Four Loko agrees to pay $400K over deceptive marketing allegations

four loko
Four Loko cans line the shelf at a liquor store.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro file photo

The company that makes the controversial alcohol drink Four Loko agreed to a multi-state settlement over allegations of deceptive marketing practices and will now pay $400,000, it was announced on Tuesday.

Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania were three of the 19 states, as well as the City of San Francisco, who took part in the settlement with Phusion Products, LLC, according to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office.

The attorneys general of those states accused Phusion of unlawfully marketing the flavored malt beverage, as well as promoting the misuse of alcohol by underage consumers and failing to disclose the effects of drinking alcoholic beverages combined with caffeine.

Four Loko, in its original form, came in multiple flavors and combined caffeine and alcohol in 23-ounce cans. It gained popularity in 2010, especially among college students, but quickly became the target of authorities when it was blamed for sickening and even killing some consumers. The company eventually changed the make up of the drink and removed the caffeine. The owners spoke out, saying they were made to be “bad guys.”

“Binge drinking and underage drinking are public health concerns, and it is essential that companies market their products responsibly, particularly when they are selling alcoholic products that may appeal to minors,” Coakley said in a statement. “We are pleased that the company will improve the marketing and promotion of its flavored malt beverages to prevent dangerous drinking behaviors.”

Besides the payment, Phusion must also reform how it markets and promotes its products, according to the settlement. The company is prohibited from promoting the misuse of alcohol, promoting the mixing of flavored malt beverages with products containing caffeine, hiring underage persons to promote alcohol products and other marketing tools.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.