Phusion Products Stops Sale Of Alcohol Energy Drinks

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By Paul Johnson

Boise, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) - Attorney General Lawrence Wasden today announced an agreement with Phusion Products, LLC, to resolve claims that the company marketed and sold flavored, caffeinated malt drinks in violation of Idaho’s Consumer Protection Act. The lawsuit alleged that Phusion promoted a beverage known as “Four Loko” to minors without disclosing the effects and consequences of drinking alcoholic drinks combined with caffeine.

“The stimulants in Four Loko mask the effect of the alcohol in the drink,” Attorney General Wasden said. “As a result, the consumer feels alert and, although impaired by the alcohol, does not perceive that he or she is impaired. Obviously, this creates a highly dangerous situation.”

Idaho joined 19 other states and the City of San Francisco in the settlement agreement.

Research on caffeinated alcoholic drinks has found that college students who mix alcohol and energy drinks engage in increased heavy episodic drinking and have twice as many episodes of weekly drunkenness. College students who reported consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks also had a significantly higher prevalence of alcohol-related consequences, such as sexual assault and injury.

As part of the settlement, Phusion will not manufacture caffeinated alcoholic beverages and will reform various marketing practices. Specifically, Phusion will not:

• Promote binge drinking, drinking while driving, or consuming alcoholic drinks by means of a rapid ingestion;
• Promote to consumers mixing its flavored malt drinks with products containing caffeine;
• Sell, offer for sale, distribute or promote alcoholic products to underage persons;
• Hire underage persons, or actors under the age of 25, to promote alcoholic products;
• Hire models or actors for its promotional materials who are under the age of 25 or who appear to be under the age of 21;
• Promote flavored malt drinks on school or college property, except at retail establishments licensed to sell alcoholic products;
• Use names, initials, logos, or mascots of any school, college, university, student organization, sorority, or fraternity in Phusion’s promotional materials for its alcoholic products; or
• Distribute, sell, provide or promote merchandise bearing the brand name or logo of flavored malt drinks to underage persons.
Idaho will receive $14,072 from Phusion as its portion of the $400,000 settlement agreement.

“Young people will be safer as a result of today’s settlement,” Attorney General Wasden said. “I am pleased the company and its owners have agreed to address the concerns expressed.”

Today’s settlement is the third such agreement to stop producing so-called “alcohol energy drinks.” Previously, Wasden and other attorneys general reached similar agreements with Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors.


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