Whew! Coffee Beers Appear To Be Safe, For Now.

Its safe.

Earlier today, the Washington State Liquor Control Board imposed a ban on certain alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine, guarana, taurine, or other similar substances. The language of the ban regulation can be found on the LCB’s website. The ban is a direct response to a number of dangerous alcohol-related scares to college students who had been consuming Four Loko, an alcoholic energy drink.

I originally reported that the ban seemed to broad enough to include a prohibition on coffee beers – but it appears that is not the LCB’s intention. Breathe easy, beer lovers.

This law is being implemented under the State’s emergency powers, which provide for expedited regulatory powers in times of need. The law is temporary and will expire in March 2011. Thus, the LCB will be prompted to begin the regular law-making procedure to put together a final, more clear, regulation.

Here is the current language that is being put in place:


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No More Coffee Stouts in Washington? LCB Bans Caffeine in Alcoholic Energy Beverages

Is Mocha Death and other coffee beer coming off the shelf?

***UPDATE: It appears that coffee beers will be safe. The LCB says that the motivation is to go after products with added caffeine and marketed as energy drinks. This does not include products that add coffee, or other things that have caffeine, for flavor.

Check out this follow up post for more information on how the new temporary law works. A permanent regulation will be up for public comment soon.****

This may be huge news, particularly for those of us who love our breakfast stouts. Washington has just banned alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine and/or several other “energy” additives.

This is a big punch to many brewers in the State of Washington – and others who sell who beer here. There is a widening market for the sale of coffee-infused beer. Many brewers, such as Ellensburg’s Iron Horse Brewing, sell a coffee-based beer as part of their regular lineup.

I had a brief conversation with the Liquor Control Board, who seemed to infer that as long as beer and caffeine are combined in the same bottle/container – it cannot be sold or produced here in Washington.

Attached below is the initial press release that is going out in the next few hours. Give it a thorough read.


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I-1100 Fails: Is This The End of Deregulation Talk?

The law books will have to wait for a change. I-1100 has been defeated.

Well, its over. Both of the private liquor initiatives have failed to win the hearts of Washington voters. Even though there are still some votes to count, the battle is over.

But why did voters not embrace this initiative?

This year the elections were charged by an eagerness to reduce taxes and eliminate the government stranglehold on business. Nationwide, voters made it clear that they felt that big government had failed.

With voters looking to reduce taxation and governmental control, you would think that an initiative to eliminate Washington’s monopoly over liquor sales would prevail, right? How about an initiative that, as both sides would argue, would reduce the costs of beer and wine sold in Washington state? Hole in one, eh? Nay.


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