Monday, May 25, 2009

Blame it on the Alcohol

Blame it on the Alcohol:
The Low Down on Four Loko

Paul Scott

It was Memorial Day and, as you know, it gets hot on the streets of the "Dirty South." So, I headed to the local hood store to pick up a Welch's Grape Soda.

Being a tad bit parched a regular 12oz just wasn't gonna get it. Then like a mirage in the middle of the Sahara, I saw a cooler full of beautiful fruity looking cans in generous 23.5 oz servings. So, I quickly stuck my hand in the cooler and pulled out an ice cold tall one.

It looked kinda refreshing. But then I noticed the poster on the cooler with "now available legally" written across a hot Latino lady's cleavage.

Kinda strange marketing scheme for soda pop. I wondered what the "illegal" version tasted like.

Now I'm curious as to what I was about to put in my body so I started reading the label.

"Wow! This soda is an energy drink too?"

It had the usual stuff that energy drinks are made of. Guarana, Taurine, Caffeine....

11% alcohol !!!

I had just picked up one of the latest malt liquors sold in Durham NC and hoods across America, Four Loko...

Maybe, its just me but I have always had a problem with the way that the liquor industry markets their products to the young, hip crowd.

You can usually find booze in the hood that you can't find anywhere else on the planet. (And lots of it)

Sure, you can pick up a cold Bud anywhere but to find a malt liquor with magical, medicinal properties..

Oh, that's hood action, homie.

It really ticks me off when these companies use Hip Hop music to pimp their products. Unlike their predecessors, Ole English and ST. Ides, Four Loco has a high tech website and a couple of funky online jams to help you get yo' drink on. They are also using trendy social networks like youtube, Myspace and Facebook to push their product.

Did I mention they have their own clothing line, as well, so you can look fly while you're earlin' in the toilet.

They also want you to send them pictures of you and the homies gettin' your swag on with a can of Four Loko and to wax all philosophical and stuff about the buzz you get from consuming caffeine and alcohol

"And here's a picture of me in the hospital after stumblin' down a flight of steps at Krazie D's party, last week."

Good times, good times.

In most places, folks would be outraged that this is being sold in their neighborhoods. Surely, a malt liquor energy drink in a Grape Crush looking can should raise some sort of red flags among the AA, PTA, or FDA.

Shouldn't MADD and the other anti-teenage drinking folks be mad at this company?

Passing a malt liquor off as an energy drink is an accident waiting to happen. Don't say I didn't warn ya.

I can see Lil Jimmy now chuggin' down a Four Loko on his way to practice.

So, the next time that your loco actin' track star comes stumblin' over the finish line in record time mumblin' Skiny B lyrics...

As singer/comedian Jamie Fox would say, don't blame me..."Blame it on the alcohol."

Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots He can be reached at (919) 451-8283

In 1998, Paul Scott led a succesful campaign against Phat Boy Malt Liquor. For information about the IMANI (Inspiring Men to Act Against Negative Influences) lecture on alcohol marketing to young people, contact (919) 451-8283 or