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On an ounce for ounce basis, popular energy drinks often contain much less caffeine than coffee and other, more genteel beverages. An 8.5 ounce can of Red Bull, for example, contains 80 mg of caffeine. That’s 100 mg less than a comparable (short) cup of Starbucks coffee, which boasts 180 mg of caffeine.
So why didn't Burke propose to ban coffee? Here's one hint: Burke apparently likes coffee.
If Burke’s ordinance were to pass, its unintended consequences would be manifold. It would harm Chicago’s struggling economy while enriching the coffers of suburban convenience stores, grocers, and other energy drink sellers—which would gain customers who normally bought their energy drinks in Chicago.
The ordinance would also likely result in the introduction and dominance of new players into Chicago’s market. City stores that could no longer stock drinks banned under the law would simply switch to selling higher-caffeine products that don’t contain guarana or tuarine—like SK Energy shots and others on the horizon that contain oddball additives like “synthetic Asian hornet larvae secretion.”
In a recent interview with BeverageDaily.com, noted food and beverage attorney Justin Prochnow called the ordinance deeply flawed and predicted it would not pass.
Prochnow said the language of the ordinance contains “false statements” that are “clearly untrue”—including a patently false claim that energy drinks are “unregulated.”
Prochnow’s right. And, in my opinion, the ordinance contains several other seemingly fatal flaws. But they’re ones I’d rather not share in print (lest Burke simply revise the ordinance). In that spirit: Hey Red Bull—call me, maybe?