November 5th, 2010
08:48 AM ET

Michigan bans alcoholic energy drinks

Michigan has banned the sale of stimulant-laced alcoholic beverages.

[Update 3:30 p.m. November 8, 2010] Michigan's liquor police won't have any trouble getting Smirnoff Raw Tea off store shelves; the product from Smirnoff, whose slogan is "Be There," hasn't been there for a year.

Smirnoff parent Diageo said it took the product off the market for commercial reasons in 2009 and should not have been included in the Michigan Liquor Control Commission's ban last week of all alcohol-fueled energy drinks.

And besides, Diageo said, it never marketed Smirnoff Raw Tea as an energy drink, nor does it promote any of its products as having "energizing, stimulating or invigorating properties." Just the regular properties that alcoholic beverages have.

[Original post] Michigan's Liquor Control Commission has banned the sale of alcohol energy drinks such as Four Loko, the caffeine-enhanced brew that sickened nine Central Washington University students at a party last month.

The commission issued the ban Thursday and gave retailers 30 days to clear 55 named products from their shelves. Among the brand names are 808, Joose, Smirnoff Raw Tea and Max.

"The commission's concern for the health, safety and welfare of Michigan citizens and the fact that there is not enough research to validate that these products are safe for consumption has made me believe that until further research is done by the [Food and Drug Administration], they should no longer be on Michigan shelves," commission Chairwoman Nida Samona said in announcing the ban.

A typical can of alcohol energy drink is 24 ounces and has a 12 percent alcohol content, compared with a 12-ounce can of beer, which normally has an alcohol content of 4 percent to 5 percent, the commission said.

Four Loko maker Phusion Projects told the Chicago Tribune that its 23.5-ounce product contains about the same amount of caffeine as a Starbucks tall coffee.

The ban mentions other stimulants, including taurine, guarana, ginkgo biloba and ginseng.

Critics say that the stimulants keep drinkers from passing out, allowing individuals to drink to the point of poisoning themselves.

But Phusion Projects contends that people can easily mix caffeine into their alcoholic drinks themselves.

"People have safely combined caffeine and alcohol for years: rum and colas, Red Bull and vodkas and Irish coffees are standard fare in bars and restaurants everywhere," a company statement said.

Phusion Projects, based in Chicago, Illinois, noted that three of the liquor commission's five members took part in the vote and that only two of them voted for it. The company also complained it was not allowed to defend itself before the order was issued.

"The commission's precipitous and ill-conceived action, if allowed to stand, will adversely affect many businesses in Michigan, including ours, and will deprive the state of millions of dollars of tax revenue," Phusion Projects said.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board also recently proposed discouraging liquor distributors from handling alcohol-caffeine products.

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Filed under: Health • Michigan • U.S.
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Wild Hurricane

    Those drinks are obviously trouble. like texting and driving. If you cant handle the regular alcoholic drinks, you shouldnt drink.

    November 6, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. eldono

    The bleeding heart liberals must be having a field day on this one. If someone wants to drink these drinks, they should be able to and TOTALLY HELD RESPONSIBLE. We have become a society that bypasses responsibility and depends on the idiot government to watch over us.

    November 6, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dictionary

    Liberalism is loving unconditionally.
    Liberalism in this environment is dangerous because if everyone's dreams came true you might not like what happens. This would be a good time to be selective. We can do the liberal step later. You wouldn't turn on an appliance before is was finished being constructed, let alone designed. Hum, lets see what this power cord can do for my piece of paper....
    eeeeek.

    November 6, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Free

    Спасибо понравилось !

    November 30, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Shoked

    Пасибо за материалы! :)
    Respect news.blogs.cnn.com

    December 5, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Девочка

    Я никак не смогла вставить рисунок в коментарий. Вставляю ссылку на рисунок а он не показывает его как рисунок. Что мне делатЬ?
    Фотки беру отсюда – images.yandex.ru/yandsearch?text=news.blogs.cnn.com

    February 18, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. CaTDracklak

    Day – City Council , at night – dreams.

    November 20, 2011 at 4:35 am | Report abuse |
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