Four Loko Update

The Four Loko story has metastasized not just in comments here, but across the country. Stores have started pulling it off shelves:
Citing safety concerns, Haggen Food & Pharmacy announced Tuesday that it had pulled two lines of alcoholic energy drinks from its 32 stores in Washington and Oregon, including four in the Portland area.... Competitor Fred Meyer ditched the cans – 12 percent alcohol by volume, or two times a typical beer – earlier this year as controversies began to arise. Known as "alcopops," the drinks have been criticized for marketing and design campaigns aimed at younger customers.
On a separate track, various wings of the state and federal government are considering action as well:
At the urging of 18 attorneys general, the Food and Drug Administration, which has never approved adding caffeine to alcohol, is reviewing whether the drinks are safe. And in July, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the drinks, with colorful packaging and flavors like watermelon, blue raspberry and lemon-lime, are “explicitly designed to attract under-age drinkers.”

Lawmakers in several states, including New York, have sought to ban the drinks, though no legislation has passed yet.
Although I support modifying these beverages and/or making them less accessible, this is a development worth watching. When issues like this flare up and become massive media phenomena, the moment for sober, careful lawmaking may have passed. There are a lot of ways to handle the issue that wouldn't affect craft brewing, but there are laws that could, too. Ill-conceived blanket bans usually have unintended consequences--and they could easily tread on the toes of good beer.

So, while these products are dangerous and unnecessary, here's hoping the effort to address them is rational and thoughtful.

(In case you missed our lively discussion yesterday, go have a look.)