Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of American fruit-flavoured alcohol, Four Loko.
Known as “斷片酒” (Translation: blackout in a can) and “失身酒” (Translation: virginity losing alcohol) by Chinese netizens, the alcoholic beverage, which has become a big hit in China, contains 12 – 14% ABV (alcohol by volume) and it consists of 10 flavours including lemon, grape, peach, strawberry, mango, apple, and watermelon.
According to Buzz Feed, tens of thousands of cans have been sold on Taobao, one of China’s biggest online shopping platform.
We noticed that the drink has been heavily shared on social media, particularly Facebook, in the past week and many Malaysians are actually selling it via Facebook and WeChat. The price for a can of Four Loko ranges from RM32 to RM50.
Note: Four Loko is not available in major supermarkets.
Created and distributed by Phusion Projects, the company was founded by Ohio State University alums Chris Hunter, Jaisen Freeman, and Jeff Wright in 2005. As students, the 3 had enjoyed mixing alcohol with caffeinated energy drinks.
Looking at the viral posts (some has been shared over 10,000 times), most of the social media content were written in Mandarin. For the curious minds (and the uninitiated), we’ve compiled and translated several facts about the drink that you should know about before trying it, that is, if you can get your hands on it as many sellers claims that they are “running out of stock”.
1. The “Four” in Four Loko refers to the drink’s 4 main ingredients – caffeine, alcohol, Brazilian stimulant guarana, and the animal-derived stimulant taurine.
2. According to the New York Post, Four Loko was banned in several US states (read: Washington, Pennsylvania, Oregon, etc), supposedly drove one consumer to suicide and left a group of college students hospitalised after they mixed it with vodka.
3. Though Four Loko contains only 12 -14% ABV, it is said to have the effect of 6 cans/bottles of beer, 5 glasses of red wine, or 5 glasses of 45° pure whiskey.
4. In 2010, Phusion Projects removed caffeine from their formula and in 2014, the company agreed not to make or sell caffeinated alcoholic beverages in the US. However, in Taobao websites, Chinese retailers claimed that Four Loko contains caffeine.
5. A Phusion Projects spokesman told Quartz recently that the advertisements on Taobao “are not from Phusion Projects and therefore are not associated in any manner with Phusion Projects”, suggesting that the Four Loko marketed in China may be not be authentic.
To see how powerful Four Loko really is, Amy Ng, a popular Hong Kong host, tried it out on air as an experiment for TVB’s news programme, “東張西望” (Scoop).
In the video, she started off by drinking 200ml of the lemon-flavoured Four Loko. 5 minutes after that, she started laughing and crying uncontrollably and 20 minutes later, she dozed off for about 15 minutes. “I only tried 200ml (…) I’d like to remind our viewers to not try it (Four Loko) for fun, especially women,” she said at the end of the segment.
You can check out TVB’s recent Four Loko experiment and judge it for yourself below (the experiment starts at 2:30 mark):
Curiosity killed the cat. We’d like to remind our readers to be wary of what they’re drinking. In addition, drinking something not sold publicly may be dangerous to your body.
What do you think about Four Loko? Would you try it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!