If Taylor Swift happens to drink Four Loko, she would be singing her song’s lyrics “I knew you were trouble when you walked in” all night long. And we can all agree.
We probably know that Loko (from the Spanish Loco) means crazy, right? So when you hear something that has that word in it, expecting for the worst would be understandable.
Well, we can’t be any more wrong with the original Four Loko. But mind you, the name was really wholesome – at least that was the intention. Four key ingredients plus the crazy blends of flavors equals FOUR LOKO.
It might have already redeemed itself by reformulating its original recipe, but it’s still worth knowing its shaky past. If you’re that adventurous, you might still find some of its original version somewhere.
But please, read this first before you indulge so you’ll know what you’re getting into.
Four Loko History – Created by Students, Patronized by Students
Four Loko was formerly included in the caffeinated alcoholic beverages sold by the company Phusion Project operating as Drink Four Brewing Company from Chicago, Illinois. This was founded by Chris Hunter, Jeff Wright, and Jaisen Freeman after they’ve graduated from Ohio State University through a small business loan.
They were members of a fraternity and a lot of their original blends were crafted during their fraternity basement room parties. They were very clever to ever combine alcohol with caffeine.
They even had the guts to sell Thai energy drinks at a markup to fellow students while pretending to have imported them from overseas. That’s how creative and business-minded these bunch of guys have been.
The same entrepreneurial team has finally created an energy beer that we now know as Four Loko. It originally contained taurine, caffeine, guarana, and wormwood and was marketed as premium malt beverage.
This has become the firm’s most widely recognized beverage and can be purchased in 49 US states and 21 countries. But due to the high cost and the investment has come near depletion, the company decided to drop the wormwood and focused on increasing the alcohol content and enhancing the flavor.
In 2008, the brand has become very popular that gave way to the introduction of different flavors in the US. By 2009, the company began selling overseas.
The Not-So-Good Reputation
Back in the day, Four Loko was one of those your parents and the government (particularly FDA) would warn you about – much like cigarettes. Or perhaps, more than that – even a taboo.
This is because, according to the Food and Drugs Administration, caffeine and malt liquor is a very bad combination. Those who had someone in the family that fell ill or died, whether directly or indirectly associated with drinking Four Loco, had expressed their strong opinion against the product.
They even suggested that the label should have included a skull and crossbones in it as a symbol of toxicity and should have been put on the side of the shelf where rat poisons are displayed.
Perhaps, part of its popularity is that it is considered the “bad boy” of the bunch. It’s human nature to be tempted to try what’s regulated; worse, prohibited.
The company has a different opinion on this matter and it claims that caffeine and alcohol combination isn’t as inherently unsafe as others, including the government, would believe them to be. It added that there are 40 other similar products available on the market but they don’t get the same backlash that Four Loko is getting.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drinks with caffeine and alcohol combination are more likely to be addicting that drinkers tend to binge drink. In fact, they would likely consume around threefolds of what they would normally consume alcohol since the state of intoxication would be delayed due to the effect of the caffeine.
By the time they feel they’ve had enough, the level of alcohol had already gone toxic – affecting their brain functions. In fact, authorities have even likened the contents of Four Loko to a 6-pack of beer and 5 servings of coffee per 1 can. So you can just imagine how potent a few cans would be.
Because of this, the company decided to cease the production and sale of the caffeinated alcoholic beverages nationwide in 2014. But as early as December 2010, the company had released a reformulated version – the caffeine, taurine, and guarana have been removed from the ingredients and a food coloring agent has been used as a replacement.
How Much Does Four Loko Beers Cost?
Because of the previous on-going debate about whether Four Loko should be banned or not, a lot have seized the opportunity to buy in bulk and sell them at an enormous markup. That’s why, despite the reformulation of the content, you could still find some sellers offering the original Four Loko at a much higher price than the new and the old batch.
We have compiled all the prices from popular online liquor stores and don’t be surprised to see more expensive varieties than others. You might have just found a collector’s item.
Please find below the Four Loko Beers Prices per flavor:
$5.49 to $11.99
$12.99 to $47.14
No listing from these 4 online stores
$2.49 to $5.05
$6.99 to $9.99
$5.99 to $7.89
What’s in a Can of Four Loko?
The original formulation of Four Loko per can of 23.5 oz. contains about 2.82 ounces of alcohol and the caffeine content is around 156 mg. The alcohol content or ABV (Alcohol By Volume) was typically 12% (other areas can be as high as 14%).
However, the reformulated version (in compliance with the FDA agreement) is made up of carbonated water, sugar, both natural and artificial flavorings such as FD&C Red 40.
Why is Four Loko Controversial?
You really need to ask? Just kidding.
While Four Loko should be treated the same way as other popular, self-proclaimed energy drinks or beverages that should be consumed in moderation and extreme caution, it found its way to the hands of young people, especially university students, who aren’t even allowed to drink. Yeah, that sums up most of the issues.
Add to that, since young people tend to experiment and would do anything in the name of adventure, abuse can always be expected.
Alcohol being downers and caffeine as stimulants – their combination is the perfect recipe for a disaster. And most “victims” have already learned their lessons the hard way – well, at least those who lived to tell the tale.