Did you see the movie Beer Wars? One of the main characters from the movie was Rhonda Kallman (formerly of Boston Beer Company). She is the founder and CEO of New Century Brewing Company. her beer, "Moonshot" was part of the focus of the movie. Now, I anticipate she's going to be out of business.
What action is FDA taking?
FDA is issuing Warning Letters to four manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages. All of these products are alcoholic malt beverages to which caffeine has been directly added as an ingredient. The manufacturers and their products are:
- Charge Beverages Corporation, which makes “Core High Gravity HG Green,” “Core High Gravity HG Orange,” and “Lemon Lime Core Spiked;”
- New Century Brewing Company, LLC, which makes “Moonshot;”
- Phusion Projects, LLC (doing business as Drink Four Brewing Company), which makes “Four Loko;” and
- United Brands, which makes “Joose” and “Max.”
FDA is issuing the Warning Letters because the Agency’s position is that the products named in the Warning Letters are being marketed in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FFDCA).
The agency has not approved the use of caffeine in alcoholic beverages at any level, and based on the information FDA has reviewed, the agency does not consider the use of caffeine in the beverages listed above to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS). The Warning Letters should not be interpreted to mean that FDA considers other alcoholic beverages to which caffeine has been directly added to be in compliance with the law.
So, this doesn't affect coffee stouts. It doesn't affect any other beers where the caffeine is added by the use of ingredients that have caffeine (coffee, chocolate, tea). So, Terrapin Wake and Bake is fine.
Will FDA take action against other products containing added caffeine?
At this time, the FDA is sending Warning Letters to four manufacturers of alcoholic malt beverages to which caffeine has been directly added as an ingredient. Other alcoholic beverages containing added caffeine may be subject to agency action in the future if the available scientific data and information indicate that the use of caffeine in those products is not GRAS. A manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that its products, including the ingredients of its products, are safe for their intended use and are otherwise in compliance with the law.
This came about really fast. This is a knee-jerk reaction to a couple of people who aren't responsible anyway. If you know someone who died from taking these products, did it really surprise you?