from today's London Times online
Caffeine beer to liven up drinkers
A NEW beer laced with as much caffeine as half a cup of coffee could prove to be the perfect pint for drinkers struggling to stay awake in the pub after 24-hour licensing laws come into effect.
BE, produced by the Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch, has gone on sale in America and if successful is expected to be exported to Britain.
The drink, pronounced B to the E, where B stands for Budweiser and E stands for extra, is 4.5% alcohol and has 54mg of caffeine. Containing fruit flavouring, ginseng and guarana, a tropical berry, it is aimed at young drinkers already used to mixing spirits with energy drinks such as Red Bull. Nathaniel Davis, the brewmaster who designed the drink, said it had an aroma of blackberry, cherry, typical hop and malt flavours, rounded off with a slightly sweet and tart finish he describes as the wow factor.
American nutritionists have warned, however, that as both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, drinkers could end up more dehydrated than usual and with worse hangovers.
Smaller breweries have in the past produced beer caffeine mixes, but Anheuser-Busch is the first to bring the idea to a large market. In 2003 the brewer made more than half of all the beer drunk in America.
Tom Sanders, a professor of nutrition at Kings College London, was reported to have said drinkers were unlikely to drink enough to become addicted to the alcohol and the caffeine. He said: What concerns me more is that it will encourage drinkers to believe that the effects of alcohol will be lessened by caffeine. That is very dangerous.
Dawn Roepke, the brewers manager for new products, said she did not believe there would be problems with the new drink. She said that if drinkers stay out late having fun with their friends, and do it responsibly, we will be happy.
Beer purists are unconvinced by the new innovation. Greg Kitsock, editor of American Brewer, said: Its an interesting concept, but when I want to drink beer I dont want to ingest caffeine at the same time. When I need a shot of coffee, I dont want a beer.