About 15 years ago, I decided to give up caffeine because I loved it. And it loved me. But I didn’t love the side effects: I’d become so manic that my co-workers in Arizona would have to record my conversations and play them back in slow mode. I had heart palpitations that registered as seismic activity in California.
And the headaches, oh the headaches. Since I didn’t know I was addicted to caffeine at the time, I’d get boulder-against-skull withdrawal headaches whenever I decided I was going to drink less soda that weekend.
So I gave it up. Sure, I still consume dark chocolate, which also has caffeine, but I eat very small portions to make sure I don’t get addicted again. It’s a constant battle.
Now imagine your average self-controlled teenager, who is drinking java, tea or soda loaded with caffeine. And for those parents who aren’t aware, guarana, which is added to energy drinks, protein bars and weight-loss aids, contains even more caffeine, reports National Geographic.
With caffeine in so many products it was only a matter of time before it wound up in a mass-marketed beer. Yes, beer. With BE – pronounced “B to the E” – Anheuser-Busch has decided to double your kids’ buzz, reports The Washington Post.
Why is Anheuser-Busch doing this? “It’s new, it’s innovative, it’s different,” Brand Manager Dawn Roepke tells the Post. How original. I apologize if my sudden fit of coughing sounded like I said “Bullshit.”
A more likely reason is that beer drinkers will stay awake longer while drinking. Writes the Post:
With caffeine in your beer, you can stay awake longer and do many delightful things, such as drink more beer. It’s a beer-drinker’s vision of heaven. Homer Simpson would love it.
I’m sure he would. So does Rhonda Kallman, the creator of the caffeinated libation Moonshot for the Boston beer crowd. “You can go out and dance and have fun instead of falling asleep on the couch,” she tells the Post.
It’s kind of funny. That was alcohol’s one saving grace. Many a partier was saved from doing something completely stupid by simply passing out.
Caffeine in a drink would change that. You could drink and then do something really stupid at the same time! Imagine a drunk, souped up college kid driving!
Now I know why so many Americans drive Hummers. Doh, it’s out of abject fear of teens and young adults driving while hyper drunk.
A second reason for beer makers to put caffeine into its drinks is to appear more cool and hip. And that means they’re targeting America’s youth.
No surprise there, considering the industry is fighting about five lawsuits that attack their youth-oriented marketing practices, reports the Los Angeles Times. Since the story will only be online a few more days, here’s an excerpt:
Beverage makers deny targeting teens and say the claims are groundless.
The suits accuse them of unleashing a flood of provocative, even raunchy, ads to exploit the raging hormones of adolescents. They say teens are disproportionately exposed to such ads through magazines and TV shows with large youth audiences.
For example, a Bacardi ad cited in some of the suits depicts a young woman in a halter top pouring a shot onto her belly while a man licks the rum out of her navel. “Vegetarian by day. Bacardi by night,” the tagline says.
The story comes complete with a photo of the young man getting his licks in. But of course with BE Anheuser-Busch was careful to target only adults in its press release. Then again, maybe the brewer is targeting older folks who have trouble staying awake after drinking only half a beer.
While the above reasons are good ones for putting caffeine into beer, there is still the one overriding reason: duh, caffeine is addictive. And alcohol is addictive. Put the two together and maybe the resulting drink is EVEN MORE ADDICTIVE. True marketing genius.
I wonder what a hangover/caffeine withdrawal headache feels like?