Four Loko was once “liquid hyperbole,” pure chaotic energy that was distilled by mad scientists into a kind of caffeinated ultra-alcohol. Then several state bans forced the producers to contain the beast and neuter the product. But the brand is still around, so it’s sort of poetic, in a very lowbrow way, that as this decade inches toward a close, Four Loko has embraced the ruin and bookended its own story by announcing on Twitter that it would release a hard seltzer.
For everyone who was around — and remembers — Four Loko’s first run, this may seem like devastating news. In theory, the entire hard-seltzer market stands in opposition to Four Loko’s original appeal. Hard seltzer is gentle. Four Loko was the malt-liquor equivalent of a jackhammer to the head. Hard seltzer is light. Four Loko tasted like Chernobyl felt.
But, don’t be so quick to judge. Four Loko, being what it is, is not merely introducing its own version of White Claw. Instead, this particular seltzer is sour, “with a hint of blue razz.” It also contains a whopping 14 percent ABV, and the can boasts — correctly — that this is the “hardest seltzer in the universe.”
Not to be left out of the, uh, fun, the folks at Natural Light — which is, little known fact, brewed with actual bro sweat collected during hazing rituals at midwestern frat houses — have also debuted their own hard seltzer. It is not the hardest seltzer in the universe, but one flavor is named after a line in Step Brothers, so it should have no problem finding fans at, like, Clemson and Penn State.
Is this how you pictured things turning out? Is this what progress looks like, or should we all just wonder, Who killed the world?