clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Is Four Loko Hard Seltzer the End of Hard Seltzer?

Plus, Anthony Bourdain’s personal items earned a lot at auction, and more news to start your day

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Four cans of Four Loko hard seltzer Four Loko

You might brown out just reading this...

Over the summer, Four Loko teased the release of its own version of hard seltzer, which thanks to White Claw, had quickly become the drink of the summer, if not the entirety of 2019. But it is now November, past the autumnal equinox, when bars are adding spiked toddies to the menu and everyone is breaking out their SAD lamps. As much one loves White Claw, it is perhaps not hard seltzer season anymore. Despite that, Four Loko has debuted its addition to the canon, even earlier than they wanted to in order to compete. Sure, it’s 12 percent ABV instead of the initially advertised 14 percent and is Black Cherry flavored instead of Blue Razz, but at least Four Loko is in the game.

Four Loko is best known for inciting the ire of Senator Chuck Schumer, who in 2014 cracked down on the beverage’s original formula. The FDA ruled that the drink couldn’t contain both caffeine and alcohol. At that point, the drink had gained a mythic reputation, even inspiring an oral history last year in New York Magazine. As for some anecdotes, maybe someone blacked out at 8pm on a Wednesday. Maybe they woke up with their clothing encrusted in a cake they didn’t remember eating. Did both of those things happen to this author? Who’s to say?

While sugary-sweet malt beverages have always found popularity with young drinkers, hard seltzer has ridden the wave of “wellness” to popularity, which Four Loko’s other sugar-packed offerings absolutely cannot swing. The brand has continued to find success internationally, but in America, its reign is firmly rooted in 2010. Its hard seltzer push feels at once a desperate attempt to stay relevant in a market that has left neon malt beverages behind, and a way to inspire nostalgia that may not yet be earned. It may be too little (or too much) too late. After all, who even knows what we’ll be drinking next summer?

And in other news...

  • A dozen bottles of French wine were sent to space to age, in an experiment to wine ages in space. [USA Today]
  • There’s a new trailer for season two of Nailed It! Holiday!, featuring guests like Maya Rudolph and Jason Mantzoukas. [YouTube]
  • Think Peter Luger is overrated? Well, Steve Cuozzo thinks almost everywhere else is overrated, too. [NY Post]
  • An indoor farming startup, Bowery, is opening its biggest farm yet. [Fast Company]
  • Michael Chakraverty from GBBO talks about facing his anxiety on the show. [iNews]
  • A slew of Anthony Bourdain’s possessions, including a handmade chef’s knife, took in $1.85 million at auction. Proceeds will benefit both Bourdain’s family and a scholarship program at the Culinary Institute of America. [Esquire]
  • The cow wasn’t always considered forbidden to eat in Hinduism, and now some are fighting against Hindu Nationalism and the caste system by demanding beef. [Caravan]
  • Shake Shack is testing giving its managers a four-day work week. In other Shake Shack news, the company’s sales were really hurt by a partnership with Grubhub. [NRN]
  • A profile of Claudia Fleming, whose cult cookbook The Last Course is being reissued. [NY Times]
  • Does anybody know how to de-bone a donut?

Sign up for the Sign up for the Eater newsletter

The freshest news from the food world every day