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What are Alcoholic Energy Drinks (AED's)?

AEDs can be either malt- or distilled spirit-based. Malt-based AEDs range in alcohol content from about 5-12 percent. Distilled spirit based AEDs can have an alcohol content of 40 percent or higher. The amount of caffeine and other stimulants is not known, as producers are not required to disclose this information.

Some malt-based AEDs have very high alcohol content when compared with beer and come in large containers. MAX Cola, for example, has 12% alcohol and is sold in 23.5 ounce cans. A single can has almost as much alcohol as a six pack of beer, plus a high doses of caffeine.

History of AED's

McKenzie River introduced the Sparks brand in 2002 and its web-based marketing strategies led to rapid growth, prompting other alcohol producers to create their own AED brands, including Anheuser-Busch Co., Inc., which introduced Tilt and B to the E (renamed Bud Extra). MillerCoors Brewing Company purchased the Sparks brand in 2006. As a result, the two largest beer companies in the United States – Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors – became rivals in the AED market.

In 2008, Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors signed agreements with Attorneys General (including California Attorney General Brown) and the San Francisco City Attorney to remove all stimulants from their products.

Various Brands of AED's

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