City Attorney Dennis Herrera, along with 13 other state attorneys generals, helped rid store shelves of MillerCoors' "Sparks", an energy drink containing caffeine, taurine, ginseng, and guarana. Oh, and some alcohol too. And today, MillerCoors will no longer make caffeinated "Sparks," "Sparks Plus," "Sparks Light," or any other alcoholic energy drinks ever again.
Invented in San Francisco by local beverage marketing company McKenzie River Corporation, the tacky beverage, it seems, is marketed to the underage set. (Sparks shamelessly uses images of batteries, rocket ships, and powered snowboards in their ads.) What's more, the high-love combo reduced the drinker's sense of intoxication, making you feel less drunk than you actually are. Which is bad.
According to a statement Herrera released today, the "combustible mix" is hurting the children, who are our future.
A recently published study found that college students who mix alcohol and energy drinks were more likely to be hurt, sexually assaulted or drive drunk than those who only drank alcohol. In addition, college students who reported drinking alcohol mixed with energy drinks engage in increased heavy episodic drinking and have twice as many episodes of weekly drunkenness.
MillerCoors will also have to fork over $550,000, which will be divided among the thirteen states and
San Francisco. The agreement will also force MillerCoors to do the following: "Stop manufacturing and marketing all caffeinated alcoholic beverages, including "Sparks" as currently formulated; reformulate its alcoholic energy drinks so that they do not contain caffeine or other stimulants such as guarana; stop using images in its marketing that imply energy or power, like the battery-themed +/- symbols on its can; stop particular marketing themes that appeal to underage youth, eliminating advertisements that feature a bright orange-stained tongue and not renewing its contract with William Ocean; and immediately discontinue the Sparks Web site."
Looks like it's back to Vodka Red Bulls, folks. Alas.