Local stores in the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area are selling Four Loko drinks faster than they can keep the shelves stocked after a recent federal decision is forcing makers of the popular drink to remove its caffeine content.
J.D. Schlick, manager of TJ’s Beverage and Tobacco in Carrboro said he has seen an increase in students coming to buy the limited supply of Four Loko.
Schlick said he expects his store’s stock — he has only six cases left — to sell out as soon as today.
Schlick said he does not think the ban will aid in the safety of consumers.
“People are just going to go out and drink vodka and get in car accidents,” Schlick said.
The FDA released a warning statement Wednesday to four companies who distribute malt alcoholic beverages, including Four Loko, warning the caffeine in their drinks poses a public health concern.
The company must remove the caffeine or face the FDA, who could seize the products or prevent manufacturing until the problem is remedied.
“FDA does not find support for the claim that the addition of caffeine to these alcoholic beverages is ‘generally recognized as safe’, which is the legal standard,” wrote Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner, in an FDA statement.
“To the contrary, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern.”
But junior Matt Miller said all alcohol is dangerous — not only Four Loko — and the fact that the government is forcing drink makers to alter their brew in order to prevent people from being irresponsible is foolish.
“It’s upsetting that we’re not getting a choice to drink whatever we like,” he said.
“It’s all about personal responsibility.”
Miller, who bought a case Wednesday from Key Food Mart, said everyone else in the store was purchasing a case as well.
Emad Moukhly, an employee at Key Food Mart, said he placed the product in both the front and back of the store.
He could not meet consumer demand.
“They’re pissed,” Moukhly said of buyers’ reactions to the FDA’s decision.
Senior Chris Wollman said he thought the drink tasted terrible, but said he was nonetheless critical of the government regulation.
“In my opinion, I don’t think the government needs to take it to that point,” he said.
“They’re two legal substances—caffeine and alcohol. People can make the same concoction on their own or at bars by mixing Red Bull and alcohol.”
Contact the City Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.