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Milwaukee Bucks Investigate Reports Of Tainted Drinks

Fans Say Cocktails Sold Outside Arena Made Them See Double, Black Out

Milwaukee Bucks Arena, Downtown Milwaukee
The Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee. Gretchen Brown/WPR

The Milwaukee Bucks are investigating complaints by several people that drinks they purchased at a playoff party outside the team’s arena during a game last Wednesday caused them to black out.

About half a dozen people have told Milwaukee news outlets that they ordered Moscow mules from an Absolut Vodka tent in the Deer District outside the Fiserv Forum on Wednesday evening. They say that they only had one or two of the drinks, but within hours, they experienced double-vision, became ill or blacked out entirely.

In a statement, a Milwaukee Bucks spokesman said the team is conducting a “thorough investigation” to “ensure a safe experience for every guest.”

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“Our initial investigation has not revealed any foreign substance added to the Moscow mule beverage batch,” the statement read.

The drinks, made with vodka, ginger beer and lime, were premixed, according to the team. They have removed premixed cocktails from facility menus until the investigation is complete, the statement said, and are “conducting additional trainings to reinforce safe alcohol service for all employees.”

Anna Neuberg attended the party with her boyfriend and another couple. They ordered beers but Neuberg ordered a Moscow mule.

“I love Moscow mules so I always get them,” she said with a laugh. “I got one and I only had one and I knew something wasn’t right.”

Neuberg she’s certain she did not put her drink down or out of her sight, possibly allowing someone to slip something in. She said the cocktail tasted off, but she tried to explain it away.

“In my head I was just like, ‘Okay, well I’ve never had Absolut Vodka,’” she said. “I’ve never had a premixed Moscow mule. Maybe it’s stronger.”

The drink affected her more strongly than any drink ever has, she said. She blacked out and is only able to remember snippets from that evening, like when she got into bed and felt the room spinning.

A representative for the Milwaukee Police Department said they did not receive any calls from victims claiming to be drugged, and that since they did not receive any reports, they are not conducting an investigation. They also said the MPD contacted local hospitals and found that no one had reported being drugged there.

Diamond Hanson, communications officer for the City of Milwaukee Health Department, said by email that MHD also did not receive any complaints regarding the incident, but that they conducted an investigation on May 13 that did not return violations or “possible sources of chemical contamination.” She said the MHD’s investigation is now closed.

“Please don’t leave drinks unattended and always drink responsibly. Go Bucks!” Hanson said.

Neuberg said she’s glad the team has responded to the incidents and hopes no one else has the same experience.

“You wouldn’t expect like some place like the Fiserv Forum for that to happen,” she said. “I didn’t buy it out of a cooler of a guy on a corner, you know?”