There's a reason there's “Four” in the name, and it isn't for four healthy vitamins and minerals. A 23 ½-oz. can of the drink Four Loko contains the alcohol equivalent of 4 ½ beers. Now the label will say so, after Phusion Projects, maker of the “blackout in a can,” reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, which calls the drink “a supersized, high-alcohol, fruit-flavored, carbonated malt beverage.” Current packaging that compares each can to one or two 12-oz. beers will be changed under the U.S. government settlement, Reuters reports.
Phusion had also claimed that a consumer could drink an entire can safely at “a single occasion.” The new beverage containers will be resealable so as to give the drinker the idea that it's OK to save some for later. Though few will. The new containers will be on (college dorm room) shelves by late spring.
The FTC, which investigates complaints about deceptive advertising, said Monday that Four Loko drinks are highly alcoholic. “Deception about alcohol content is dangerous to consumers, and it's a serious concern for the FTC,” said David Vladeck, director of the agency's Bureau of Consumer Protection. The product encouraged binge drinking, the agency alleged.
Phusion is going along with the changes grudgingly. “Even though we reached an agreement, we don't share the FTC's perspective and we disagree with their allegations,” the company said in a statement.
The sweet drinks used to contain caffeine, but the company removed it last year after pressure from regulators. Maybe the new changes will help stop this kind of situation.