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01.2011

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedOnBeerReport

MAKING A CASE FOR CAFFEINE AND CRAFT BREWS

Could coffee stout be a thing of the past? It’s a possibility. In the wake of the recent Four Loko controversy and the issue of adding caffeine to alcoholic beverages, the Brewers Association is petitioning the US Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to conduct rulemaking on alcoholic energy drinks. The petition seeks to disallow synthetic and pure caffeine additions to alcohol beverages, but allow incidental caffeine from ingredients that have a long tradition in brewing, such as coffee, chocolate and tea. The petition seeks to clarify that coffee, chocolate, herbs, spices, seeds, and fruit are ingredients that should remain available to brewers to make beers for responsible enjoyment by beer drinkers. The goal of this federal petition is to provide a clear and consistent national standard to assist state-based rulemaking under the 21st Amendment. This standard would remove the products of concern from shelves without creating unintended damage to the hundreds of craft brewers who, for many years, have been using traditional ingredients like coffee, tea and chocolate to responsibly craft interesting and flavorful beers. Brewers Association President Charlie Papazian stated, “Responsible brewers have successfully used coffee, chocolate and tea to add interesting flavor and complexity to their beers for decades. In fact, the Aztecs brewed a corn, honey and chili-based beer that contained cocoa. Many craft brewers build on these traditions today using coffee, tea and chocolate. On the other hand, the addition of artificial caffeine not from a natural ingredient source has no heritage or tradition in brewing. We support a ban on the direct addition of caffeine.”

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