Several people have commented to RUaD staff that they are seeing Four Loko on shelves, yet there was a ban put in place. Below is a summary that describes the temporary ban and how you can contact the Liquor Control Board if you want to comment on a permanent ban.
The Temporary Ban
On November 10, 2010, the WA Liquor Control Board passed an emergency resolution to ban alcoholic energy drinks in Washington State. This ban covers the importation, production, manufacture, distribution or sale of products that combine beer, strong beer, or malt liquor with caffeine, guarana, taurine, or other similar substances.
What the Ban Covers
The ban covers those drinks that mix alcohol with a high dose of stimulants such as caffeine, guarana, etc. Brand names include Core, Four Loko, Joose, and Max. Regular energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster, and RockStar are not banned.
The FDA Ruling
Shortly after WA passed this resolution, the FDA issued warning letters to four companies that produce these drinks, calling caffeine an “unsafe food additive.” This caused the companies to remove these products from store shelves.
Why Four Loko is back on the shelves
At least one company, Phusion Projects (the maker of Four Loko), responded by removing caffeine and other stimulants from their products. This reformulated product still comes in 23.5 oz. containers with 12% alcohol.
Regular Rule-Making – A Permanent Ban
According to regulations, the temporary ban will expire after 120 days (on March 10, 2011). The LCB immediately began the regular rule-making process. The proposed rule was filed on January 12th.
If you wish to comment to the Liquor Control Board, the deadline is February 23, 2011. Send your comments to: Rules Coordinator, Liquor Control Board