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Anheuser-Busch will stop alcoholic 'energy' drinks

  • Story Highlights
  • Busch will remove caffeine and other stimulants from its alcoholic energy drinks
  • Attorneys general found Busch was marketing the alcoholic beverages to minors
  • Anheuser-Busch to pay $200,000 to states that investigated the brewer's practices
  • Bud Extra and Tilt "met all regulatory requirements," read a statement from brewer
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From Karina Frayter
CNN
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. will reformulate its alcoholic energy drinks to remove caffeine and other stimulants they contain as part of a nationwide legal settlement, it announced Thursday.

An investigation by attorneys general of 11 states found the largest U.S. brewer was marketing its caffeinated alcoholic beverages to minors and misrepresenting the drinks' health benefits, New York state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said.

Though the company agreed to make changes, it insisted its Tilt and Bud Extra drinks were not marketed to minors.

"It may take several weeks for the original versions to sell out at retail accounts, and then the reformulated products will be available for purchase at retail," Francine Katz, Anheuser-Busch's vice president of communications, said in a written statement.

"Although Bud Extra and Tilt met all regulatory requirements, had much less caffeine than a Starbucks coffee, and had received all necessary federal and state agency approvals, we are reformulating these products in response to the AGs' concerns," she said.

Anheuser-Busch has also agreed not to produce, distribute or market any other alcoholic drinks containing caffeine or other stimulants.

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"This agreement keeps these dangerous products off our shelves and makes it clear that targeting underage consumers with advertisements for alcohol will not be tolerated," Cuomo said.

But Katz said the settlement agreement "contains no findings that Anheuser-Busch engaged in unlawful behavior or advertised to youth, and it points to no documents stating that we did so."

She said the attorneys general "drew their own conclusion about whom we were targeting in marketing Bud Extra and Tilt. However, the AGs' allegations are wholly inconsistent with the way these products actually were marketed."

Promotion of the drinks was primarily limited to "licensed retailers," she said. "No advertiser who was actually trying to target underage people would have used such a marketing plan."

Anheuser-Busch will pay $200,000 to the states that investigated the brewer's practices.

In addition to New York, the states involved in the settlement are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico and Ohio.

The states are investigating other companies selling alcoholic energy drinks, said Maine Attorney General Steve Rowe at a news conference Thursday. He said there are 10 to 15 companies that sell alcoholic energy beverages but he would not say how many of them are under investigation.

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