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Caffeine & Alcohol: A Cautionary Beverage Tale

Natural Caffeine Structure

In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deemed synthetic caffeine as an “unsafe food additive” when added to alcohol beverages. This guideline came after a year-long review of alcohol beverage products containing added caffeine. Several companies were forced to dispose of their products (without reimbursement) after being notified that their beverages were a "public health concern" and could no longer stay on the market in their current form.

 

SYNTHETIC VS. NATURAL CAFFEINE

Synthetic caffeine is produced by chemical synthesis of urea as a raw material, which is then combined with different chemicals such as methyl chloride and ethyl acetate.  When caffeine is made synthetically, it is produced with a much higher concentration and is absorbed much faster by the body.

The term Natural Caffeine is used for caffeine that comes from natural ingredients such as coffee beans, cacao beans, or tea leaves. Natural Caffeine can be found in almost 60 different plants.

 

CURRENT REGULATIONS

Although no defined limitation of Natural Caffeine has been set by either the FDA or the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), new regulations could be set at any time. Both agencies do not allow the direct addition of synthetic caffeine to alcoholic beverages.

To ensure that your product falls within industry standards, give us a call to discuss our recommendations.