It doesn’t take a Nobel-winning chemist to know that the combination of caffeine and alcohol isn’t safe. I’m pretty sure a sorority girl in a bar, sipping on her sixth vodka and Red Bull can tell you that in about 3… 2… 1… So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to most consumers that the days of drinks like the wildly popular Four Loko – or “Blackout in a Can” as the media has dubbed them – are numbered. And that number is 0. Because the Food and Drug Administration has taken a break from overlooking dangerous birth control medication and it’s time to rain down some governmental thunder.
The FDA has informed Phusion Projects LLC, United Brands Co, New Century Brewing Co and Charge Beverages that they are violating federal laws by selling and marketing alcoholic beverages that also contain caffeine. Drinks like Four Loko have been named in accusations that consumers have suffered serious health consequences and even death by drinking them, and now the FDA and Federal Trade Commission have said, “Enough is enough.” Included in the crackdown are Four Loko, Moonshot, Joose and Core High Gravity. That’s good news for my own line of adult beverages, Bathtub Gasoline. Sold at 7-11s everywhere, out back, behind the dumpster.
But the parent companies want consumers to know that they can take responsibility for their own actions. Kind of. Phusion Projects is pulling the controversial drink from shelves and will release the drink again without caffeine. But that’s not stopping the company’s brain trust from calling out the perceived hypocrisy of the FDA’s claims. What about rum and Coke, coffee and whiskey, or vodka and energy drink, they ask. To which the FDA responded, “Hey! Look over there!”
Brooklyn assemblyman Felix Ortiz is one of the many politicians throughout the country actively working to see Four Loko pulled from stores, but he’s one of the very few – if any – willing to put his mixture of uppers and downers where his mouth is. Lopez recently preened for the media, teamed up with a physician and drank as much Four Loko as he could over the span of an hour. The result was 2.5 cans – or three cups of coffee and booze – and a date with Mr. Puke Bucket.
Finally, the politicians aren’t the only people trying to take down this perceived liquid menace. Professor Emory Clayton of LA Canyon College recently hit up the Talk Radio Network to share his views on why Four Loko should be banned because of its detriment to college students. But no spoilers here. You’re going to have to listen for yourself, because it is glorious.
- FDA condemns energy drinks with booze, shakes fist angrily. (Reuters)
- Parent company pulls caffeine from Four Loko, wants FDA to pull finger. (Washington Post)
- NYC politician takes the Four Loko challenge, barfs like a lightweight. [With Video] (NBC New York)
- College professor really, really dislikes Four Lokos. [With Audio] (TRN)
- More and more kids are replacing their balanced breakfasts and natural energy with high-sugar energy drinks. Doctors say that some kids are getting almost twice as much sugar as they should during one day… TO THE EXTREME!!! (Fox 19 News)
- Hansen Natural’s third quarter sales spiked – pun intended – more than 18% behind the strength of sales of the company’s Monster energy drink. The company celebrated by hang gliding into a volcano made of Slipknot albums. (NASDAQ)
KNOW YOUR STATS
- Bad news for bean pushers, as recent studies indicate that only 27% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 are knocking back coffee these days. But 75% of people between 45 and 54 are still sipping el cafe. I’ll bet they still read the newspaper, too. Old people are clueless, dude. (Time Magazine)
- Meanwhile, at least 23.5 million people over the age of 20 have been diagnosed with diabetes. That’s roughly 10.7 million people in that young demographic. So maybe give that bowl of Wheaties another shot. (American Diabetes Association)