On November 4th, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission issued an administrative order banning all “Alcohol Energy Drinks.” The Commission provided a list of products from suppliers including United Brands Company (Joose), Phusion Products (Four Loko), Anheuser-Busch (B^E), and, to our surprise, an organic beer brewed with yerba mate called MateVeza.
We believe our inclusion on this list was a mistake; MateVeza is not currently sold in Michigan and it hardly fits the Commission’s characterization (inexpensive, brightly colored can of 12% alcohol malt liquor with added caffeine). Since MateVeza is made with yerba mate as an ingredient and not caffeine as an additive, it is in full compliance with TTB and FDA guidelines. Further, MateVeza was not included in the FDA’s inquiry into caffeinated alcoholic beverages. We have brought this to the Commission’s attention and are seeking to be removed from their list even though we have no immediate plans to distribute to Michigan.
It’s unfortunate that craft brewers like MateVeza have been unfairly affected amidst the current controversy surrounding alcoholic energy drinks. Brewing with ingredients that naturally contain caffeine such as chocolate, coffee, tea, and yerba mate is an important part of the craft beer movement. MateVeza will do its best to preserve this tradition for all craft brewers and help ensure that alcohol regulators understand that these craft beer products are very different from the caffeinated malt beverages they are targeting.
We are fully confident in our continued ability to market and sell our naturally caffeinated yerba mate brew, but we will continue to closely monitor the situation and keep you apprised of any new developments. We have provided our official response to the to the Commission on our website. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Founder & President
MateVeza (Mate + Cerveza) markets and sells organic, naturally caffeinated ales brewed with yerba mate, the South American herbal tea. MateVeza was founded in 2006 by homebrewer Jim Woods after he fortuitously followed a sip of freshly brewed yerba mate with a hoppy pale ale in his San Francisco apartment. MateVeza’s award-winning initial release, Yerba Mate Gold, and new Yerba Mate IPA are brewed and bottled in Ukiah, California. MateVeza is USDA certified organic by CCOF. More information about MateVeza is available at www.mateveza.com.
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