Chicago-based company Phusion Projects LLC has agreed to cease production of its caffeinated alcoholic energy drinks, including Four Loko. The agreement will resolve allegations that Phusion violated consumer protection and trade practice statutes by intentionally marketing the drinks to underage youth, and then failing to disclose to consumers the effects of combining alcohol with caffeine.
Since its introduction to the market in 2005, Phusion has been blamed for numerous deaths and injuries as a result of underage consumption of Four Loko.
“Phusion used marketing and sales tactics that glorified alcohol use and promoted binge drinking,” said Chicago Attorney General Lisa Madigan. “This agreement is a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to reduce access to dangerous caffeinated alcoholic beverages, especially to underage drinkers.”
The city of San Francisco and 19 other attorneys general joined Madigan in pressuring the company to stop production of the youth-oriented alcoholic beverage. Under the agreement, Phusion will no longer manufacture caffeinated alcoholic beverages.
Furthermore, the company may not hire anyone under the age of 25 — or who appear to be under the age of 21 — to promote alcohol products. The company is also prohibited from referencing any school or university in its advertising, and must police its social media platforms for any mentions of alcohol abuse or the mixing of caffeine with its alcohol products.
Finally, according to the Los Angeles Times, Phusion agreed to pay $400,000 to each of the states involved in the settlement.
Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.