A subcommittee of the South Carolina House of Representatives unanimously cleared H. 3246, which would seek to end the sales of alcoholic energy drinks in South Carolina. The bill now heads to the full judiciary committee.
The law would effectively ban malt drinks such as Four Loko and Joose, which contain more than 0.5 percent alcohol. It would revoke the seller’s beer and wine permits for two years if caught. The offender also faces a fine of at least $100 and up to 6 months in prison.
Rep. Laurie Funderburk (D-Kershaw) sponsored the bill, which was approved unanimously by the panel.
The Food and Drug Administration ruled caffeinated alcoholic beverages “unsafe” in November. Phusion Products- the company that brewed Four Loko- has since removed caffeine, taurine, and guarana from its drink, renaming it Four. However, the original drink is still being sold online as part of a black market.
Joose has not changed its drinks.
Beverages like Four Loko mix a caffeine amount equivalent to three cups of coffee with the alcoholic equivalent of three cans of beer. They are designed to appeal to younger consumers accustomed to drinking high-caffeine energy drinks.