Greater Houston Retailers Cooperative Association, Inc.

News & Events

TABC approves reformulated products related to caffeinated malt beverages

GHRA Chronicle

By Steve Koebele

Today, December 22, 2010, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has approved reformulated versions of the flavored malt beverage Four Loko, which no longer contain the stimulant caffeine. The reformulated versions of Four Loko, manufactured by City Brewing DBA Drink Four Brewing Co. (Phusion Projects), are now available for sale and distribution in Texas. Reformulated versions of Crunk manufactured by Cold Springs are currently pending approval, while applications for reformulated versions of Joose and Core are expected in the near future. New Century Brewing has ceased production of Moonshot, while United Brands Company has ceased production of Max and 3Sum and has no plans to reformulate these caffeinated malt beverage products.

On November 19, 2010, TABC asked members of the alcoholic beverage industry to voluntarily halt sales of caffeinated malt beverages in Texas. This request for voluntary compliance came after the Food and Drug Administration concluded on November 17 that caffeinated malt beverages are unsafe and pose a public health concern.

TABC Agents and Auditors have visited over 11,000 retailers, and found widespread voluntary compliance in the removal of caffeinated malt beverages. Rusty Woodland, HEB Business Development Manager of Beer/Wine Coolers, thanked TABC, "for the prompt and professional manner in which the agency handled the recent removal of certain caffeinated alcoholic beverages from the marketplace." Woodland said, "Your initial actions protected the citizens of Texas, and subsequent rulings allowed for a fair remedy for distributors and retailers. This decision is a great example of how a regulatory agency can collaboratively work with all segments of the three tier system to achieve a greater public good."

Jeff Wright of Drink Four Brewing Co makers of Four Loko said, "In the days after deciding to reformulate our products, we took immediate action to cease the production, shipment and sale of the caffeinated versions of our products. We're proud of the way we've mobilized our network of distributors and retailers to remove the old versions of our product from store shelves, where necessary. Our company has a history of working with regulators and making concessions, such as adding multiple warning labels to our cans and selling versions of our products with reduced alcohol content where required. We're proud to work with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to ensure compliance with all state rules and regulations that pertain to our reformulated products."

TABC appreciates the cooperation of Texas retailers and wholesalers/distributors in removing these products from the Texas marketplace. Assistant Chief Dexter Jones said, "We applaud members of the alcoholic beverage industry for their commitment to uphold public safety despite any financial loss stemming from the removal of all caffeinated malt beverages from the retail market. We appreciate their concern for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Texas."

Contact: Dexter Jones, Assistant Chief of Field Operations - Compliance and Marketing Practices Division, 512-206-3302


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