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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 July, 2005, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Caffeine beer sparks binge fears
BE beer
Campaigners fear people will drink for longer
A beer made with caffeine is being launched in the UK amid fears it could fuel binge drinking.

Each bottle of BE beer contains 5% alcohol and 60.4mg of caffeine, as well as guarana and ginseng and flavouring to give it a sweet, fruity taste.

Campaigners fear the caffeine will spur drinkers to consume more beer by keeping them awake.

But maker Anheuser-Busch said customers would be encouraged to drink sensibly, as they were with other drinks.

And it said the beer would meet customer demand for greater choice and variety.

Heavy drinkers

BE, which stands for Beer with Extra, is being marketed at people aged 18 to 34 who like to drink in bars and clubs.

Andrew McNeill, director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: "These drinks are clearly aimed at young, heavy drinkers. And young heavy drinkers drink too much as it is."

"Binge drinking is probably the biggest single main cause of crime and anti-social behaviour at the moment. We won't regard it as being a welcome addition."

Victoria Manning, research psychologist for Action on Addiction, added: "This concerns us because the combination of caffeine and beer will enable people to drink more because the caffeine will keep them awake longer."

She added: "The beer also contains fruit flavours which make it particularly appealing to young drinkers, especially young women which is worrying as binge drinking among young women is on the increase."

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