In the wake of a federal report that raises concerns about their safety, controversial alcoholic energy drinks are selling like hot cakes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week sent warning letters to makers of caffeine-infused alcoholic beverages after students at several colleges across the nation were hospitalized after drinking themselves silly on Four Loko, a popular brand of caffeinated malt liquor.
Four Loko's maker, Phusion Projects, has since bowed to pressure and announced that caffeine will no longer be used as an added ingredient. Now, fans of the stuff seem to be snatching up cans of Four Loko classic before it disappears for good.
A check of local convenience stores around Virginia Commonwealth University confirms the drink's popularity with the college coed set. Racks which would normally hold the 23 ounce cans of the stuff are nearly empty.
Charles Haddad, operator of the Cary Street Mini Mart near the university, says that following the announcement, students were purchasing the drinks by the armful. No matter if the FDA bans the drink outright, Haddad said last week he'd stop selling Four Loko on Nov. 19. He plans to send any remaining stock back to the manufacturer.
“The kids really seem to like it, but I'm not taking any chances,” Haddad says.