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Attorney General Conway Announces Settlement Regarding Four Loko

Tuesday, 03 25, 2014

Daniel Kemp
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5651 (office)

Attorney General Jack Conway announced today that he and 19 other attorneys general and San Francisco’s city attorney have reached a settlement with Phusion Projects, LLC and its officers (collectively, “Phusion”) regarding the flavored malt beverage Four Loko.

 

The settlement resolves allegations that Phusion marketed and sold Four Loko in violation of consumer protection and trade practice statutes by promoting the alcoholic beverage to minors, promoting dangerous and excessive consumption of the beverage, promoting the misuse of alcohol, and failing to disclose to consumers the effects of drinking alcoholic beverages combined with caffeine. 

 

Additionally, the settlement addresses Phusion’s practice of manufacturing, marketing, and selling unsafe and adulterated caffeinated alcoholic beverages prior to the FDA’s November 2010 letter warning the company that caffeinated Four Loko is an unsafe product.  Kentucky will receive $14, 047.62 as a result of the settlement.

 

“Often referred to as an ‘alcopop’ and even a ‘blackout in a can,’ the original Four Loko formulation is a dangerous concoction of alcohol and caffeine,” General Conway said. “This settlement will keep the caffeinated version of the malt beverage off of store shelves, and it will ensure that consumers, especially minors, are no longer prey to the misleading and deceptive marketing techniques that Phusion has used to sell its products.” 

 

As part of the settlement, Phusion agreed to not manufacture caffeinated alcoholic beverages and reform how it markets and promotes its non-caffeinated flavored malt beverages, including Four Loko.  Additionally, Phusion shall not:

 

·         Promote binge drinking, drinking while driving, consuming an alcoholic beverage by means of a rapid ingestion technique or device, or underage drinking.

·         Promote to consumers, wholesalers, distributers, or marketers mixing its flavored malt beverages with products containing caffeine.

·         Sell, offer for sale, distribute, or promote alcoholic products to underage persons.

·         Hire underage persons or actors under the age of 25 to promote alcohol products.

·         Hire models or actors for its promotional materials that are under the age of 25 or that appear to be under the age of 21.

·         Promote flavored malt beverages on school or college property, except at retail establishments licensed to sell alcoholic products.

·         Use names, initials, logos, or mascots of any school, college, university, student organization, sorority, or fraternity in Phusion’s promotional materials for its alcohol products.

·         Distribute, sell, provide, or promote merchandise bearing the brand name or logo of flavored malt beverages to underage persons.

Phusion has also agreed to:

 

·         Prevent the posting of, and promptly remove, from its websites and social media any postings that depict or describe the consumption of its caffeinated alcohol beverages, the mixing of its flavored malt beverages with products containing caffeine, or the misuse of alcohol.

·         Inform distributors and retailers that its flavored malt beverages contain alcohol.

·         Advise retailers to display its flavored malt beverages separate and apart from non-alcoholic products.

·         Pay the state attorneys general that are signatories to the settlement and San Francisco’s city attorney $400,000.

The Attorneys General of Arizona, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington participated in the settlement.

 

You can follow Attorney General Conway on Twitter @kyoag, visit the Attorney General’s Facebook page or view videos on our YouTube channel.