Moonshot Beer Owner Asks ABCC to Keep Drink On Shelves

The Patriot Ledger reports that a Cohasset businesswoman, who thinks it’s unfair her beer has been banned because it has caffeine, is trying to convince state officials her Moonshot pilsner shouldn’t be on the same list as such notorious products as Four Loko.

“For a small independent company, the order to halt the sale of Moonshot has been devastating to my business,” Rhonda Kallman, founder of New Century Brewing Co., told the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission this week.

The ABCC issued a 90-day statewide emergency ban on alcoholic beverages with caffeine added in the manufacturing process last fall. Tuesday’s hearing was held to gather comments about plans to make the ban permanent when the prohibition ends on Feb. 16.

The Ledger reported that Kallman was one of the two constituents to testify during the snowy afternoon hearing, telling the commission that her beer, with 5 percent alcohol and 69 milligrams of caffeine, is equal to half a cup of coffee – a fraction of the 260 milligrams and 12 percent alcohol that had been found in Four Loko.

But because the caffeine in the beer, which is mostly sold in restaurants, is added as an extra ingredient, it had to be pulled from the market.

Kallman compared her product to alcoholic beverages such as Twisted Tea and Kona Brewing Co.’s Pipeline Porter, both of which use tea leaves or coffee beans to add flavor.

“Moonshot is a beer with character and integrity, and is marketed as an alcoholic beverage rather than a stimulant,” she said.

The ban on caffeine in alcohol products came last fall after several reports around the nation of college students who became severely ill and intoxicated from drinking Four Loko. For many Massachusetts liquor stores, the popularity of the product was a short-lived phenomenon largely driven by media stories.

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