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Perdue: Alcoholic energy drinks should be off shelves in N.C.

Posted November 12, 2010

— Gov. Bev Perdue on Friday called for manufacturers to voluntarily withdraw malt beverages containing stimulants from the North Carolina market until they are found to be safe.

The North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission will take up the question of restricting the products at its scheduled meeting on Thursday, Perdue’s office said.

The beer-based beverages are fruit-flavored, sold in large, non-resealable cans and contain 12 percent alcohol. The drinks also contain varying amounts of caffeine and other ingredients that act as stimulants and, experts believe, encourage continued drinking.

The drinks are sold in convenience stores, groceries and other locations that hold ABC permits in North Carolina.

N.C. officials look at possible ban of alcoholic energy drinks N.C. officials look at possible ban of alcoholic energy drinks

“Teenagers and college students are drinking these drinks and ending up in the hospital,” Perdue said in a statement. “The time to act on this is now, before we are faced with the death of one of our young people. The only responsible way to allow these drinks on our shelves is to first carefully review their health effects.”

ABC Chairman Jon Williams said these drinks contain enough alcohol and caffeine to equal up to five beers and four sodas. 

"You are defeating your body's natural defenses against over-consumption of alcohol," he said. 

Tony King, a junior at Campbell University, said he is familiar with the effect these drinks can have. 

"If you drink two of them, you are pretty wasted," he said. 

Michigan, Utah, Oklahoma and Washington state have issued short-term bans on such drinks.

Authorities said nine Central Washington University students were hospitalized after drinking caffeinated malt liquor beverage Four Loko at an off-campus party in October.

"We have seen house parties and other situations where underage drinkers are consuming the products to excess," Williams said. 

Williams said his proposal would take the beverages out of stores starting 68 days after Thursday's meeting. He wants to consult with medical experts and manufacturers about the drinks' ingredients.

"I don't think there is a need to pull it, but I could see how it could be a problem for underage people," King said. 

The makers of Four Loko, Phusion Projects Inc. of Chicago, said their company goes to great lengths to make sure consumers know what their product is and how to consume it.

"Our cans feature seven different warning labels, our alcohol-by-volume warning is in a font as large as is allowed by law, and we work alongside our distributors and the stores that sell our products to ensure they are marketed, sold and consumed lawfully and responsibly," the company said in a statement.

"We understand that the governor is attempting to address the twin challenges of alcohol abuse and underage drinking – but this approach will do nothing to curb either. The only way to do that is with more education and awareness, stricter enforcement of existing alcohol laws and a sincere commitment by all involved to address the real issues at hand."

The company added that Perdue's efforts should be focused on "caffeinated liquor-based products, which contain three to four times as much alcohol as our products."


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  • Hans Nov 12, 2010

    Hans: Idiotic Governor should be off the public payroll in N.C.

  • haleibc Nov 12, 2010

    I don't drink this or any type alcohol so really I don't care, but turbopir8 has an idea. Put in the state liquor store, raise the tax inline with other liquer sold and old bev will be in full support. More and more tax money. As for those college students, their not smart enough to drink alcohol anyway.

  • flapy Nov 12, 2010

    I drank this stuff last night and im still feelin it, I blame myself.

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Nov 12, 2010

    "I support Gov. Perdue asking for voluntary removal of the drink and would like to have it legislated."

    I have a problem with rhess2 speaking in public. So, I ask him/her to voluntary refrain and I would like it legislated.

  • turbopir8 Nov 12, 2010

    By definition, this should considered a pre-mixed beverage and shouldn't be sold on the shelves but in a liquor store? It's not a beer product, but is a mix of 12% alcohol and and energy drink/mixer.

  • archmaker Nov 12, 2010

    and the naked guy in ncsu's library is probably the reason why

  • haleibc Nov 12, 2010

    The drinks are not the problem. It's the people sucking on the can.

  • meeper Nov 12, 2010

    Typical democrat!! Tax and regulate everything in existence!!

  • keneds Nov 12, 2010

    Perdue thinks (thats the first funny thing)...it should be removed from shelf....well I think she should be out of office, but it wont happen untill 2012..we dont always get what we want Bev Sweetie

  • Winston Nov 12, 2010

    Why does the govt. always hinder evolution?