Brace your bodies and guard your bank accounts because Four Loko is apparently coming out with hard seltzer. Is it a blessing? Is it a curse? Is it a sign that maybe we need to cool it with the hard seltzers? Let’s go with all of the above.
At 5:22 p.m. on Aug 13, 2019, the official Four Loko Twitter account — a brand account with the chaotic party energy you might expect from a company that once thought mixing caffeine and alcohol and college students was a fine and good idea — sent this ominous message out into the universe: “Hard Seltzers ran so we could fly.”
The sad and psycho seven-word story was accompanied by a photo of a silver and blue can of Four Loko seltzer. The flavor? Sour with a “hint of blue razz.” The alcohol content? A whopping 14 percent, nearly triple the ABV of competitors like Truly, White Claw, and the recently announced Natty Light Seltzer, all of which are featured in the background of the photo, blurred out like a police image. The tagline? “Hardest seltzer in the universe.” Yes. Sure. Okay. By definition and alcohol content, this would be the “hardest” seltzer currently on the market, but why do I feel like that tagline wants to fight me?
Four Loko has yet to comment on their seltzer announcement aside from their posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. (Their YouTube channel doesn’t have any hard seltzer-related content as of yet, but if you feel like going down a rabbithole of Riff Raff and Spring Break videos...be my guest.) There is no press release. There is no release date. Four Loko just showed up to the party unannounced with a keg of hard seltzer like, “Y’all gonna help me with this or what?”
If all of this has you saying, “Wait...wasn’t Four Loko, like, banned?” the Four Loko FAQ page has the answers you seek. “Four Loko is NOT banned or illegal,” the notably somber-toned answer states. “In fact, it is available in 49 US states.” The answer links out to the Four Loko product locator page where you can find such Four Loko delights as Strawberry Lemonade, Blaze, and Hemp.
Toward the end of 2010, Four Loko went from being party fuel to black out fuel to fuel banned on college campuses and leading to hospitalization. Eventually, Four Loko’s parent brand Phusion Projects had to agree not to sell caffeinated booze after federal agencies began cracking down on products that mixed caffeine and alcoholic drinks. In addition to removing the caffeine and discontinuing its branding as an energy drink, Four Loko manufacturers also agreed to relabel its cans in order to accurately and prominently show how much alcohol was actually in them.
All of this to say, Four Loko is back...but it never really went away.
The demand for hard seltzer doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Earlier this year, Nielsen reported that hard seltzer sales are up nearly 200% since 2018. As mentioned, Natural Light recently revealed their own line of hard seltzer with two flavors: Aloha Beaches and Catalina Lime Mixer, the second being a nod to a line in Step Brothers. PBR has also joined the seltzer game with its recently announced Stronger Seltzer. Both Natural Light and PBR’s ABV are notably higher than their competitors, with an ABV of 6% and 8%, respectively. However, the two pale in comparison to the 14% ABV of Four Loko’s seltzer.
Again, there’s no word on when and where you can find the new Four Loko hard seltzer. Perhaps, like an uninvited drunk guest, it will just appear in your living room and you’ll have to figure out what to do with it then. Just please, seltzer responsibly.