By Andrew Starke

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) has explained its decision to offer energy drink Mother on tap by stating that this is simply a new way to dispense a non-alcoholic beverage to an existing market.

The soft drink giant’s response came after weekend reports in several newspapers and websites called for pubs to be banned from selling energy drinks on tap.

Under the heading ‘High time to turn off the tap’, the Sunday Telegraph said yesterday (Oct 24) that both the Keneally Government and Opposition were against the sale of caffeine drinks as alcoholic mixes.

The same report alleged that ‘highly caffeinated drink Mother is now on tap in 95 pubs and clubs across the state, despite NSW Health officials warning energy drinks mixed with alcohol are an explosive cocktail’.

CCA began trialling Mother on tap in several Sydney pubs earlier this year before an anticipated wider roll-out across NSW.

While CCA director of media and public affairs, Sally Loane, could not confirm the number of pubs currently offering Mother on tap, she told TheShout it was a popular option, both for convenience in serving customers and because the fountain means less waste (empty cans and bottles) for publicans to deal with.

“Mother on tap is simply a new way to dispense a non-alcoholic beverage which has been sold in licensed premises, catering for adults over 18 for more than a decade – we are targeting an existing market, not creating a new one,” she said.

“Not only do our taps carry a large illuminated warning message about caffeine consumption (CAUTION – CONTAINS CAFFEINE. Not recommended for children, pregnant or lactating women and individuals sensitive to caffeine. USEAGE : 500 ml MAX DAILY) but the tap has a volumetric valve that controls the caffeine level.

“These taps with the caffeine warnings are very prominent on the bar and can be seen by consumers, unlike cans, which are opened and poured by staff behind the bar.

“We are also about to supply special unbreakable co-polymer ‘glassware’ to our customers which will also be branded with the same warning message on caffeine consumption.”

Loane added that all bar staff have undertaken the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) course which covers training in all alcohol, as well as energy drinks.

Contrary to some media reports, Australian Hotels Association (AHA NSW) CEO, Sally Fielke, said the industry body’s position was that there is little to no evidence to justify banning energy drinks on tap.

“The industry will obviously abide by any decision of Government, but we would caution that the evidence be presented first,” she told TheShout.

“Whilst the industry works hard to promote a responsible drinking culture, the overriding message here is that any product – be it alcohol, food or energy drinks, should be consumed in moderation and consumed responsibly.”

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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