Phusion Projects, the marketers of malt beverage Four Loko, have agreed to change their cans to settle claims of deceptive advertising with the Federal Trade Commission. Phusion Projects, the FTC alleged, said one can was the alcoholic equivalent of one (maybe two) beers. The FTC says it clocks in at more like four (or five).
In the FTC’s eyes, that means drinking one can of Four Loko, a “supersized, high-alcohol, fruit-flavored, carbonated malt beverage,” in a single sitting is the equivalent of binge drinking—defined as men drinking five (women four) alcoholic beverages in the space of about two hours.
In the settlement, Phusion Projects agreed to state on the Four Loko containers precisely how many beers each 23.5-ounce unit is equivalent to, and eventually they’ll have to produce all malt beverages of such potentcy in resealable packaging. This could encourage the drinker not to consume the whole beverage in one sitting—though one imagines that anyone partaking of Four Loko, a drink known as “blackout in a can,” doesn’t have moderation on the brain.
Four Loko used to be caffeinated, but the makers removed the substance after the FTC warned that the mixture of stimulants and alcohol was particularly unsafe. There will be a period of public comment on this settlement until Nov. 2, after which the FTC will decide whether to make the agreement final. Note: The settlement is not an admission of guilt, even if it’s also not good press for Four Loko.
Last month, Phusion Projects announced that it will produce a line of smaller drinks called “Poco Loko.” Those will be 16 ounces, or a little more than two-thirds the size of regular Four Loko. (Presumably calling it 2.72340424 Loko didn’t seem as catchy.)