Nov. 5, 2010 /EIN Presswire/ – Many states and communities are considering bans on the alcohol-caffeine drink Four Loko, but Michigan actually has done it.
The action came on a 2-1 vote of the state’s Liquor Control Commission. Phusion, the manufacturer of Four Loko, has vowed to fight the action.
Not only did the board ban Four Loko, but it took 55 other drinks down with it. The banned products include largely unregulated stimulants like guarana, wormwood oil and taurine infused into alcoholic drinks, sometimes in combination with caffeine. Popular brands include Joose, Four Loko and 808.
Manufacturers will have 30 days to remove the products from store shelves.
The beverage has been wildly popular with college students, but as hospitalizations associated with the drink have mounted so have calls for its ban.
Four Loko contains 12 percent alcohol plus as much caffeine as a tall cup of Starbucks coffee. Health officials say that by drinking so much caffeine users don’t feel their level of intoxication and so they drink until they literally make themselves sick.
Phusion counters that drinking alcohol and coffee in combination is a common practice, popularized in recent years by drinks such as Red Bull and vodka and rum and cola.
The company said in a statement that Michigan’s liquor commission did not provide advance notice of its proposed action and “did not give parties who will be affected by the ban any opportunity to be heard on whether the ban is warranted or authorized by law.” The company said it intends to challenge the action.
Michigan is the first state to ban such beverages. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Commission recently asked its licensed sellers to voluntarily stop selling and promoting alcoholic energy drinks such as Four Loko. Washington State, New Jersey and other state and local governments have been threatening to ban Four Loko as well.
The Michigan Association of Convenience Stores said it would not fight the ruling, but Mark Griffin, president of the association expressed surprise at the decision.
“Our experience with the state is they would prefer to tax the products we sell to generate additional revenues. I’m surprised there hasn’t been an effort to triple the tax on these products to bail themselves out of their financial crisis.”
For more beverages news, visit Beverage Industry Today (http://beverages.einnews.com), a beverage media monitoring service from EIN News.