BYU adds caffeinated soft drinks for first time since 1950s

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Provo, Utah's Brigham Young University, operated by the Mormon church, is reversing its six-decade ban on selling caffeinated soft drinks at its sporting events and in its dining halls and campus buildings. Since then, as BYU student newspaper The Daily Universe reported in 2015, over a dozen soda shops, including drive-thrus, have opened in Utah County, where the school's main campus in Provo is located. Many in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which Brigham Young is a part, avoid all caffeine.

In the mid 1950s, the director of BYU food services stopped the sale of caffeinated soft drinks and the policy has been in place ever since. Energy drinks, however, will not be sold.

Yep, there's a corporate catch: the university has a contract with Coca-Cola.

BYU students always had been free to bring caffeinated drinks to campus.

"Until more recently, dining services rarely received requests for caffeinated soda", dining services head Dean Wright answered on the page.

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But the university says it is seeing demand now.

Even before this change, there was at least one way to get a Coke on campus. "The Church's health guidelines prohibit alcoholic drinks, smoking or chewing of tobacco, and "hot drinks" - taught by Church leaders to refer specifically to tea and coffee", a post on Mormonnewsroom.org said. Employees don shirts that say, "I'm a caffeine dealer".

The university consistently resisted calls for a caffeinated campus, insisting its consumers did not want it.

It will take a longer time before BYU changes its fountain equipment.

The paper describes a trend where "dependence on caffeine consumption has become a humble bragging topic among college students in the LDS culture", and that "most students know of a friend or have heard a story of the person who hides a Diet Coke in her purse in the back of a sacrament meeting". "Dining services just did not offer them".

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