PA asks retailers to stop selling alcohol-caffeine drinks
Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010
Pennsylvania's Liquor Control Board is asking retailers to pull controversial "super caffeinated" alcohol drinks from store shelves.
One popular brand called Four Loko has gotten unwanted attention in recent months after several college students landed in the hospital after drinking the malt beverage. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control board wants businesses to halt sales until federal regulators decide if the alcohol-caffeine combo is dangerous.
In Philadelphia, Temple University sent letters warning students about the flavored drinks.
Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Stephanie Ives says Temple has a comprehensive program to fight high-risk drinking but she says the caffeine drinks are so new they warranted a special effort.
Ives: Because the product combines alcohol with caffeine, it overrides the body's ability to understand when it's had too much. So we were trying to caution students, and alert them against using these products.
The chair of Pennsylvania's Liquor Control Board says the flavored drinks are sold in 22 ounce cans and marketed to younger drinkers.
In a company statement, the Four Loko drink maker said its product is "as safe as any other alcoholic beverage" and has "roughly the same alcohol content as some craft beers or wine."
The drink maker responded to the control board actions saying: "curbing alcohol abuse will not be accomplished by singling out a lone product or beverage category."
Jay Wiederhold leads the wholesalers group, the Pennsylvania Beer Alliance. He says despite the the liquor board's request he's reminding alliance members that the products are still legal.
Wiederhold: So if they chose, as the owner of the business not to push the product that's fine. I'm not really telling them one way or another to do or not do anything, I guess is the way to look at right now, until we hear from the appropriate agencies.