I'm not sure I quite understand the hysteria over Four Loko. Four states have banned the caffeinated malt beverage, and the Chicago-based manufacturer has bowed to pressure and agreed to stop shipping it to New York. And in Indiana, beverage retailers are trying to get out in front of lawmakers:
In cool packaging that resembles an energy drink, adults fear the beverages promote overconsumption especially on college campuses. Nicknamed, "Blackout in a Can" on some campuses, a recent incident where nine Central Washington University students were hospitalized after a party where they consumed Four Loko is reason for alarm.
[. . .]
The liquor store association says the beverages, which retail for $2 to $4 and also sell under the Joose name, have been selling well. But the group is calling for a ban in Indiana, citing concerns that the drinks can encourage overconsumption because the caffeine can block the effect of the alcohol.
The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, which represents about 500 package liquor stores -- wants liquor stores to voluntarily remove the products from shelves.
Does a product that contains less alcohol than a bottle of wine and about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee really deserve the "blackout in a can" sobriquet? As the Reason article points out, "Every alcoholic beverage is 'potentially hazardous,' and none will ever be proven 'safe,' if by that Rosen means risk-free. But there's no question that a can of Four Loko . . . can be consumed without serious adverse effects. If every alcoholic beverage had to pass the reckless college student test, they all would be banned."