Four Loko voluntarily bans itself from New York

caffeinated alcoholic beverages four lokoUpdated Tuesday morning with additional links and info about research

The Paterson administration announced over the weekend that Phusion Products, the company that makes the caffeinated malt liquor drink Four Loko, had voluntarily agreed to stop shipping the beverage to New York State by this Friday. The administration also announced the state's largest beer distributors had voluntarily agreed to stop selling malt beverages that contain caffeine and other stimulants.

Said David Paterson in the press release:

"New Yorkers deserve to know that the beverages they buy are safe for consumption. The voluntary agreement reached this weekend between beverage distributors and the State Liquor Authority is an important first step toward permanently removing alcoholic energy drinks from the marketplace. I'll continue to work with the beverage industry to protect the safety of all New Yorkers.

Despite some good tabloid-y lines -- "liquid cocaine" and "badness in a can" -- there doesn't actually appear to be any research showing that the caffeine/alcohol mix in these beverages is inherently unsafe, at least not yet (the FDA is currently reviewing the products -- there are suspicions ingesting alcohol and caffeine at the same time is more potent than consuming the substances separately). As devtob and others pointed out in comments here on AOA last week, the tales of drunkenness and other mishaps associated with Four Loko probably come from the fact that the beverage is 12 percent alcohol by volume. Considering a single can is 24 ounces, that's enough alcohol to get most people relatively well smashed. (If you can actually get past the taste.)

This ban also doesn't prevent people from simply mixing alcohol with energy drinks (the classic example: Red Bull and vodka) -- something many college students already do. And, yep, that will get you drunk.

The biggest culprit in all this is probably the binge drinking culture that's prominent on so many college campuses. If it's not Four Loko, it'll be something else -- unless the culture changes.

This new announcement follows Chuck Schumer's call last week for the state liquor authority to ban caffeinated alcoholic beverages. 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.

photo: Flickr user jameskm03

Comments

I trust that the scourge of Irish Coffees will soon also be a thing of the past in our absurd paternalistic state?

time to shares of Red Bull, I suppose.

this is really silly, silly, silly. Regular soda is bad for people too (and just ONE a day puts them at higher risk for diabetes--if the nutritionist on the Today show knows her stuff)--when are they going to ban that?

www.twitter.com/TwourLoko

Am I the only one that has been driven to track this down based on all the recent negative press? This is all making me misty for old-timey Sparks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparks_(drink)

This is seriously nothing that can't be replicated with red bull and (alcoholic beverage of choice) or really, any highly sugared/caffeinated/both drink... You can't legislate that people be responsible, no matter how hard you try... nor can you legislate that people have good taste... :)

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Warehouse District wine bar, new supermarket among plans up for review in Albany

A plan for a new wine bar in a space along Broadway in Albany's Warehouse District is among a group of notable projects on the... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Just in time for Valentine's Day -- or maybe President's Day -- winter has decided to make a return to the Capital Region. Temperatures could... (more)

Morning Blend

Colonie murder/suicide investigation State Police said Thursday that an investigation has concluded that Colonie Police Officer Israel Roman shot his wife, his 10-year-old son, then... (more)

Breaking down the Albany High School vote

Updated Friday morning with better maps. The vote on the reformulated $180 million plan to rebuild/expand Albany High School has gotten a lot of attention... (more)

In search of the place in Albany that John Wilkes Booth accidentally stabbed himself

Albany Archives has a fun post about hunting down the exact location of the old Gayety Theatre on Green Street in downtown Albany -- it's... (more)

Recent Comments

... I have been using OCD cleaners for at least three years now and I have never had a problem. They clean my house (in Albany) every two weeks and have also done an occasional cleaning for parents (in Schenectady). They show up when they say they will, the staff is friendly and courteous, prices are fair and increases have been reasonable. They are also great about working out changes in your scheduled cleaning if you give them notice. I couldn't be happier. ...

Recommendations for cleaning services?

...has 6 comments, most recently from Kellen

Breaking down the Albany High School vote

...has 5 comments, most recently from Dave

Checking out Blaze Pizza

...has 8 comments, most recently from Jeff W

What if tearing down I-787 could actually improve traffic?

...has 38 comments, most recently from JayK

Albany High School: An alum's perspective

...has 44 comments, most recently from Carolyn