eight months ago. After the the drink was neutered, and the creators began getting nostalgic about their glory days, we thought it was the end for Loko. But it seems there's one politician who is doing everything in his power to keep the flailing drink afloat: “This company makes a product for sale in New York that's cheap, tastes sweet and packs a six-pack punch in a 22-ounce can,” State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) waxed rhapsodic.
Of course, despite the fact that many fans of the drink could read that sentence in a highly positive light, Klein is not in fact trying to save the drink—rather, he has issued a legislative subpoena to Phusion Projects, who produce Loko, for manufacturing, distribution, and marketing information. Klein's spokesman Rich Azzopardi told us a bit about why Klein was seeking this information now: "Four Loko is still the leading beverage in this category," despite removing the caffeine from their product.
"The goal is to craft legislation that will make it harder for minors to access alcopop beverages...Loko's have shiny packaging, they're very inexpensive, and they have a high alcohol content," he told us. He mentioned that in March, the NYPD had a number of undercover stings in Klein's district to see how easy it was for minors to get the product—17 of the 23 stores sold the drink to their undercover person. And thus far, Four Loko has declined to give them information about their manufacturing process, who they are targeting and how they are distributing the drink.
In the last month, a new psychological study found that even without the caffeine, Loko may be a particularly "effective intoxicant," because the alcohol is masked by sweet flavors, which means that bodies miss their "anticipatory responding." Dr. Shepard Siegel told the Huffington Post, "You can have a similar experience where you might typically have a cocktail in the evening, but if you decide instead to drink the same amount in the afternoon, you could feel more intoxicated. When you consume a drug in circumstances not previously associated with the drug, it can have a more profound effect."
As for that profound effect, we asked Azzopardi whether Klein had ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight (drank Four Loko): "He tried it. He found it unappetizing."