Senator Chuck Schumer Declares (Booze-Funded) War on Hipster Booze-Juice

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You've seen them in your local bodega, deli, or drug store. They sit there, those brightly colored cans containing malt liquor, sugar, caffeine, and mystique, waiting for the young and not-sober-for-long masses waiting to pick them up and drain them down their thin, thirsty gizzards. Sparks. Four Loko. Pick your poison, and pick it now, because whatever piss-like poison is yours, The End May Be Near for it. New York State Senator Chuck Schumer has declared a shady war on Hipster Booze Juice.

Senator Schumer's Sauce Crusade is fueled by his suspicion that these drinks are being marketed toward young drinkers! And thus, he's called on the Federal Trade Commission to look into them and investigate! Hey, an old person knows brightly colored cans when they see them, young'un. MyFoxNY reports:

"Our parents and law enforcement are doing everything they can to keep alcohol out of the hands of teens, but it becomes a difficult task when beverage makers create and market a product that seems like an everyday energy drink," Schumer said. "The marketing of drinks Four Loko, Joose, and others like them lead one to believe that manufacturers are trying to mislead legal-age adults while actively courting underage drinkers. This is dishonest, irresponsible, and wrong. It's time for the FTC to immediately turn their attention to these products and address this problem once and for all."

Now, Sparks actually had all the caffeine removed from them, because MillerCoors didn't want to be responsible for assholes doing exponentially dumber drunk things than they typically would, but that doesn't mean Sparks-like drinks don't still exist (or that our sister-publications didn't unlock the key to making these gross drinks at home, once, for the sake of journalism and marginal public desperation). But Schumer's got an uphill battle against this canned hyper-piss. For one thing, if the FTC still allows a drink called Cocaine to still be sold to kids, are they really gonna budge on something that explicitly notes how much booze it has as part of its appeal?

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All of which goes without mentioning the fact that Senator Chuck Schumer is listed as not one of, but The Top Recipient of Donations to an Individual Senator from the Beer, Wine, and Liquor Industry -- but also, to be fair, a bunch of other industries -- and the people who're still producing many of these drinks come from smaller producers who likely aren't going around spending money on politicians who're underwritten by The Big Guys. So maybe Schumer's being backed by the competition? Or maybe he, like so many New Yorkers, thinks this city would be better if the its population of Over-Caffeinated Drunk Scenesters were decreased exponentially? Whatever the case, it might be helped if he just took the most simple appeal out there, our mayor's: call it a "health crisis" and note his pragmatic concern for the target demographic's good. I've got a friend who's familiar with this Four Loko nonsense. He notes of it:

It is literally the worst hangover ever. Let's see: I was unable to move from my bed for like eighteen strong hours. I refused to do anything. I became apathetic towards my own existence. I didn't eat anything for a day. Anything that smelled like fruit juice (and a lot does) triggered my gag reflex. That shit is the worst. Never again.

And that's how you get this stuff off the streets, Schumer. Hangover warnings. Don't say we didn't try to help.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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