Surely each and every one of you remember where you were on the bleak day back in 2010 when insanely caffeinated, insanely alcoholic energy drink Four Loko was banned in New York. Pushed by Senator Chuck Schumer, who called Four Loko a “toxic and dangerous brew,” the State Liquor Authority stopped allowing the caffeinated version of the drink to be sold here; New York was one of four states to do so.
But the youth of America still wanted Four Loko, probably because, in the sage words of one shopkeeper interviewed by NYU paper The Local, “It makes you crazy,” or because, as the “Save Four Loko” Facebook page put it, “It makes your dick wet.” (The Local found that nearly a year after the ban took effect, some bodegas were still selling the caffeinated version of the drink.)
So the attorneys general of 20 states, along with the city attorney of San Francisco, decided to band together and sue Phusion Projects, LLC, the Chicago-based maker of Four Loko. That suit was settled yesterday, after Phusion promised to keep caffeine, underage people and Santa out of the making and marketing of the drink.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a statement yesterday, announcing that Phusion had agreed not to “promote the misuse of alcohol” or “promote mixing flavored malt beverages with products containing caffeine.”
The settlement goes further, though, saying that Phusion can’t produce any of its alcoholic-caffeinated beverages (the others were called Four and Four MaXed), and that its advertising, marketing, and publicity can’t involve people who look like they’re under 21, nor can it promote its product on school- or college-owned properties. Phusion also can’t incorporate the names or logos of sororities or fraternities into its advertising, or any “depictions or descriptions of Santa Claus.” (Maybe Coke owns that guy?)
In addition, anything posted by Four Loko enthusiasts on a Phusion-owned website that might break any of the above rules, or be seen as promoting “misuse” of the drink, has to be pulled within 24 hours. The settlement specifically uses the words “double-fisting,” as in, pictures of Four Loko users doing that with the drink will have to be pulled. Phusion will also have to pay $400,000 to cover the cost of the states’ investigation into the beverage.
In a statement published by the Boston Globe, Phusion president Jim Sloan wrote, “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.”
Sloan added, though, that the company “continues to believe…as do many people throughout the world, that the combination of alcohol and caffeine can be consumed safely and responsibly.”
Epic Meal Time‘s Chili Four Loko will never be the same.
The full settlement is on the following page.