Prohibits the sale and delivery of certain caffeinated or stimulant-enhanced alcoholic beverages.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the alcoholic beverage control law, in relation to prohibiting the sale of caffeinated or stimulant-enhanced alcoholic beverages
PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to ban the sale of all caffeinated or stimulant enhanced alcoholic beverages (hereinafter CABs) in New York. CABs are defined, under this bill, as a beverage with a combination of between 5 and 15 percent alcohol by volume (beer contains between 3.2% and 5% alcohol by volume) and 6 milligrams of caffeine or other stimulants per ounce (most sodas contain between 2 to 6 mg of caffeine per ounce, and coffee and tea can contain between 7 to 20 mg of caffeine per ounce) .
These caffeinated or stimulant-enhanced alcoholic beverages (CABs) are now being actively marketed to and increasingly used by those who are between the ages of 14 to 25. Currently, there is concerns that CABs have questionable health effects on those who consume the product, especially those under the age of 25.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Amends ABC Law section 3(3) to revise the definition of beer so that it does not include caffeinated or stimulant-enhanced alcoholic beverages CABs. CABs are defined as alcoholic beverages that have more than 5% alcohol by volume (slightly less than the amount of alcohol contained in beer) and also contains 6 mg per ounce of caffeine or any other stimulant, including, but not limited to guarana, ginseng, taurine, or wormwood oil, that has an equivalent effect as such quantity of caffeine. Under current law, most CABs are considered to be a "beer" or malt liquor product, hence they are able to be sold in convenience stores and grocery stores.
This section also adds a new definition to the ABC Law to define "Caffeinated or stimulant-enhanced alcoholic beverages". This provision was added to ensure that all CABs that are currently sold in stores can no longer be sold in the state by any retailer of beer or liquor. Under this definition, a CAB has an alcohol content over 5% alcohol, but less than 15% alcohol. Currently, all or practically all CABs that are sold in New York have an alcohol content of less than 12% alcohol, hence for all intents and purposes, all CABs would be banned for sale in New York. The reason for the upper limit threshold is to exempt the many and popular coffee based alcoholic beverages that are currently sold in New York liquor stores. Examples of these products include Kahlua, Tia Maria, Petrones Cafe, Cafe Aztec, and many other such products. The differentiation between these coffee based products and CABs is that caffeine is naturally occurring in coffee and herbs such as guarana, ginseng, taurine or wormwood oil are not added. Further, these products are sold exclusively in liquor stores which can only be patronized by adults. In addition, coffee-based alcoholic beverages tend to be mixed with milk or cream which makes them heavier and less vulnerable for over consumption. However, CABs tend to be lighter in body, sweeter to mask its alcohol
content, and hence, are more easily subject to over consumption and abuse.
Section 2: Adds a new ABC Law section 100(8) that provides for a general prohibition for the sale, delivery, or giving away of any caffeinated or stimulant-enhanced alcoholic beverage (CABs)to another person in New York.
JUSTIFICATION: Energy drinks are designed to make individuals "feel" more aware and awake. To do this, such drinks contain stimulants such as caffeine, guarana, ginseng, taurine, or wormwood oil and may also contain proteins and vitamins.
Energy drinks are the fastest growing sector in the beverage market. Energy drinks are primarily marketed to and consumed by persons between the ages of 14 to 35 years old. One of the leading brands in this market, Red Bull, was created in Austria and introduced into the U.S. market in 1997. Red Bull and other energy drinks, have become popular mixers at bars and night clubs, with the Vodka Red Bull being one of the more popular drinks that mix alcohol and caffeine.
The popularity of mixing energy drinks with alcohol at bars has led to the introduction of energy drinks premixed with alcohol. Many of these beverages are primarily or partially malt based beverages, and therefore, can be sold in the same places as beer and malt liquor, i.e., supermarkets, convenience stores, and bodegas. High alcohol CABs such as Joose and Four Loko are examples of this trend.
Clinical and field studies conducted in the past few years have found that the over consumption of CABs that combine high amounts of alcohol and stimulants, such as caffeine, raises significant public health and safety concerns for both the consumer and for the public at large.
Among the "Top 10" concerns raised by researchers about the sale and consumption of CABs include:
1) Individuals, particularly those under the age of 30, who combine alcohol with stimulants engage in riskier drinking behaviors and drink a greater amounts in each session. The stimulants used in CABs make individuals feel more aware, but this "feeling" of awareness does not actually decrease the levels of impairment or coordination, reflexes, and judgment that result from excessive alcohol consumption.
2) Individuals are less able to judge their actual levels of inebriation when consuming CABs. This can lead individuals to consume more alcohol than they would otherwise consume if just consuming an alcoholic beverage along. Normally, with the consumption of alcohol (a depressant), consumption goes down as the drinking event progresses because the subject becomes more tired. Instead, with CABs, the consumer becomes drunk, but more awake, which can lead to the further consumption of alcohol. The Marion Institute stated that this product "brilliantly keeps them alert and wanting to keep drinking the product". Other studies have demonstrated that consumption of such beverages leads to
significantly higher levels of episodic drinking and episodes of weekly drunkenness. There have been examples in Westchester County of underage persons getting alcohol poisoning because they drank CABs to excess and did not have the inhibition needed to stop consuming these CABs.
3) Consumption of CABs makes such persons think that they can mistakenly undertake dangerous activities, in a safe manner, such as driving an automobile.
4) CABs are commonly consumed by underage drinkers and those who are under 25 years of age who are generally less sophisticated about when and how to properly consume alcoholic beverages. This can lead to higher incidences of physical injury, sexual assault, becoming the victim of sexual assault, and alcohol poisoning. In addition, underage consumers tend to already have underdeveloped decision making skills, which the consumption of alcohol clouds further.
5) CAB manufacturers have aggressively geared their product packaging, marketing programs, and the taste of their product to further draw consumers between the ages of 14 - 25. Currently, the existing CAB market is male dominated, however, manufacturers are shifting their attention to obtain a larger female consumer base, by offering CABs that are touted as being "light", "sugar-free" or "low carb". In sum, the trend is for more individuals between the ages of 14 and 35 to consume such products, not less.
6) The long term health effects of consuming high levels of alcohol (a depressant) and caffeine (a stimulant) are not known. However, having two agents in the same beverage that have opposite effects has generally been considered to be detrimental to long term health. The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now looking into the safety and legality of these beverages. Those experimental studies that have been conducted have not established the safety of co-ingesting caffeine and alcohol, but there are indications that it may heighten the risk of cardiovascular and neurological damage.
7) Both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics; therefore, the combination of these two substances in one beverage can leave the consumer severely dehydrated. Further, the high sugar levels of CABs does speed up the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream.
8) The prime market for CABs and for all energy drinks is the same, persons between 14 and 25 years of age. In general, CABs are sold at relatively low cost to a demographic group that does not have a lot of money. Further, these beverages are priced much lower than beer to retain and expand market share. While many CABs have alcohol content well above beer and sometimes at the level of wine, its excise tax rate is assigned at the same level as beer, the lowest level of excise taxes levied and collected. This low cost of the product makes them extra attractive to young people, who have been shown to be very price conscious.
9) The labeling of CABs is very similar to that of non-alcoholic energy drinks, and meant to be attractive to young people. Energy drink maker Rockstar, introduced an alcoholic version called Rockstar 21 and the extreme similarity in labeling of the company's alcoholic
and non-alcoholic energy drinks lead to an outcry which forced Rockstar 21 from the market. Other alcoholic energy drink makers continue to produce cans that are brightly colored with bold designs meant to project an image of energy common with regular energy drinks and inherently more attractive to younger consumers. With new brands of CABs and energy drinks going on the market all of the time, this lack of clear labeling as to what is alcoholic and not alcoholic can confuse store personnel and police officers as to which products have alcohol or not. This can lead to law enforcement problems in accurately identifying which beverages can be sold to or possessed by minors and which beverages are subject to open container laws.
10) Easy access to CABs by underage drinkers in convenient stores and bodegas can encourage youth to start drinking alcohol earlier in life and can significantly increase alcoholism later in life and the manifestation of other addictive behaviors, such as gambling and substance abuse, in the future.
The rapid expansion in the market share of CABs has raised questions about how these drinks are formulated, their caffeine or other stimulant levels added to the beverage, the high alcohol content, and whether they are properly classified as malt beverages under federal and state law. In 2007, 28 state Attorney Generals contacted the TTB to inquire about the questions outlined above. Further, the FDA is making similar inquiries about the safety of consuming such beverages.
The purpose of this bill is simple, to ban the sale of caffeinated or stimulant-enhanced alcoholic beverages because these products are dangerous to its consumers and to the general public due to public safety and public health concerns, particularly for those under the age of 25.
These beverages tend to be consumed by persons under the age of 30 and those who are not legally able to purchase alcoholic beverages. From the perspective of law enforcement officials and store sales personnel, the look of labels for certain high energy drinks that have alcohol and do not have alcohol are indistinguishable. Therefore, it is difficult for law enforcement to screen underage drinkers or those persons who are violating the open container law. Further, for store personnel, it is also difficult to differentiate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. This bill bans the sale of CABs so that there will be no way to confuse alcoholic based energy drinks from those that do not contain alcohol.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010 - S.8509 - REFERRED TO RULES
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect 270 days after it shall have become law, so that current inventories of CABs can be exhausted before this bill
goes into effect. In addition, the State Liquor Authority shall promulgate rules and regulations to implement this act within 120 days of the effective date of this act.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3889 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 8, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. KLEIN, ESPAILLAT -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations AN ACT to amend the alcoholic beverage control law, in relation to prohibiting the sale of caffeinated or stimulant-enhanced alcoholic beverages THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 3 of section 3 of the alcoholic beverage control law is amended and a new subdivision 7-c is added to read as follows: 3. "Beer" means and includes any fermented beverages of any name or description manufactured from malt, wholly or in part, or from any substitute therefor; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT SUCH TERM SHALL NOT INCLUDE ANY CAFFEINATED OR STIMULANT-ENHANCED ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE THAT CONTAINS MORE THAN FIVE PER CENTUM OF ALCOHOL BY VOLUME, IN COMBINATION WITH MORE THAN SIX MILLIGRAMS PER OUNCE OF CAFFEINE OR ANY OTHER STIMULANT, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, GUARANA, GINSENG, TAURINE OR WORMWOOD OIL, THAT HAS AN EQUIVALENT EFFECT AS SUCH QUANTITY OF CAFFEINE. 7-C. "CAFFEINATED OR STIMULANT-ENHANCED ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE" MEANS AND INCLUDES ANY ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE OF ANY NAME OR DESCRIPTION THAT IS MANU- FACTURED FROM MALT, WHOLLY OR IN PART, OR FROM ANY SUBSTITUTE THEREFOR INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, LIQUOR, SPIRITS OR WINE; AND CONTAINING MORE THAN FIVE PER CENTUM AND NOT MORE THAN FIFTEEN PER CENTUM ALCOHOL BY VOLUME, IN COMBINATION WITH MORE THAN SIX MILLIGRAMS PER OUNCE OF CAFFEINE OR ANY OTHER STIMULANT, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO GUARANA, GINSENG, TAURINE OR WORMWOOD OIL, THAT HAS AN EQUIVALENT EFFECT AS SUCH QUANTITY OF CAFFEINE. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS CHAPTER, CAFFEINATED OR STIMULANT-ENHANCED BEVERAGES SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED BEER OR WINE PROD- UCT.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD05014-01-1 S. 3889 2
S 2. Section 100 of the alcoholic beverage control law is amended by adding a new subdivision 8 to read as follows: 8. NO PERSON SHALL SELL, DELIVER OR GIVE AWAY, OR CAUSE, PERMIT OR PROCURE TO BE SOLD, DELIVERED OR GIVEN AWAY ANY CAFFEINATED OR STIMU- LANT-ENHANCED ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE TO ANY OTHER PERSON. S 3. This act shall take effect on the two hundred seventieth day after it shall have become a law; provided that the provisions of this act shall not apply to any retail sale of an alcoholic beverage which is received by a person licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premis- es or off-premises consumption within sixty days of the date this act shall have become a law. Effective immediately, the state liquor author- ity is authorized to amend, add and/or repeal any rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this act on or before its effective date.