In November, the US Food and Drug Administration deemed beverages like Four Loko, a malt liquor infused with caffeine and taurine, to be unsafe for the general public calling it a “public health concern.” Since that announcement, the brands were given time to reformulate their products in order to comply with the new federal regulation. The Four Loko answer? New flavors with no caffeine. Currently, only Green Apple is available, but keep an eye out for Blueberry Lemonade.
Having only tried Four Loko recently, I can say that the only thing it had going for it was the fact that the caffeine was already in the drink. Before that, the closest you got to what Four Loko had going for them was vodka and Red Bull. Now, Four Loko is just a sickly sweet malt liquor. I don’t see the appeal in drinking a lemon pez flavored malt beverage, but then again I’m not the new generation of imbiber either.
After reading about the new Four Loko formula, it got me thinking: How easy would it be to get the caffeine back in? This new FDA regulation means the general public will have to revert back to vodka and Red Bull as their drink of choice, and that’s easy to do: you buy vodka, you buy Red Bull, you mix them together, you drink your “unsafe” concoction, rinse, lather, and repeat. But Four Loko has the alcohol and not the caffeine. How do you add caffeine to a drink, but no flavor? This is something the Four Loko marketing team should be trying to solve. Imagine walking into a store and sitting right next to the Four Loko XXL Blueberry Lemonade is a small vial of Four Loko Unflavored Caffeine Water, and look at that! The new caffeine free Four Loko packaging account for just enough open space at the top of the can to pour a vial of caffeine water in.