The Daily Gamecock

Four Loko loses kick, not image

SC House bans canned alcohol, caffeine hybrids, but point is moot

While the Food and Drug Administration banned malt alcoholic drinks containing caffeine in November and the South Carolina House followed suit on Feb. 10, many convenience stores near campus are still selling Four Lokos.

They’re not breaking the law, either. , The company responsible for selling Four Lokos has removed caffeine, guarana and taurine from its drinks while keeping the packaging almost identical.

“I didn’t know there was a change,” said Amber Smith, a second-year broadcast journalism student and Four Loko fan.

On the other hand, James Jacobs, a third-year management student, said he was aware of the recipe change.

“I just drink a Red Bull with it to replace the caffeine,” Jacobs said.

The Chicago-based Phusion Projects released a statement in November announcing it would remove the stimulant trinity from its drink, still defiantly maintaining that they “have repeatedly contended — and still believe, as do many people throughout the country — that the combination of alcohol and caffeine is safe.”

State representatives Thad Viers and Laurie Funderburk, the Republican and Democrat who were the chief sponsors of the House’s bill to ban most prepackaged drinks that combine alcohol and caffeine, disagreed. Both were unavailable for comment.

The House’s ban, which passed 102-13, does not apply to drinks made with ingredients that contain naturally occurring caffeine. Thus, beverages combining alcohol with tea, coffee or cola would remain legal if the Senate accepts this version.