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MillerCoors to remove caffeine from malt beverages after industry crackdown


CHICAGO Major beer manufacturer MillerCoors is removing caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng from its popular Sparks-brand beer due to the recently raised concerns over the potential adverse health effects of caffeinated alcohol. The two-year-old brand will be sold until MillerCoors’ current inventory is depleted, and the company will cease production by Jan. 10, 2009, at which point Sparks will be reformulated.

“Attorneys general from around the country are gravely concerned about premixed alcoholic energy drinks,” said Maine attorney general Steve Rowe. “They’re popular with young people who wrongly believe that the caffeine will counteract the intoxicating effects of the alcohol.” 

Critics also complained that MillerCoors, a joint venture between SABMiller PLC and Molson Coors Brewing Co., was marketing Sparks toward underage consumers, though MillerCoors president Tom Long denies these allegations. 

MillerCoors is not the first company to react to the pressure from health awareness groups; Anheuser-Busch announced it was removing the same ingredients from its malt beverage brands like Tilt and Bud Extra in June. 

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