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I’m going loco for the Loko!

November 18, 2010

In the new lately, there has been a flurry of stories regarding caffeinated malt beverages like Four Loko.  Here in Washington, the ban on them begins today.  Last week, I decided to see what all the fuss was about seeing that the ban was imminent.  For $2.69 + tax, I bought a can of the “Orange Blend.”  (Yeah, that’s Miller Lite glass.  Fitting, no?)

I poured a little out into pint glass, as I wanted to see what the stuff looked like.  Electric orange.  Carbonation is next to non-existent.  Frankly, I think the little fizz I got was due to packaging (freshness).

The stuff smelled of booze.  At 12% ABV, that isn’t surprising.  As a craft beer lover, I was set to be unimpressed.  The stuff tasted awful.  It reminded me of the orange punch at McDonald’s when I was a kid.  It’s sweet.  Very sweet.   But, into the sink it went.  Totally sink-worthy.

Spiked orange punch with caffeine infused.  Yeah.  I understand the popularity.  It goes down easy (if you like the taste).  So, what we have is a beverage that is sweet, caffeinated, boozy, and cheap.  This is why it’s popular.  You take out the caffeine, and it will still be popular.  But what I really don’t understand is the quick rush to ban this stuff.  Or maybe I do.

It all started with a series of instances where college kids were ending up hospitalized or dead because they drank so much of the stuff.  But last time I checked, binge drinking was nothing new under the sun for college kids.  Even before the thought occurred to someone to combine alcohol and caffeine, people were getting themselves into the same sort of trouble.

Here’s my problem.  It’s reactionary.  It isn’t well thought out.  It’s anti-liberty.  And it fails to address the real issues of binge drinking and underage drinking.  Personally, I hate the stuff.  But I’m also offended at the notion that I’m not wise enough to make a responsible decisions regarding my alcohol consumption.  Potentially lost in all this mayhem, are craft beers brewed with tea, chocolate or coffee.  But for now, it appears we’ve avoided that tragedy.

This saga isn’t over yet.  Four Loko appears to be altering the recipe to remove caffeine.  So we’ll be left with a beverage that is sweet, boozy, and cheap.  I don’t expect much to change.  I think that the real issue is the sweetness of the beverage.  It will still be easy to drink, like chugging kool-aid.  It will still be cheap for the budget-conscious, college-age boozer.  Those under 21 will still find access to it by way of fake id’s or “of-age” friends.  We’ll still see alcohol poisoning.

In the end, this is political theater and strikes me as foul.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 22, 2010 10:19 am

    Political theater indeed. Prohibitory laws are always a slippery slope into more and more nanny state-ish legislation. They should just ban lemon flavored vodka, right? I bet I could drink 24 ounces of that easier than 4loko.

    Your a braver man than I for attempting to consume the loko!

    • Big Tex permalink
      November 22, 2010 11:48 am

      Well, my intent was not to consume the entire can. It was the evening, and I didn’t need that much booze, nor did I need the caffeine. I needed to rest. 🙂

  2. December 3, 2010 10:31 am

    Your take on this abomination of a drink was certainly more thoughtful than mine. I suffered through only a few ounces and knew that my “review” had to be absurd and over the top. 🙂

    There is a mild parallel between the knee-jerk banning of drinks and the freedom of speech. You have to sometimes allow the unpopular, or downright stupid, to maintain what is good and beneficial. Hopefully this Four Loko fad will pass soon…..

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