Chuck Schumer, not loco for Four Loko

caffeinated alcoholic beverages four loko

Our senior senator isn't a fan

Chuck Schumer is calling on the New York State Liquor Authority to ban caffeinated alcoholic beverages. Schumer says the drinks are dangerous -- and cites the case of an 18-year-old Long Island woman who died this past August after allegedly drinking a Four Loko.

The now-infamous Four Loko is a malt liquor drink that comes in 23.5-ounce cans and is 12 percent alcohol by volume, with what the company says is about the same amount of caffeine as a 12 ounce cup of coffee.

Four Loko has apparently become quite popular among the college set. There have been a bunch of reports students being hospitalized or otherwise getting into trouble after binging on the drinks (and many tales). And the coverage has resulted in some tabloid-y lines describing the drink, including "liquid cocaine" and "badness in a can."

The state of Michigan banned caffeinated alcoholic beverages earlier this month, and Washington did the same this week (apparently setting off a rush on remaining supplies of Four Loko). And Oklahoma has a ban set to start next month.

The company that makes Four Loko has urged regulators to wait on results from an FDA review, and is calling for uniform regulations.

Four Loko was implicated in the recent bout of binging that resulted in nine Skidmore students going to the hospital. But the Skidmore News reports that beverage's role was probably overstated.

Of course, if the state bans beverages such as Four Loko, it's not going to stop people from consuming such drinks. It's not like college students have never heard of mixing Red Bull with vodka.

photo: Flickr user jameskm03


...and it's not like local bars aren't actively pushing such drinks. I've seen a lot of signs advertising Jäger Bombs. It's only a matter of time before someone's heart shuts down after 2-3 of those.

I tried this vomit-inducing rotgut a few weeks ago and holy mother of god is it the worst liquid I've ever put in my mouth. If you can manage the entire can, I mean seriously it's like jolly rancher diarrhea mixed with ethanol, then I applaud you and no NY State law can rehabilitate your wretched mind.

Glad you mentioned Red Bull and vodka - exactly what I was thinking of reading this. Let's face it binge drinking is unhealthy for all manner of reasons - but are we really saying that falling asleep is the main defense against it? If not, whether what you're drinking has caffeine in it is a complete red (bull) herring.

People forget about the classic Jack and Coke or Rum and Coke. Those non-energy drinks combine caffine and alcohol. So what if Four Loko has as much caffine as a cup of coffee, so does an Irish Coffee.

once there was a local legend who will remain nameless that drank 5 in one night and lived to tell about it

sparx energy drink has been around for 8 years. Its the same thing but nobody said anything. The cashier that i bought it from didnt even know it was alcohol. I was 18 and buying the stuff.

How about this stuff:

Like my friend Rick James said, "Cocaine is a motherf#$&*@!"

i will second, that there was a night where the legend did indeed drink 5.

$3.99 for a can of that stuff? You could get four identical-sized cans of Arnold Palmer for three cents less. What a ripoff.

Right, Four Lokos is the source of all these problems. Not irresponsible drinkers who don't know their limits.

BTW, that purple Joose is freaking awesome.

We've had this moral panic before.
His name was Stampy and you loved him very much.

Uhmm... I mean Gin, or Cisco, or maybe Buckfast Tonic.


Now please return to unbunching your panties, Senator.

I suspect the 12 percent alcohol is more responsible for young people getting in trouble with Four Loko than the caffeine.

Young people presumably think something in a can marketed to young people is 5 percent, like beer, when it's more like wine.

One can, you should not be driving. Two cans, depending on the circumstances, you could have a medical problem.

Whatever, the high-alcohol content of Four Loko is more important than the cuppa coffee caffeine.

Like it or not, there's an expectation that what's in the bodega's cooler is more or less beer. Twenty-four ounces of fizzy, sweetened, wine-strength, idiot-flavored chug is designed to exploit a seam in the code. But hey, you're a new generation, and this is not your father's drink. Viva la revolution!

Right. You'll be remembered for popularizing the equivalent of Dr. Pepper and vodka. Good show.


Seriously pathetic! I don't need a Nanny State to tell me what I can and cannot put into my own body.

Maybe they should outlaw all liquor... again? Liquor has more alcohol than four loco... but then again, its not [yet] popular enough to ban I guess.

If a young person gets hit by a car, do we outlaw walking because the young person might have been walking? Do we outlaw cars because the car actually caused the young person's death? I mean, WTF?!

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