You can now drink Coke with pride at this Mormon-owned university

Phillip Cunningham
September 23, 2017

Brigham Young University announced Thursday it will now add caffeinated soda to its menu of campus dining offerings. In general, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a complicated - and often misunderstood - relationship with caffeine. The faith's reference to "hot drinks" is limited to tea and coffee. The Daily Universe, the BYU student paper, quoted a university spokeswoman saying at the time that "there has not been a demand for caffeinated beverages".

Perhaps the most interesting comment came from students talking about the economic impact this would have... on the gas stations near campus where they used to get their caffeinated drinks.

BYU alum Karl Jepsen, 48, was visiting his daughter who is now a student and basked in being able to drink "real Diet Coke" from the fountain machine. "Until more recently", he says, "Dining Services rarely received requests for caffeinated soda", but now "consumer preferences have clearly changed and requests have become much more frequent".

Jenkins noted that students have always been free to bring their own caffeine-filled beverages onto campus.

Students or visitors will no longer need to bring their own sodas onto the 33,000-student campus, Dean Wright, the school's director of dining services, said on the university's website.

"I absolutely love it".

BYU decided in the mid-1950s not to sell caffeinated beverages and the school has said it doesn't offer them because there's no demand. "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". That means no Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew. The university will also offer caffeinated options at sporting events. "We created faithful customers out of something that should have been a normal thing, selling caffeine on campus", Monahan said.

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