(Phoenix, Ariz. – June 26, 3008) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced a settlement with Anheuser-Busch that will result in the nationwide discontinuance of its two popular pre-mixed alcoholic energy drinks, Tilt and Bud Extra. As part of the agreement, Anheuser-Busch has also agreed it will not produce caffeinated alcohol beverages in the future.
The settlement, in the form of an Assurance of Discontinuance, follows an investigation into possible violations of state consumer protection and trade practice statutes, conducted by 11 state Attorneys General. The investigations alleged, among other things, that Anheuser-Busch made express and implied false or misleading health-related statements about the energizing effects of Tilt and Bud Extra.
“I am pleased that Anheuser-Busch has agreed to stop making and promoting these drinks,” Goddard said. “They present a significant health and safety risk for America's youth, and I hope other manufacturers will take similar steps to remove dangerous beverages from the market.”
The alcoholic energy drinks contain caffeine and other additives typically found in non-alcoholic products. Some of the marketing campaigns for these drinks implied that the additives will enable consumers to consume more without becoming impaired or intoxicated.
“We are not talking about young people drinking one or two of these alcoholic energy drinks,” Goddard said. “These products are often consumed several times throughout a night of partying and used as a mixer for other alcoholic beverages.”
Anheuser-Busch cooperated with the investigation and promptly decided to reformulate Tilt and Bud Extra without caffeine or other stimulants.
A recently published study by Dr. Mary Claire O’Brien of Wake Forest University found that college students who mix alcohol and energy drinks engage in increased heavy episodic drinking and have twice as many episodes of weekly drunkenness. College students who reported consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks also had a significantly higher prevalence of alcohol-related consequences, such as sexual assault and injury.
This settlement does not constitute an admission of liability. According to the Assurance of Discontinuance, Anheuser-Busch has agreed to:
- Stop manufacturing, marketing and providing to wholesalers any and all caffeinated alcohol beverages, including Bud Extra and Tilt as currently formulated.
- Reformulate Tilt and Bud Extra without caffeine or other stimulants, such as guarana, that are metabolized as caffeine. Until the products are reformulated, Anheuser-Busch has agreed to:
- Eliminate Bud Extra and Tilt in their current caffeinated formulation from any Bartexter recipes (Bartexter is a text messaging service that provides cocktail recipes for Anheuser-Busch products).
- Eliminate from its promotional materials, all references to mixing Bud Extra and Tilt with any other Anheuser-Busch product or alcohol based product. − Stop providing wholesalers with any point of sale promotional materials for Bud Extra or Tilt in their current caffeinated formulation.
- Immediately discontinue the current Tilt Web site (www.tiltthenight.com). The company also agreed that it will not hyperlink or direct visitors to a new Web site. The company may launch a new Tilt Web site, but it will be for a reformulated Tilt without caffeine.
- Take down the Bud Extra Web site for at least 30 days. When it re-launches the Web site, it will only promote the reformulated product without caffeine.
- Anheuser-Busch agreed to stop producing any alcohol beverage that contains caffeine or other stimulants metabolized as caffeine, such as Guarana.
The Attorneys General are continuing to investigate alcoholic energy drinks manufactured by other companies. They will also be working with state and federal officials to encourage further research and regulation in regard to these products.
Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Boucek handled this case.