BYU to sell caffeinated sodas

Wendy Jensen
September 24, 2017

In a surprise announcement, Brigham Young University said it would begin selling caffeinated sodas on campus. Smith's directive, focused on "hot drinks", predated the proliferation of soda drinking in the USA, from manufacturers including Coke and its rival PepsiCo PEP, -0.68% Brigham Young, the school's namesake, was the second president of the Latter Day Saints.

Media reports have incorrectly stated that Mormons aren't allowed to drink caffeinated soft drinks - in fact, the Church's 2012 clarification was in response to a TV segment.

Drink dispensers were changed out Thursday morning, Jenkins said, and vending machines have been restocked with both caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks. Energy drinks, however, will not be sold.

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In 2012, the Church issued a press release that was explicit: "the Church revelation spelling out health practices. does not mention the use of caffeine". But the school has maintained its caffeine-free soda offering for decades - until now, after officials claim demand for the drinks have gone up.

Bottled-water consumption in the US hit 39.3 gallons per capita a year ago, while carbonated soft drinks fell to 38.5 gallons, marking the first time that soda was knocked off the top spot, according to data from industry tracker Beverage Marketing Corp. "It's been a big game changer, even just day one", said Mckay Murphy, a junior statistics major from Springville, Utah.

While caffeinated sodas will be flowing at dining halls, there still might be a market for "rogue hot chocolate".

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The same can't be said of the university's campus in Rexburg.

In a telephone interview, Whiteley said the change could impact views among Mormons about caffeine. Employees don shirts that say, "I'm a caffeine dealer".

"You youths will never understand the struggle we went through", Whiteley wrote jokingly in a Facebook post.

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