MillerCoors puts alcoholic energy drink on hold

Drew Smith Sep. 22, 2008, 2:00pm

Richard Blumenthal (D)

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Legal Newsline)--MillerCoors' plan to release a new alcoholic energy drink was put on hold after 25 attorneys general asked the company last week to ditch the product.

In a statement released Friday, MillerCoors, a joint venture between SABMiller PLC and Molson Coors Brewing Co., announced that the October launch of Sparks Red won't go forward pending talks with the states.

"MillerCoors is dedicated to ensuring all of our brands are marketed responsibly to legal drinking age adults," a company statement said.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he was pleased by the company's move.

"I am pleased that MillerCoors heeded our concerns -- delaying Sparks Red -- but we must continue a full court press for permanent withdrawal of this disastrous drink," he said.

In a letter to MillerCoors last week, Blumenthal claimed the decision to introduce Sparks Red defied medical evidence that mixing alcohol with energy drinks can be a health hazard. The alcohol content of Miller Lite, a MillerCoors product, is 4.2 percent, while the content of the alcoholic energy drink is 8 percent.

"Sparks Red's alcoholic content -- 8 percent alcohol by volume -- is significantly more than similar beverages, amplifying the destructive effects of alcoholic energy drinks -- binge drinking, car crashes, sexual assaults and risky behavior," Blumenthal said. "I will continue to fight to kill this dangerous drink that poses a serious, unacceptable risk -- especially for younger drinkers."

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