Four Loko Changes Label Amid Scrutiny

The FTC said Monday Chicago-based Phusion Projects LLC wasn't clear about the beverage's alcohol content

By Michael Kaplan
|  Monday, Oct 3, 2011  |  Updated 3:09 PM CDT
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New Drink Causes Students to Black Out

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Lawyer Talks About Four Loko Suit

May 20, 2011: A family from suburban Washington, D.C. has filed a wrongful death suit against the Chicago-based makers of Four Loko, an alcoholic energy drink, after their 15-year-old son allegedly died after consuming two cans.

New Drink Causes Students to Black Out

The Washington State attorney general is calling for an ban on the high-alcohol energy drink "Four Loko." The malt liquor drink known to students as "blackout in a can," is equivalent to five beers and five cups of coffee and has already been banned in Northern New Jersey and Central Washington.
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Four Loko's colorful camo-print can will soon bear a new, direct message: This can has as much alcohol as four to five beers.

Chicago-based Phusion Projects LLC, the makers of Four Loko, added the label to the 23.5-ounce can of its malt beverage under a settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, which ruled the company wasn't clear about the beverage's alcohol content.

Phusion removed caffeine from Four Loko last November after several states began banning the sale of the drink. On Monday, Phusion once again came under scrutiny for not properly warning consumers about the drink's contents.

The FTC, which investigates deceptive advertising, said Four Loko advertisements showed people drinking directly from a can, as someone would drink a single beer. The FTC also said the 23.5-ounce cans were highly alcoholic but not resealable.

In response, Phusion said the company is in the process of developing a resealable can that they expect will hit stores late next spring.

“The resealable can will be easy to use, spill-proof, retains carbonation and gives consumers more flexibility in the way they choose to enjoy our Four Loko products,” said Phusion co-founder Jaisen Freeman in a statement.

Freeman said the company disagrees with the FTC's allegations and doesn't believe there were any violations. Still, he said, "we take legal compliance very seriously."

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