Phusion Projects, maker of Four Loko, has agreed to never, ever sell caffeinated alcohol products again.
The “blackout in a can” that specializes in douchey advertising featuring breast-enhanced bikini-clad bimbos, skateboards and palm tree silhouettes is officially joining the ranks of the woolly mammoth, the T-rex and the dodo. After being hit with massive pressure from a consortium of 20 state attorneys general, Chicago-based Phusion Projects LLC has agreed to cease production of all of its caffeinated alcoholic energy drinks. Consumers will be left with the tamer, caffeine-free version, The Washington Post reports.
In 2010, Phusion voluntarily removed caffeine from Four Loko following complaints. Now it is legally mandated to keep caffeine out of Four Loko and its other products, which are Moskato Life (“a progressive adult beverage” available in original and rose that sounds awful) and Earthquake, a “high gravity lager.” None of the products currently contain caffeine.
The agreement will also resolve allegations that Phusion violated consumer protection and trade practice statutes by intentionally marketing the drinks to underage youth, and failed to disclose to consumers the effects of combining alcohol with caffeine (which can really be problematic).
Since its introduction to the market in 2005, Phusion has been blamed for numerous deaths and injuries as a result of underage consumption of Four Loko.
“Phusion used marketing and sales tactics that glorified alcohol use and promoted binge drinking,” said Chicago Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan. “This agreement is a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to reduce access to dangerous caffeinated alcoholic beverages, especially to underage drinkers.”
The city of San Francisco and 19 other attorneys general joined Madigan in pressuring the company to stop production of the drink – – or any other caffeinated alcoholic beverages.
The company also agreed not to hire anyone under the age of 25 – or who appear to be under the age of 21 – to promote alcohol products. Phusion is also prohibited from referencing any school or university in its advertising, and must police its social media platforms for any mentions of alcohol abuse or the mixing of caffeine with its alcohol products.
Finally, Phusion agreed to pay $400,000 to each of the states involved in the settlement.
However, Phusion's website declares, “Four Loko is going nowhere! We are excited to continue to bring our loyal fans the products they LOVE! Thanks for your support!” And, ever unapologetic, Phusion President Jim Sloan said in a statement: “While our company did not violate any laws and we disagree with the allegations of the State Attorneys General, we consider this agreement a practical way to move forward and an opportunity to highlight our continued commitment to ensuring that our products are consumed safely and responsibly only by adults 21 and over.”
Sloan added that Phusion sells Four Loko without any caffeine in 48 states and will continue to do so, and insisted he still believes “that the combination of alcohol and caffeine can be consumed safely and responsibly.”
There is one special clause in the agreement: The company has agreed not to “use depictions or descriptions of Santa Claus” in any advertisements.
Because, goddammit it, you can make kids drink till they pass out, but Santa Claus is not Loko!