general consumption and doesn't require individual approval. If their beef is that it hasn't been approved for use with alcohol, then the FDA is out of luck since they don't have control over booze... that belongs to the BATF.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (2, Insightful)

jours (663228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103818)

Karma be damned: Yes, it has worked out better. Sixty-plus percent of Americans drink alcohol (CBS) while only about 7% use illegal drugs (White House), and that includes marijuana.

The "war on drugs" has its problems to be sure, but it certainly does reduce drug use in the general population if only because it chokes the supply.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103862)

It doesn't choke the supply.. at all.
The only good the war on drugs has done is indoctrinated the public into believing that at all illegal drugs are evil and will steal your soul.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (3, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30104016)

7% use illegal drugs (White House), and that includes marijuana.

yeah, so consider the source. A recent survey here in NH found 11% freely admitting to pollsters that they smoke weed.

Pffft... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30104018)

In my lazyboy just a watchin' my TV
There's something that the newsman can't explain to me
Maybe I'm just paranoid as I set my reefer down but
If there's a war on drugs goin' on, how come they're all around?

But we're winning the war on drugs, we're winning the war on drugs
Praise the lord and pass the bong, we're winning the war on drugs
You can grow 'em in your basement or score 'em off the thugs.
Put your hands against the car, we're winning the war on drugs.

--Asylum Street Spankers "We're Winning the War on Drugs"

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (3, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30104030)

We tried banning cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and a laundry list of other drugs as well. It hasn't worked out any better.

That's simply not true. It's provided tremendous revenue for black ops government entities that don't officially exist, has kept the military industrial complex well fed, the US at a constant state of 'war' and provided cover for a creeping police state.

It's worked out tremendously (unless you care about quaint things like rule-of-law).

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103722)

In certain circumstances I think certain combinations are appropriately banned, like liquor store / car dealership for example

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (2, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103496)

Since is only looking at pre-mixed drinks; you're free to mix vodka and red bull if you want, and in fact bars are free to mix them for their patrons as well.

The thing about cannabis... (-1, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30104062)

Is that, after a night of getting really stoned, you are still kinda out of it for a month, and it makes you kinda stupid. Booze gets you hammered, and you are still ok maybe two to three days later.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103468)

It's hard to blame them; alcohol is already dangerous and adding a stimulant can only make it worse. I bet they have trouble drawing the line between "powerful psychoactive drug linked to addiction and serious long-term health problems" and "same but legal for political reasons."

Not that caffeine is particularly dangerous, but someone at the FDA probably gets buried in controversy every time a new alcohol product lands on his desk.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (4, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103686)

I've had a couple of bad experiences mixing energy drinks with spirits, and I avoid it now. The problem is that enough caffeine can keep you up and mobile well past the point when you should have passed out from alcohol, resulting in you doing really, REALLY retarded things. And what you say about "powerful psychoactive drugs" is very true - alcohol is no better (or worse) than many things that will land you in jail for 20 years.

I found the comment at the end of this article [news.com.au] very telling (even if it is about Australia, not the U.S.):

"Dealers often advertise this drug as being like ecstasy but its properties are much more similar to cocaine and amphetamines," said Professor Iain McGregor, director of Sydney University's Psychopharmacology Laboratory. "Users get feelings of euphoria, it's dancey, it's happy, a bit trippy.

"Unfortunately for people like myself and Paul (Dillon), who are here to tell people drugs are bad, there doesn't appear to be a whole lot that is bad about it."

You heard it here first, folks. It's 'unfortunate' for the regulators when there "doesn't appear to be a whole lot that is bad about" a mood altering substance.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (2, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103774)

You heard it here first, folks. It's 'unfortunate' for the regulators when there "doesn't appear to be a whole lot that is bad about" a mood altering substance.

It's an untested drug. Its effects on the body have never been studied. People are taking it anyway, and regulators don't have an easy warning to tell users to get them to stop taking it.

FDA-approved prescription medications have a long enough history of terrifying mistakes. If there's a place to take a stand for conscientious drug use, it's not here.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (3, Insightful)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103836)

I'm not condoning the use of an untested drug with unknown side effects. There's no way in hell I'd try this new compound until it had a long track record and the full effects were well known. <flamebait>Of course, since it makes people happy, that will probably never happen in a clinical trial because it will be banned to appease puritans.</flamebait>

What I was doing was strongly condemning the attitude of a publicly funded scientist who seems to believe that it is his duty to paint recreational drug use as a bad thing regardless of whether or not it is genuinely harmful.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (1)

Capt. Skinny (969540) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103830)

The problem is that enough caffeine can keep you up and mobile well past the point when you should have passed out from alcohol

Somehow I think passing out from alcohol is a problem in and of itself.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103980)

The problem is that enough caffeine can keep you up and mobile well past the point when you should have passed out from alcohol, resulting in you doing really, REALLY retarded things.

Examples of things to NOT do with friends at 3am after too many Red Bulls and vodka shots:

  • Paint your bedroom.
  • Call old girlfriends.
  • Say: "I think I need a haircut."
  • Think: "That Wasabi can't be that hot."
  • Do *anything* without your pants on - alone or (especially) not alone.

This advise is doubly important if you're also high.

Re:Mines a vodka and red bull... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103764)

While they're at it, can they at least get some regulations about caffeine labeling on beverages? I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets really twitchy above a 350 mg dosage, and the fact that most "energy drinks" don't specify how much ("about a cup of coffee" is not a measurement, FFS) is really annoying.

Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok? (1)

Glasswire (302197) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099758)

And would my bartender get arrested?

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (5, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099812)

Point-of-sale mixed drinks are specifically excluded. It's kind of arbitrary, yeah, but the FDA doesn't really have jurisdiction over that kind of thing. State and local health departments do, of course, and I can see some overzealous crusader trying to make a name for himself that way, but trying to get rid of classic caffeine-and-alcohol combinations like Irish coffee or rum and Coke would probably create too much of a backlash.

Hmmm, I wonder about chocolate and coffee liqueurs? I can't see them banning Kahlua any time soon, either.

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (2, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103372)

Crap, now I've gotta chug as many of these vodka and Red Bull drinks as possible before the health inspector bursts in... better tell the bartender my home address now so she can tell the cabbie where I live later.

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (4, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103392)

Unless we're talking about spanish coffees, alcoholic coffee drinks often have a lot less liquor than the drinks they are talking about. A shot of vodka in a 6 oz. red bull has tremendous side effects for a lot of people.

My own informal research done in bars among friends who enjoy drinks like this, heart palpitations aren't unusual after a few vodka/redbulls or jager bombs. Mixing a moderate stimulant with a strong depressant just spells disaster.

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (2, Interesting)

JesseL (107722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103592)

Potential disaster or not, as long as people are making an informed and deliberate choice I fail to see the need for government action.

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103648)

Exactly, and I fail to see how vodka+red bull would have tremendous side effects on people any more than other liquor.

However one thing I've noticed is the major improvement in gaming performance, then things like this [youtube.com] happen.

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (0, Offtopic)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103970)

I fail to see how vodka+red bull would have tremendous side effects on people any more than other liquor.

And I fail to see how talking on a cell phone while driving is any more distracting than talking to passengers while driving, but hey... the studies say different.

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (4, Insightful)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103824)

Potential disaster or not, as long as people are making an informed and deliberate choice I fail to see the need for government action.

Possibly because the informed part is often missing.

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30104068)

You advocating the individual's right to choose and then take responsibility for the consequences? As a superior solution to simply accepting Big Brother's word and loving him as we do? We don't take kindly to your type round here.

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (1)

PachmanP (881352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103672)

My own informal research done in bars among friends who enjoy drinks like this, heart palpitations aren't unusual after a few vodka/redbulls or jager bombs. Mixing a moderate stimulant with a strong depressant just spells disaster.

I'd imagine you'd have issues with heart palpitations after a few redbulls even without the vodka or jager. I would imagine alcohol probably reduces their judgement, and people maybe don't think "gee I've just shotgunned 4 energy drinks maybe I should slow down"

Covert war on energy drinks (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103506)

I also laughed at the TFAs, with the picture of the Vodka and Red Bull on the other TFA...and what about those Jager-bombs?

But, it could be another front on the war on energy drinks. Google searching for "Red Bull kid death", looking for an article about how excessive energy drinks are causing health problems in kids, yields this first propaganda hit. But all it takes is one of these [foxnews.com] to get pusilanimous parents in an uproar.

But I'll admit that those drinks are bad. They almost always but taurine and ginseng and other shit into them to increase the synergistic effects, and they taste like by-products from a meth lab.

One of the TFAs also says that Sparks drinks have been discontinued, but they're still readily available in my state, and there's no shortage of them. But the worst(best?) one is Joose. [drinkjoose.com]

Re:Covert war on energy drinks (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103546)

[...] and they taste like by-products from a meth lab.

Gonna have to take your word on that; but, my friend has said for years that Red Bull (no alcohol added) tastes like "sweetness and strange".

Re:Covert war on energy drinks (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103822)

Red Bull with no alcohol added tastes like bubble gum-flavored urine.

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103554)

Kahlua might skirt around the definition of "food additive" because its caffeine isn't actually specifically added? Hard to say for sure, but it's plausible that having caffeine because the drink includes coffee is legally distinct from adding synthetic caffeine, as most energy drinks do.

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103952)

Yeah, that makes sense. And I doubt the amount of caffeine in a typical serving of Kahlua is significant. I certainly don't feel any more awake after I've had it. ;)

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (1)

CrkHead (27176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103866)

From the summary:

'food additives require premarket approval based on data demonstrating safety submitted to the agency' -- and caffeine is a food additive

Requiring premarket approval does not mean it is banned, just that you need approval. Before you market it.

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103484)

Ignoring the legalities of this, and focusing on the identified risk, decaf would be OK.

The problem as identified in the article, if I read it correctly, is that drinking megacaf beverages with large amounts of alcohol basically puts you in an "inebriated and energized" state. In other words, when you get completely falling-down drunk, the caffeine only mitigates the "falling down" part. It prevents you from passing out when passing out is a damned fine defense mechanism that keeps you from doing something incredibly and amazingly stupid.

The same effect can be seen by a drunk who's had WAY too many and tries to down a bunch of coffee to compensate. Their responses aren't any more accurate - they are still a danger to themselves and others, but it gives them the energy to FEEL like they are functioning somewhere near normal. At least someone on four sixpacks of Bud is pretty much incapacitated, and generally understands that. Add two pots of coffee and they start FEELING energized and alert, when in fact they are only energized.

So you can safely mix anything you want with your alcohol and avoid this effect, as long as you don't want a stimulant. And while decaf coffee does have a certain amount of caffeine, for the purposes of this discussion it's not enough to compensate for the alcohol and is therefore irrelevant.

As to "would the law follow this logical train of thought", well, look at the state of the average knee-jerk law and think about it. Though, as others have stated, if the bartender mixes it it's OK. It's really only packaged liquor they appear to be going after.

Drug criminalization never works. (1)

reporter (666905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103488)

The fact of the matter is that drug criminalization never works. If people want to pop, snort, or inject drugs, then they will do so. If the FDA bans the caffeine-spiked beer, then it will just be available in the black market.

So, the FDA should allow anything to be consumed by anyone under 1 caveat: feeding, selling, or offering FDA-determined unhealthy substances (e. g., heroin, tobacco, alcohol, and the like) to anyone under the age of 21 should be treated as a felony -- with a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison. Once you reach the age of 21, you are an adult in the eyes of the law, and you are free to destroy your body in any way that you want. What you do with yourself is none of society's business. Since health care is not guaranteed in the USA, medical treatment for your sickness (due to your deliberate consumption of unhealthy substances) will not be paid by the other taxpayers.

The "Just say no." campaign never worked. The "You are free to inject until you die at your own expense." campaign will work.

Re:Drug criminalization never works. (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103558)

Eh? They aren't "criminalizing drugs", they're just applying the normal regulatory process to commercial mass producers. This is what they're supposed to do.

It's perfectly fine to mix such drinks yourself, or have the bartender mix them for you...

Re:Drug criminalization never works. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103714)

Eh? They aren't "criminalizing drugs", they're just applying the normal regulatory process to commercial mass producers. This is what they're supposed to do.

Which makes me wonder why more aspects of society don't operate under a default assumption that [chemical/additive] is unsafe until proven otherwise.

Re:Drug criminalization never works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103754)

While I agree with the premise of your argument, i must point out that the age should reasonably be no more that 18 years. 18 is the point were you are emancipated and therefore responsible for all your own actions, and this can even be lower in some instances ie enlist at 17 your parents sign a release and you don't have to go through them for anything again.

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (1)

5pp000 (873881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103494)

Yeah, it's pretty weird to read that the combination of caffeine and alcohol is not "generally recognized as safe". For how many centuries do you suppose people have been drinking Irish coffee?

Re:Shoot, there goes my Irish Coffee. Is Decafe ok (3, Informative)

_Ludwig (86077) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103808)

For how many centuries do you suppose people have been drinking Irish coffee?

Less than one. [wikipedia.org]

The names alone should be enough for a ban (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099766)

Liquid Charge, Max Fury, Hard Wired, Vicious Vodka ... Anyone who sells stuff with names like that deserves to be shut down. Of course, anyone who buys the stuff deserves whatever happens to them, so maybe they should stay on the market. ;)

Re:The names alone should be enough for a ban (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103498)

It's not particularly novel. Hurricane and Colt 45 (Lando Calrissian's beer of choice) are both "malt liquors".

Jeebus, this is a first for me. (-1, Offtopic)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099778)

This story has been on the front page for almost 24 hours, and I'm the second poster? Wow, somebody please tag this one "nobodygivesashit".

Re:Jeebus, this is a first for me. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103446)

It just turned up here. That said slashcode is a bit flaky now. Occasionally it gives me a front page with the last five or so articles removed. Maybe it gave you a preview for some reason.

Re:Jeebus, this is a first for me. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103522)

Seeing as his and some other first posters posts are dated Saturday November 14, @09:07PM , and the articles November 15, @05:36AM (when I saw it too), maybe it was available earlier too.

Rum and coke (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103374)

How long has this been around? Probably as long as coke. So now they think it should be made illegal. Idiots.

Re:Rum and coke (4, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103752)

How long has this been around? Probably as long as coke. So now they think it should be made illegal. Idiots.

No, sorry, the summary is really short on vital information. Rum'n'cokes are not on trial here. There is a standard called GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) that can be met, and rum'n'cokes fit this standard. And no one "thinks they should be illegal" - this is an announcement of a start of an investigation, not an announcement of a new law. That investigation MAY lead to a law, but it may not.

These are NOT rum'n'cokes they are talking about. "Sparks" (a Miller/Coors product), one of the products that is being reformulated, had as much alcohol as a can of beer but as much caffeine as a "stay awake" pill. The proportion of alcohol to caffeine is the issue. Think "rum'n'coke with a 'no-doz' pill chaser". Have a half-dozen of them and the caffeine will have you so hyped up you'll feel normal, or damned near it. A half a dozen rum'n'cokes would put you under the table - a half dozen of these little beauties would have you driving through the front door of the bar into the table while convinced that was your garage. Your coordination and function is shot to shit but you have enough energy to feel normal.

This is largely the same risk as people mixing Red Bull with alcohol, except in this case breweries are setting the proportions. You can't regulate stupid - college kids will always do stupid things like this - but at issue here is whether to ask companies to refrain from making this proportion intentionally. Faced with the evidence in the investigation, several manufacturers have voluntarily (as in, not under coercion from the Government) discontinued this class of caffeinated alcoholic beverages because of the possibility of accidental abuse due to the fact that the caffeine-to-alcohol ratio in these beverages tends to conceal the effects of the alcohol.

I'm not totally in favor of laws like this, but this isn't a law. At least not yet. It's an investigation that may or may not lead to a law. At that point, I'm still not sure about a law, but at least the risks would be identified and documented. Then manufacturers would probably just pull the product based on the information given before a law was even passed (and some of them already did!).

Jack and Coke? (2, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103382)

Since Coke is probably the single most common dark mixer, a lot of bartenders are going to be peeved over this one.

Re:Jack and Coke? (1)

metaomni (667105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103838)

To everyone who is going to make a similar comment, please please please RTFA.

This has nothing to do with banning Jack & Coke, Red Bull + Vodka, etc. You're free to get smashed and caffeinated at the same time until you keel over in twitchy delirium. All the FDA has indicated is that they haven't authorized caffeine as an additive to alcoholic beverages AS THEY COME FROM THE MANUFACTURER. Well, more specifically, they're asking the makers why they thought they didn't have to clear it with the FDA.

Re:Jack and Coke? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30104000)

This has nothing to do with banning Jack & Coke, Red Bull + Vodka, etc... Well, more specifically, they're asking the makers why they thought they didn't have to clear it with the FDA.

And their answer should probably be, "people have been mixing liquor and caffeine in the form of [rum,whisky,whatever] and Coke for 95 years, and this mixture is generally recognized as safe (for whatever values of 'safe' alcohol permits).

I think that's what this thread is about.

Re:Jack and Coke? (1)

metaomni (667105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30104074)

As has been laid out in detail elsewhere in the comments section, the problem isn't a matter of type -- it's a matter of degree. Most of the drinks in question are not the functional equivalent of a rum and coke. We're talking more along the lines of a no-doze with a shot of rum as a chaser.

They're basically asking the mfg's to show why it's GRAS to have that much caffeine mixed with alcohol (my guess is they won't be able to).

No more Ice Breakers!? (2, Funny)

eggman9713 (714915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103390)

Ice Breaker:

1.5 oz Vodka
0.5 oz Cassis
4 oz Energy Drink of your choice (I prefer NoFear or Amp in mine)
4 oz Pineapple Juice
Shake with ice, serve on the rocks in a martini glass.

Come and get me, coppers!

Re:No more Ice Breakers!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103580)

Tucker Death Mix [tuckermax.com] beats your pussy mixed drink anyday. :P

SPARKS! (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103404)

!!!!

Warning: Negative side effects may include being a lot more drunk than you thought you were and the irrational urge to do something dangerous.

!!!!

Re:SPARKS! (2, Interesting)

thenextstevejobs (1586847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103474)

As my evangelical Sparks drinking friend used to say, "The alcohol needed to come up with bad ideas, and the energy required to follow through with them".

He checks the Sparks present in all the liquor stores he goes into to see if they still have the Old Label, thus still containing the original recipe... Still fairly common here in San Francisco

Buzz Beer! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103410)

Does this remind anyone of the Drew Carey show, with their concoction of coffee and beer? Buzz Beer!

Re:Buzz Beer! (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103422)

    Damn, you beat me to it.

    Long live Buzz Beer! :)

Re:Buzz Beer! (2, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103572)

Beer mixed with coffee sounds quite horrible. In fact, anything mixed with beer does.

Only vodka and such pure liquors are good for mixing.

Re:Buzz Beer! (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103816)

Lager + Lime juice + a little salt = Michelada (chilli powder optional)

It's a lot more refreshing than straight beer and great when you are on the beach

Re:Buzz Beer! (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103588)

Does this remind anyone of the Drew Carey show, with their concoction of coffee and beer? Buzz Beer!

The concept is intriguing, but... it sounds like it'd taste pretty vile...

The War on Drugs just got dumberer (5, Funny)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103444)

Soon, we'll be smoking weed in a bar wondering how we can score some Jack & Coke.

Newest version of All Your Base... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103776)

- In AD 2010...
- War was beginning...
- What happen?
- We get Kenyan...
- Somebody set up us the Dems
- What??
- Main screen turn on...
- It's you!
- A shout out to you gentlemen...
- You all have acted...stupidly.
- But don't jump to conclusions.
- All your base are belong to us.
- You are on the way to socialism!
- What you say??
- You have no chance to survive - make your time.
- Vote out "Libs"
- Impeach "Libs"
- For Great Justice!

The War on Drugs just got smarterer (1)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103796)

Actually, I think this is the right way to determine legality of drugs. (And alcohol and caffeine are certainly drugs.) Determine whether a reasonable person can use the drug with a high confidence of safety. If yes, the drug is legal. If no, the drug is illegal for reasons of public health and safety.

Jack and Coke are two consumables that are reasonably safe in their separate forms. If you mix them together then indeed you have alcohol and caffeine, but each active ingredient is more dilute than before. That's different than adding all the caffeine of Coke (or much more) to a drink with all the alcohol of Jack Daniels.

Re:The War on Drugs just got dumberer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103990)

That is effing hilarious!!! Score 5 Funny!

correlation, causation... same difference (1)

Anti_Climax (447121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103458)

Of 2,900 students in the study who had had a drink in the past month, 39% of those who had mixed an energy drink with alcohol had ridden with a drunk driver, compared with 23% of those who had a plain alcoholic drink. More than 12% of students who had consumed an energy drink with alcohol had been hurt or injured, compared with 6% who had consumed a plain alcoholic drink.

causality is overrated anyway

Re:correlation, causation... same difference (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103624)

Being statistically rigorous is so painful hardly anyone does it anyways.

It's just a lot more convenient to take causality directly from the statistic. It's close enough to right to work a good bit of the time.

Only nerds would bother requiring rigor before drafting laws/regulations in response...

Re:correlation, causation... same difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103892)

Yeah, only nerds would want to be sure that laws and regulations aren't based on potentially flawed conclusions.

Seriously?

Re:correlation, causation... same difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103918)

Mod parent up. Do you think this result might just have something to do with the target demographic for energy drink marketing? EXTREME!!!

Just try and take my Espresso Stout away!!! (4, Insightful)

Cordath (581672) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103526)

There's a pretty huge problem with banning alcoholic beverages containing caffeine. The worst offenders are not drinks that come in a can from Coors, but mixed drinks, like Vodka Red-Bull's. You can make laws telling people not to mix their Vodka and Red Bulls together, but good luck enforcing them! (Honestly, you'd think common sense and a sense of taste would be enough...)

The truly awful thing is that, if this kind of law was enacted, the drinks it would actually kill would be wonderful, rich microbrew espresso stouts and imperial coffee stouts. Outlaw Coors Light if you must, but DO NOT FUCK WITH GOOD BEER.

Finally, the most damning argument against this sort of law of all is that stupid frat boys and girls will still wind up doing stupid things no matter what they're drinking. So what's the point eh?

Re:Just try and take my Espresso Stout away!!! (4, Informative)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103878)

These beers are subject to the regulation of the FDA, meaning people are trusting the products are safe by assuming the FDA okays them. The FDA does not have sufficient scientific evidence as to whether caffeine + alcohol has additional problems to be concerned about- until they do they cannot approve these products. Products that are not regulated by the FDA aren't so much of a problem, as it is (or should be) understood that people are then solely trusting the person making the product. If government regulators let things slide "because lots of people are doing it already" we might still have x-ray machines in shoe shops and cure-all radioactive water.

I don't see what all the commotion is about. We know how science works, and that is exactly what the FDA is trying to do. They assume the null hypothesis (new products may be unsafe) until proven otherwise- or at least until they know the risks and can make in informed decision. These manufacturers knew they had to get FDA approval, but didn't. This wouldn't be a problem if the beer companies did their homework.

Most importantly, the FDA is saying it is illegal to make these products without approval not to make these products at all, ever. If the mix is as safe as people believe it to be, there won't be a problem.

Re:Just try and take my Espresso Stout away!!! (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103956)

For those that can't be bothered to read TFA: They are looking into banning the addition of caffeine to alcoholic drinks. They have said nothing about banning the use of coffee as an ingredient.

I wonder... (1)

rapturizer (733607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103548)

if the drinks with caffeine caused the behavior they are concerned about or the personality of the person. The people a the bar I occasionally visit who order these drinks (particularly the ones with energy drinks) seem to have a certain type of personality that would lend itself to the actions observed.

Re:I wonder... (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103696)

The people a the bar I occasionally visit who order these drinks (particularly the ones with energy drinks) seem to have a certain type of personality that would lend itself to the actions observed.

That might have something to do with that most people have been trained "don't mix uppers with downers." So, I'd say this falls under the category of people who do stupid things intentionally because they want to be rebellious.

Pan-galactic Gargle Blaster (2, Funny)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103618)

Let's see...

"Take the juice from one bottle of that Ol' Janx Spirit.
Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V
Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost).
Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it (in memory of all those happy Hikers who have died of pleasure in the Marshes of Fallia).
Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qualactin Hypermint extract, redolent of all the heady odours of the dark Qualactin Zones.
Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger. Watch it dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolian suns deep into the heart of the drink.
Sprinkle Zamphour.
Add an olive.
Drink...but very carefully."

No caffeine, so it's safe (kinda).

This is why jagerbombs are horrible.... (1)

asdfx (446164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103668)

when you mix alcohol and caffeine people don't pass out.

instead they run around black-out drunk until someone bumps into them and a fight breaks out right at closing time.

save yourself and don't mix the two, especially in high doses.

Missing the Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103724)

Are they really going to mess withe Coca-Cola like that?

Most popular caffeinated alcoholic beverage? Jack/Jim and Coke

change the packaging (1)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103782)

Maybe they can just alter the packaging to have two sides, like dual-action drain cleaner or epoxy. Open the top and it mixes when you pour.

Re:change the packaging (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30104040)

Brilliant idea. It would look cool too I'm sure it would be a selling point. Plus they could have them be different colours or better yet both be clear that change colour when mixed. I'm sure w/e company notices this will succeed.

On a side note. Lets hope no one patents your little idea. I'm sure it is patentable...

Aren't they 10-15 years late? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103880)

Caffeinated alcohol drinks really caught on in the mid to late 90's (when "rave" culture became mainstream and made lamer than it already was). So why now?

Not just Caffine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103886)

The problem is not just caffeine, which has been included in drinks for quite some time; rum and coke was mentioned earlier. It is the ingredients that are mixed in with energy drinks that have strong side effects that are not fully understood, such as guarana and taurine.

Now it may seem a little ambiguous at first, but there are several classifications of these drinks:
1. Crazy bar mixers, such as jager bombs and red bull vodkas (strong but expensive)
2. Malt liquor/energy drink mixers, such as Sparks (weak but cheap)
3. High alcohol/strong energy drinks (strong and cheap), such as Four, which seem to have been pulled off the market in my area.

Drinks such as Four have an alcohol content of 9-11% in a 24 once serving, which justifies its name as 4 times the normal alcoholic drink content. It's hard to draw the line in this debate, but being able to ingest 4x the alcoholic content of a beer plus a red bull or two from a single can is a bit much. Why not throw some absinthe in while we can?

Absolute Truth (4, Insightful)

Groggnrath (1089073) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103950)

I assure you, Jager and Redbull can come to no good end.

Though I don't think it's any business of the FDA.

Is it too much to ask for a society that lets people make their own mistakes? Must we be hemmed in by the moral and ethical mistakes of the stupidest amongst us? How long must the law protect us from ourselves? Have you as a public been fooled into thinking I'm unaware of the dangers of smoking, carousing, and general debauchery? I assure I'm well aware, and I don't care. Please stop making thing illegal for my own good. I'm old enough to choose to make my own mistakes. As should you be.

Misrepresentation of data! (1)

junglebeast (1497399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30104014)

First, this is not a scientific study, it's simply a survey that shows a slight correlation between some increased risk behaviors and mixing alcohol with caffeine... All this study shows is that people who make increased risk choices are more likely to make increased risk choices in other unrelated issues...because they are risk takers. Correlation is not causation! Wake up!!
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