Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published November 17, 2010

Franchot Thanks Industry for Heeding His Call to Ban Caffeinated Alcoholic Drinks

Comptroller Urged Ban at Board of Pubic Works Meeting

Annapolis, MD (November 17, 2010)
– Just hours after his call for a voluntary statewide ban on caffeinated induced alcoholic beverages, Comptroller Peter Franchot issued this statement after the Maryland beverage industry agreed to stop selling the products:

“I want to thank the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association and the Maryland Beer Wholesalers Association for acting so promptly and so responsibly on what is really a public health issue. These products are proving to be unpredictable at best and outright dangerous, at worst. We have seen cases across the country and now, tragically, here in Maryland where adults are not able to handle this potent mix of alcohol and caffeine. A person’s natural instincts and warning signs are fooled by the caffeine into believing the alcohol is having little to no effect. The results have been deadly and we must do all we can to prevent these tragedies from repeating themselves over and over.

In order to act in the quickest manner, a voluntary action was needed and that is why I called for it at this morning’s Board of Public Works meeting. In this case, legislative action would simply have taken too long and put too many more lives at risk. As they have in the battle against underage drinking and campaign for responsible consumption, Maryland’s beverage industry has proven to be responsible corporate citizens. In fact, these businesses are for the most part family owned and very active members of the local communities. By working together, today we have taken an important step to protect the lives of Maryland consumers.”

Attached is the joint letter sent to the Comptroller by the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association and the Maryland Beer Wholesalers Association informing him of their decision to institute a voluntary ban in response to his call.

Contact: Joe Shapiro, 410-260-7305, office, Comptroller’s Office
Nick Manis, 410-263-7882, Maryland Beer Wholesalers Association
Steve Wise, 410- 244-7000, Maryland State Licensed Beverage Asssociation

November 17, 2010

The Honorable Peter Franchot
Comptroller of Maryland
80 Calvert Street
Louis Goldstein Treasury Bldg.
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

RE: Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages

We are writing in response to your request that our trade associations call upon their members to voluntarily halt the distribution and sale of products commonly referred to as caffeinated alcoholic beverages. Individually, our respective organizations met and discussed your request. Each association reached the conclusion that the responsible course is to ask that our members voluntarily halt the distribution and sale of infused caffeinated alcoholic beverages.

As you know, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently examining these products, and individual states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, New York, North Carolina, Indiana, and Arkansas have in recent weeks implemented bans or begun their own review of these products. In response to your request and the circumstances surrounding caffeinated alcoholic beverages, both of our associations have concluded that the responsible course is to halt the sale of these products pending an outcome of the review being conducted by the FDA. Accordingly, the board of the Maryland Beer Wholesalers Association (MBWA) voted today to call upon its members to take the lead and voluntarily stop accepting shipment of these drinks. Likewise, the board of the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association, Inc. (MSLBA) voted today to call upon its members to stop retail sales of these products as promptly as business circumstances permit.[1] <#_ftn1>

On behalf of our respective trade associations, we thank you for contacting us on this matter and for working with our industry to address this issue of mutual concern.

Should you have any questions, please contact Steve Wise, Legal Counsel to MSLBA, at 410-244-7000, or Nick Manis, Deputy Director of MBWA, at 410-263-7882.


(Hard copy signed by) (Hard copy signed by)

John Daue, President, MBWA Alice March, President, MSLBA

[1] <#_ftnref1> MSLBA was established in 1950 and is comprised of over 1,200 Maryland businesses that hold retail alcoholic beverage licenses (restaurants, bars, taverns and package stores). MBWA was established over forty years ago and is comprised of 22 family owned and operated companies throughout the state of Maryland.