Production of Alcoholic Energy Drink Halted in 20 States

Production of Alcoholic Energy Drink Halted in 20 States

By Bryan Le 03/25/14

The company behind the "alcopop" energy drink Four Loko has reluctantly agreed to a settlement that will limit their production and restrict their advertising.

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Phusion Projects, the company behind alcoholic energy drink Four Loko, has agreed to a settlement with 20 states to change their marketing approach and halt production of their controversial "alcopop" drink.

The states accused Phusion Projects of purposely marketing their drinks to underage drinkers, promoting binge drinking with their large single serving sizes, and not providing warnings of the dangers of mixing alcohol and caffeine.

“These super-sized, fruit-flavored, alcoholic beverages encourage binge drinking among young people,” said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper. “Just one of these binge-in-a-can drinks can make people quickly and dangerously drunk.”

Each 23.5 ounce can of Four Loko contained 12 percent alcohol in a fruit-flavored energy drink, equal to four beers, according to Project Phusion's site. In 2010, the FDA sent a warning to the company saying that Four Loko was an unsafe product, which resulted in the removal of caffeine from the drink's formula.

As a result of the settlement, the company must pay the 20 states $400,000 to cover the costs of their investigation.

Other conditions include barring the company from promoting binge drinking, drinking while driving or underage drinking; mixing its flavored malt beverages with products containing caffeine; selling, distributing, or promoting alcoholic products to people under age 21; hiring underage people, actors, or models under the age of 25 or those who look younger than 21 to promote alcohol products; promoting flavored malt beverages on school or college property, other than at licensed retail stores; using names, initials, logos, or mascots of any school, college, university, student organization, sorority, or fraternity in its promotions; and distributing, selling, or promoting merchandise items with the beverage’s brand name or logo to any underage person.

Despite agreeing to the settlement, Phusion Projects was not pleased with the outcome.

"While our company did not violate any laws and we disagree with the allegations of the state attorneys general, we consider this agreement a practical way to move forward and an opportunity to highlight our continued commitment to ensuring that our products are consumed safely and responsibly only by adults 21 and over," said president Jim Sloan.

"As we all know, underage drinking and alcohol abuse are serious problems in need of serious solutions. They will not, however, be solved by singling out specific products or alcoholic beverage categories. The answer lies in increased education, stronger enforcement of existing laws and personal responsibility."