While Red Bull and vodkas are growing more popular in bars around the country, attorneys general in several states this week have subpoenaed Miller Brewing Co. and Anheuser-Busch for documents related to the sale of their canned alcoholic energy drinks. The investigation will focus on whether the two companies have illegally targeted minors for consumption of the products, which resemble the non-alcoholic variety popular with young people.
The two brewing giants claim that drinks differ little from the cocktails now common in bars and nightclubs, and that the attorneys general are unfairly going after their less-alcoholic versions. Arguing that they conscientiously market the beverages to consumers who are of age, the companies have said they will fully cooperate with the investigation. (See, for example, Sparks Energy Drink, or this list of cases involving so-called “energy drinks” (Fastcase subscription required).