April 13, 2007
By Bob Curley
The recent controversy about Anheuser-Busch's "Spykes" energy drinks has prompted grassroots advocacy as well as broader concerns about mixing alcohol and energy drinks.
Sold in pocket-sized bottles and containing 12 percent alcohol, Spykes is being marketed as an additive for beer and other alcoholic beverages. "Spykes is a great alternative to hard liquor shots," according to the Anheuser-Busch product website for Spykes. "A Spykes pour takes beer up a notch by adding a caffeinated rush and a sweet taste that finishes hot ... Spykes gives your beer a kick, adds flavor to your drink, and is perfect for a shot."
But critics see the product's bright packaging and fruity flavors -- Spicy Lime, Hot Chocolate, Spicy Mango, and Hot Melons -- as a blatant attempt to market the product to children. Hope Taft, former first lady of Ohio and a board member of the group Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, dashed off a March 30 letter to Anheuser-Busch president and CEO August Busch IV to protest Spykes' "appeal to those under the age of 21."
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