How is this Legal?
The product is called Four Loko, a 12% sugar and alcohol solution laced with caffeine that arrives in a 23.5-ounce can and retails for $2.50. The genius is that it's stronger than a barleywine and has caffeine! And it's cheap! And it, oh, ooops, it does have this downside:
An investigation has determined that Four Loko, a high-alcohol caffeinated drink, sickened Central Washington University students at an off-campus party this month, resulting in nine hospitalizations. Partygoers had blood-alcohol levels that ranged from 0.12 percent to 0.35 percent after consuming Four Loko, university President James L. Gaudino said Monday. A message left with Phusion Projects of Chicago, which makes the drink, was not returned. Last month, 23 students were hospitalized at Ramapo College in New Jersey after drinking Four Loko.But, I mean, how could Four Loko have known that kids would drink this stuff? Not Phusion Projects, the makers Four Loko:
No one is more upset than we are when our products are abused or consumed illegally by underage drinkers – and it appears that both happened in this instance. This is unacceptable.In what is one of the most cynical press releases I have ever seen, Phusion argues:
People have safely enjoyed mixing alcohol and caffeine products for years in their homes, and in restaurants and bars. Having coffee after a meal with wine, or consuming rum and cola, an Irish coffee or a Red Bull and vodka are all popular practices. Our products contain less alcohol than an average rum and cola, less alcohol and caffeine than an average Red Bull and vodka, and is comparable to having coffee after a meal with a couple glasses of wine.Obviously, unless your "couple glasses of wine" are 12 ounces, it's not comparable at all. It's like drinking a bottle of wine. But it's not actually Phusion's fault. They might well have said, "hey, you're the idiots who allow us to peddle this legally to college students, what'd you expect?" And they'd be right.