Killed by Regulations: New Century Brewing, RIP

by Michelle Minton on July 21, 2011 · 10 comments

in Features, Health and Illness, Nanny State, Personal Liberty, Precaution & Risk, Regulation

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Add another name to the list of the dead as a result of actions taken by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I certainly feel a lot safer now that the government agency has made sure the evil entrepreneur is out of a job and we zombie-like consumers can’t get our hands on her dangerous product: light beer!

Sarcasm aside, this sad news broke at the end of last month; Rhonda Kallman, the co-founder of Sam Adams Brewery, was officially shutting down for good her newest outfit, New Century Brewing. All thanks to regulations.

Kallman shut down her small brewery after months of the FDA hounding her to reformulate her flagship product, Moonshot, a light beer that also happened to contain a small amount of caffeine.

I’ve followed Kallman’s tragic story since last December — the maverick beer maven who you might have seen in the movie Beer Wars. After leaving Boston Beer Co., Rhonda took the major financial risk of forming craft beer company New Century Brewing to peddle the idea she was sure would be a hit: a caffeinated light beer. While her brew, Moonshot, didn’t take off with the oomph of a rocket ship, it was slowly gaining a following, that is until the FDA decided to step in and kill it.

This last November, after a few notorious news stories about young adults over-indulging in Four Loko, and a few excitable attorneys general petitioned the FDA, the agency issued warning letters to four brewers of beverages that contained caffeine and alcohol, giving them 15 days to either reformulate their product or take it off shelves. Kallman’s brewery was one of the four to receive the warning.

Compared with Four Loko and other alcoholic energy drinks, Moonshot has a relatively miniscule amount of caffeine and alcohol: 5 percent ABV and less caffeine than a half of a cup of coffee — 69 milligrams — while Four Loko had about 12 percent ABV and over 200 milligrams of caffeine.

Of course, regardless of the caffeine content, the FDA had no reason to demand that drink-makers reformulate their products. Caffeine has been consumed with alcohol for generations. The responsibility to prove a health threat from these products should have been on the FDA before it killed the products and, as a result, small businesses.

“As a citizen I’m confused … as an entrepreneur I’m flabbergasted,” Kallman told me in December when all of this started.

We hear you, Rhonda, and we are just as perplexed as to why Americans continue to allow agencies such as the FDA, that are run by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, to interfere with our lives.

Davestrodomus July 21, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Unbelievable. I too am an entrepreneur. I’ve had my own businesses since graduating college in 1986. My latest venture is an outfitter on the banks of the Susquehanna River. I too am presently shut down by bureaucracy and red tape. I want to hire people. I want to open this business that every study indicates will benefit our region; but I am not allowed.

Small business is under seige in America today. We are treated like the enemy. Sadly, I must at some point ask myself, Who is John Galt?

Ron July 22, 2011 at 1:51 am

government hates jobs. government hates innovation. government hates entrepreneurs. government hates small business. government hates freedom.

Life, liberty and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

Linda July 23, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Couldn’t of said it better…thank you.

Harrison July 22, 2011 at 10:37 am

This is a tragic story indeed.

EJHill July 23, 2011 at 10:16 am

Does this make an Irish Coffee illegal?

Linda July 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm

This totally turns my stomach.
How about we say the U.S. government is bad for us….can we shut them down and live like feel individuals???????

Linda July 23, 2011 at 6:22 pm

A p. s. to my recent entry. Law enforcement, courts and military excluded…because that is all we need.

Linda July 23, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I meant free individuals.

Richard Bramwell July 23, 2011 at 9:57 pm

“Atlas Shrugged” is coming true in SOOOooooo many ways.

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