On Thursday, the church-owned university announced a reversal and for the first time since the 1950s will sell Coca-Cola and other caffeine-infused drinks on campus.
Explaining the decision, Dean Wright, the director of BYU’s dining services, said that the goal of the change is “simply working to meet the preferences of our customers.”
BYU officials had previously cited low demand for caffeinated drinks and official writings from the church, known as the “Word of Wisdom,” which dictated that Mormon faithful abstain from “hot drinks,” which religious leaders had defined as coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages.
In 2012, amid the presidential campaign featuring prominent church member and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, the church leaders issued a statement clarifying that caffeine itself was not prohibited. At the time, Romney was known to imbibe Diet Coke on the trail, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
In recent years, a student-led grass-roots effort emerged to allow soda dispensers into the cafeteria and other buildings to sell caffeinated drinks. While popular on social media, the campaign went nowhere until now.
“Until more recently, Dining Services rarely received requests for caffeinated soda,” Wright wrote in a statement. “Consumer preferences have clearly changed and requests have become much more frequent.”
But the change will not affect BYU’s stance on so-called energy drinks. In other words, Sorry, kids, no Red Bull.