Banning Four Loko: First Utah, then ... | Culture Vulture | The Salt Lake Tribune
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Culture Vulture
Sean P. Means
Sean follows pop culture in Utah and beyond. He is also the film writer and critic.

» E-mail

» Subscribe (RSS)

» Older blog posts




Four Loko alcoholic energy drinks are seen in the cooler of a convenience store Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010, in Seattle. Following a vote by the state Liquor Control Board Wednesday morning, Washington state is banning the drinks effective Nov. 18. The ban comes after nine Central Washington University students were hospitalized after a party last month, where authorities say they drank the caffeinated malt liquor beverage Four Loko. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Banning Four Loko: First Utah, then ...

It's the rare instance where Utah is leading a fashion trend, not following one.

This trend: Banning the caffeinated alcoholic beverage Four Loko, which packs in its 12 percent alcohol the strength of four beers -- but with enough caffeine to keep you awake through any drunken bender.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Utah was the first to ban the sale of Four Loko (an easy thing for the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to do, since the state buys alcohol from distributors, and then sells the products to consumers).

Since then, Michigan, Oklahoma and Montana have banned sales of the product, and Washington state will ban them starting Thursday. Meanwhile, the state of New York has reached a deal with Four Loko's manufacturer to stop selling the stuff there.

Not that there's anything new about mixing alcohol and caffeine, as Salon.com's Schulyer Velasco pointed out in an interview with historian Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. There have been Irish coffee, rum-and-Coke, and vodka-and-Red Bull.

So why ban Four Loko?

"The logic of that would seem to be that you can't stop people from mixing the two on their own, taking a coffee and pouring some Bailey's or Kaluha into it," Okrent said. "You can't stop people from making explosives out of nitrogen fertilizer either. But you can outlaw the sale of explosives."

Okrent suggested that drinkers would find easy alternatives to Four Loko where it has been banned, but that the controversy could boost sales in states where it's still sold. "I could see how you could begin a marketing push: 'Banned in New York! You can only get it here!'," he said.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
 
Jobs
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.