Joose Retains Brand Equity

FTC closes investigation into United Brands

Published in CSP Daily News

SAN DIEGO -- More than two years after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued letters concerning alcoholic beverages containing caffeine and flavored malt beverage containers, the FTC has closed its investigation regarding United Brands Co. without taking any action, the maker of flavored malt beverage Joose said.

As a result of FTC decision, Joose can continue to sell its products without having to change its labels or packaging.

In 2010, San Diego-based United Brands, along with three of the company's competitors, received a warning letter from the FTC that an investigation was underway looking at their various marketing practices, citing safety concerns.

The FTC recently notified United Brands that the investigation has been closed in regard to Joose products.

"This was a case of guilt by association," said Michael Michail, president and CEO of United Brands, who added that he predicted no action would be taken against Joose from the onset of the investigation. "We work to be responsible innovators. We have always set and applied high ethical standards for our company. We stand successful and retain our Joose brand equity."

The FTC did not offer an explanation or any findings in its notice regarding the closure of the case against United Brands, according to the company.

The original warning letters from the FTC stated the focus of the concern was alcoholic beverages containing caffeine. At the time, United Brands sold a flavored malt beverage that contained caffeine under the Joose label. The letter cited a number of incidents "suggesting that alcohol containing added caffeine may present unusual risks to health and safety." The letter followed a spike in the hospitalization of people drinking their competitor's products.

In November 2010, United Brands voluntary removed all the energy components from Joose and reformulated it.

"We are thrilled the Federal Trade Commission closed the case regarding Joose. We work everyday to formulate beverages that appeal to our customer's tastes and of course we want them to be safe as well," said Michail.

The Joose brand comes in three unique product lines, Joose Malt Beverage, Joose Margaritas and Joose cocktails. Joose alcohol contents range from 8% to 12%. Joose Malt beverage are available in four flavors: Mas Mango, Green Apple, Kiwi Strawberry and Cherry Lime, at 12% alcohol by volume. Joose Margarita is made with real Tequila, Triple Sec, salt and all natural fruit flavoring. It comes in three flavors: Classic Margarita, Strawberry Margarita and Peach Margarita at 12% alcohol by volume. These Margaritas are now available in 12-ounce 12-packs at Walmart and other retailers at 8% alcohol by volume. Joose Cocktails include Joose Screwdriver and Joose Hurricane at 12% alcohol by volume.