The men who created Four Loko are exactly who you would expect to bring such a strong caffeine-infused booze confection into the world: former frat boys from a large midwestern university who attended college when Red Bull and vodka was king. After a few false starts, their company, Phusion Projects, briefly owned the caffeinated alcohol market, and because of that success got the kind of brand recognition that no company wants.
After a year of avoiding the press, they told their story to new addiction and recovery blog The Fix. Even though they’ve been painted as bad guys peddling alcoholic products to kids, the men behind Phusion Projects say it’s not their product that’s the problem, it’s people who misuse it. If caffeine and alcohol is the problem, then why is Irish coffee still legal? They told The Fix:
“We figured that caffeine and alcohol have been around for hundreds of years. It’s still around. Belvedere IX has caffeine in it, there are craft brews with coffee, with chocolate, Kahlua, Bailey’s, all the vodkas, Patron XO with coffee in it. If caffeine and alcohol were the issue, we figured all of caffeine and alcohol would go away.
Phusion is on its way back, claiming to have other beverages in the pipeline, and a lower-alcohol, smaller version of Four Loko out recently. You know, for the people who like to drink it for the taste.