From: Reuters
Published February 20, 2008 06:55 PM

Anheuser, Miller face probe on caffeinated drinks

BOCA RATON, Florida (Reuters) - Brewers Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc <BUD.N> and Miller Brewing Co said on Wednesday that several U.S. state Attorneys General have demanded information on how they market and sell caffeinated alcoholic drinks.

The wave of subpoenas revives a controversy that fueled Anheuser's decision last year to pull its Spykes drinks from the market after advocacy groups and others accused the brewer of targeting underage drinkers with brightly colored packaging and hip marketing.

Anheuser, which controls nearly half the U.S. beer market with brands like Budweiser and Bud Light, said on Wednesday that the attorneys general of New York, Maine, Maryland, Arizona and Iowa have subpoenaed it for information about the sale and marketing of its Tilt and Bud Extra products, which are malt beverages with caffeine.

Miller, which is part of SABMiller PLC <SAB.L>, said it received investigative demands from the attorneys general of New York, Maine, Iowa and Illinois for information about its Sparks line of drinks, which contain alcohol and additives like taurine and guarana that are also often found in "energy drinks."

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Energy drinks, with names like Amp, Rush, Full Throttle, Red Bull and Monster, are nonalcoholic caffeine drinks typically marketed to young people.

Both companies said they were working with the states and cooperating with the investigations.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller, additional reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman in New York; Editing by Gary Hill, Phil Berlowitz)

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