(27 Apr 2004) SHOTLSIT:
1. Wide shot of factory
2. Bottles moving through factory belt
3. Worker overseeing bottles moving through belt
4. Various of bottles being taped
5. Worker overseeing bottles moving through belt
6. Christian Chang measuring bottle contents
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Christian Chang, Vortex Commercial Manager:
"Vortex is an energy drink made of Guarana, Taurina, and Cafeine and it has an special ingredient that is native to Peru, the country where we produce it and that's coca extract. Our Coca extract is alcohol free and we are the first energy drink in the world to manufacture this."
8. More of drink contents being tested
9. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Clara Cogorno, General Manager, Vortex:
"The standard for this energy drink's content is Taurina, Guarana, a vitamin B complex, fructose, and glucose. Some other drinks, like ours, also contain the coca leaf extract."
10. More of bottles being processed and packaged
11. Various of packaged product ready for storage and shipment
It looks and tastes pretty much like the many brands of bottled iced tea that line American supermarket shelves. Just don't drink it before a drug test.
Kdrink+ is one of two new bottled beverages to hit Peruvian stores this year using a formula made from coca leaves, the base ingredient in cocaine.
Each bottle contains a trace 0.6 milligrams of the outlawed stimulant.
Although that amount of natural, unprocessed cocaine carries less kick than a cup of coffee, it is enough to create a legal headache for exporters.
With the notable exception of Coca-Cola, products using coca leaves are banned in most nations beyond the Andes by strict U.S. and U.N. import regulations.
But the two new Peruvian drinks - +Kdrink+ iced tea and Vortex energy drink - hope to buck the system and find legal paths into foreign markets.
The makers of +Kdrink+ believe many nations will allow their drink if vague anti-coca rules are clarified, while the bottlers of Vortex are banking on a cocaine-free coca formula.
Pitching the pick-me-up possibilities of coca leaves is nothing new.
In 1886, an Atlanta Pharmacist invented Coca-Cola as a brain-stimulating tonic that combined cocaine and an extract from the caffeine-producing kola nut.
Coke dropped cocaine from its recipe around 1900, but the secret formula still calls for a cocaine-free coca extract produced at a factory in New Jersey.
For decades, Peruvian authorities with assistance from Washington have sought to eradicate illicit coca production and persuade farmers to switch to legal crops.
But the black market demand for cocaine around the world means coffee, pineapples and other crops promoted as
alternatives to coca by the government often fail to match coca's profit margins.
In February, hundreds of Peruvian coca farmers from remote mountainous jungle regions met in Lima.
Among their demands, they want the government to end eradication campaigns and develop new markets for coca-based products.
Devida, Peru's counter-drug agency, estimates 90 percent of the country's coca leaf production goes to the narcotics trade, but says it is open to finding new legal uses.
Thousands of years before the existence of processed cocaine, highland Indians chewed coca to ward off hunger and fatigue.
Considered an integral part of Peruvian culture, coca is offered to Andean gods and sold in packaged tea bags in grocery stores.
To meet local demand, Peru permits the legal cultivation of less than 30,000 acres of coca bushes.
Vortex is seeking a share of the "energy drink" market dominated by the likes of Austria's Red Bull, a hyper-caffeinated carbonated beverage popular with young club goers who often mix it with hard liquor before hitting the dance floor.
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