Energy Beer
By Peter Carlson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 31, 2005; Page C01

America’s largest brewing company, Anheuser-Busch, released its latest product last week — a beer that contains caffeine.

Obviously, this is a monumental cultural milestone and it raises important questions that we as a society must answer. For instance: Is adding America’s favorite stimulant to America’s favorite alcoholic beverage the greatest scientific breakthrough of the 21st century? Or the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it? Or what?

The beer is called B{+E} — with the E raised up, like an exponent in math, which is why the name is pronounced “B to the E.” (The B stands for Budweiser. The E stands for extra.) Sold in 10-ounce cans, B{+E} contains 54 milligrams of caffeine — about half the dose found in an average cup of coffee. B{+E} also contains ginseng, the fabled herb, and guarana, an Amazonian berry frequently found in Brazilian soft drinks.

“It’s beer with something extra,” says Dawn Roepke, Anheuser-Busch’s brand manager for new products. “It’s new, it’s innovative, it’s different.”

Actually, it’s not all that new, innovative or different. The popularity of a cocktail made by adding vodka to the energy drink Red Bull has inspired several brewers to create caffeinated beers. Most are small local brews such as Moonshot, a Boston-based beer that contains caffeine, and Third Rail, a caffeinated beer brewed in Frederick but available only in California. But one is nationally known: Sparks, a malt-based energy drink that contains many of the same ingredients as B{+E} — alcohol, caffeine, ginseng and guarana.

Rolling Stone magazine raved about Sparks last year: “The wave of the future is getting invigorated and wasted in one go with Sparks, the energy drink that has thoughtfully already added booze for you.”


when i was in miami, i had this idea about making a beer with red bull ingredients. and making a sweet energy beer with caffeine. i knew that budweiser was thinking about ideas just like that.. but no one had done it, and still haven’t.. i think that people want to pay extra for “energy” and alcohol sells itself. market it to a college student and give it a killer name. like *buzz beer

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