BYU will now sell caffeinated soda on campus

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BYU Dining Services adds Coca-Cola to a soda fountain in the Wilkinson Center. (Josh Ellis)

The fight between supply and demand for caffeinated soft drinks at BYU has finally ended, decades after campus dining services officials banned the popular sodas on campus.

BYU Dining Services announced this morning that it reversed its previous decision to not sell caffeinated beverages on campus. Caffeinated Coke products will be available through soda fountains and at vending machines across campus.

“We have seen consumer preferences change over time,” said University Communications spokeswoman Carri Jenkins. “This decision is a measure to accommodate consumer requests.”

On Aug. 29, 2012, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted a blog in the newsroom section of LDS.org that read: “The Church does not prohibit the use of caffeine.”

A few days later, Jenkins told The Daily Universe the continuing ban “has been based on what our customers want, and there has not been a demand for caffeinated beverages.”

A Facebook group called “BYU for Caffeine,” created the same day the Church first updated its blog about caffeine, was quick to pick up on the language and had more than 100 likes within hours of its creation. The group’s page claims that it is “the movement to get caffeinated beverages in our vending machines.”

Earlier this summer, The Daily Universe reported that LDS Business College began selling caffeinated soda, joining the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Temple Square.

Now BYU has decided to join the ranks.

BYU student Robert Bishop was the first to get Coca-Cola out of the newly-updated soda fountain in the Cougar Eat on Thursday morning. (Josh Ellis)

BYU student Wesley Monahan, also known as “the caffeine dealer,” owns Caffeine Corner. The company delivers cold caffeinated sodas to students and staff on campus within minutes of receiving an order via text.

Monahan said he isn’t quite sure to what extent the decision will affect his business, as Dr. Pepper is the company’s highest seller. However, because Caffeine Corner also sells Mountain Dew and energy drinks that he’s sure won’t be sold on campus, his business will still have products to sell.

In a comment on Facebook, Monahan also clarified that his business will continue to sell bottles, but no cans.

“(Our clients) have loved the convenience and the movement we’ve created,” Monahan said. “We created faithful customers out of something that should have been a normal thing, selling caffeine on campus.”

Scarlett Foster-Moss, vice president of public relations and government affairs at Swire Coca-Cola, said the company is not making a statement on BYU’s decision and will leave it up to customers to discuss the implications.

Coca-Cola workers were in the Wilkinson Student Center early Thursday morning replacing most of the caffeine-free soda machine taps in the Cougareat.

Some caffeine-free taps were left in place.

Dining service workers were also there, swapping out 20-ounce bottles around the Cougareat.

Mellow Yellow, Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Mr. Pibb and Coca-Cola Cherry Zero were available as of 10 a.m. Thursday.

Caffeinated sodas are now available at Cougar Express in the Cougareat. Workers replaced caffeine-free bottles in the area Thursday morning. (Josh Ellis)

In response to an inquiry about whether or not the Missionary Training Center would also begin to serve caffeinated soda, the LDS Church Public Affairs department said the MTC will not be adding caffeinated beverages to their drink selection.

Click here to watch a video of BYU students’ reactions.

To read the Q&A with Director of Dining Services Dean Wright on the decision, click here.

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