Are you the sort of person that enjoys being both hyperactive and depressed simultaneously? Well, I have a bit of bad news for you. On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration killed the buzz of underage drinkers around the country by threatening to ban alcoholic energy drinks from the market. According to the New York Times:
Top federal food regulators threatened on Friday to ban caffeinated alcoholic drinks unless their makers quickly proved that the beverages were safe.
In a statement, the Food and Drug Administration said it had told nearly 30 manufacturers of the drinks that unless they could provide clear evidence of safety, it would “take appropriate action to ensure that the products are removed from the marketplace.”
Well, considering those drinks contain, you know, ALCOHOL, I doubt very much that the manufacturers of products such as Joose (it should come in jooseboxes!) and Wide Eye (Hey, I need that to study!) will be able to prove their wholesomeness.
This potential ban has been a long time coming. Ever since the advent of Red Bull and vodka, alcohol and extreme energy drinks have had a cozy relationship, particularly among college students. Now, drinks like Joose have cut out the middleman and combined the two into a single product. Their attempts to appeal to underage drinkers are obvious. Just look at a can of Joose. It looks like the bottom of a skateboard, for crying out loud. Go to the official Joose Twitter feed and you’ll see the first thing noted about the drink is its 9.9% alcohol content, along with tweets such as “this just in... joose makes ones own self crazy!” You are not likely to see this product featured in Wine Spectator any time soon.
Time magazine notes that many of these drinks contain as much caffeine as a venti cup of Starbucks (the chain’s largest size). A study done by a Wake Forest doctor has shown that mixing alcohol and energy drinks (or having them together in one product) increases a college student’s risk of sexual assault and other alcohol-related consequences. Alcohol and caffeine mixed together have also been linked to heart rhythm problems.
Already, giant beermakers Miller and Anheuser-Busch have agreed to stop making their own brands of alcoholic energy drinks (Sparks, B to the E, Tilt). If you take these products off the market, many kids are still going to go right ahead and mix alcohol and energy drinks together, as they have with Red Bull and vodka. But the FDA clearly hopes this ban will keep at least a handful of kids away from mixing the two, steering them back to the relative safety of plain old Colt .45.
Drew Magary is the author of Men With Balls: The Professional Athlete’s Handbook, and a writer for Deadspin.com.