Editorial: Four Loko hangover

Is anyone else tired of this Four Loko buzz? We here at The State Press sure are.

The deal was good while it lasted: 2 cups of coffee and four to five beers all in a 16-ounce can with a price tag of $2.50.

But it’s not as if this hasn’t happened before. Most of us were just too young to be drinking when some of the first “all-in-one” drinks came out. In fact, we think it’s pretty loco that the Food and Drug Administration let the “blackout in a can” folks get away with it for as long as they did — circa two years (under the name “Four Loko”). The same swan song was drunkenly sang at a high-temp pace when 2002’s Sparks, 2005’s Tilt and 2007’s Joose had their caffeine parade rained on by the big, bad FDA party foul.

According to a Nov. 10 article in USA Today, the FDA is looking into about 40 caffeinated alcoholic drinks due to the Four Loko wildfire — which helped double sales for its parent company, Phusion Projects.

Really, though. Who cares that Four Loko is considered a “public health concern?” Isn’t all alcohol a public health concern? We banned that once, and it didn’t go so well. Not to mention, if students really wanted to, they could recreate the “deadly” mix of caffeine and alcohol with Red Bull and vodka. That, Wikipedia tells us, is ideal for gathering up the “energy for dancing into the early hours of the morning.” But even though the effects and toxicity are different for everyone, it seems pointless to be making such a fuss about one product.

The Phusion Projects website claims that its products have less alcohol on average than rum and coke and less alcohol and caffeine than a typical Red Bull and vodka. They go on to say their caffeinated drinks are similar to drinking a cup of coffee after a dinner with a couple glasses of wine.

It’s important to note that Four Loko isn’t for binge drinking. So wise up kiddies. Caffeinated alcohol is for a cheap, quick drunk — not an all-night party.

We also can’t help but wonder if this all wasn’t just some publicity stunt pulled to make the normal, decaffeinated version of the gross-tasting drinks sell better. After all, we all buy sympathetically, and people who hadn’t heard of Four Loko probably got at least a small urge to see what it was all about.

But, Four Loko, we don’t need you to have fun. We can mix Red Bull and vodka on our own and do just fine. Or we can play a few games of beer pong and end up in just about the same place.

The only thing left to ask is: What else are college students supposed to do to avoid that 2:30 a.m. feeling?