Group looks to ban Four Loko drink in IB

Posted at 6:33 PM, Dec 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-10 21:33:32-05

A pastor and community group want the city of Imperial Beach to ban a popular alcoholic beverage because they say it's popular among teens and the homeless.

Four Loko is a canned beverage that is 12 percent alcohol.

"[12 percent] is high. I mean, 13 percent is the alcohol content on a bottle of wine," said bartender Daniel Norton.

"Most people never even heard of Four Loko," said John Griffin, a pastor at Imperial Beach United Methodist Church.

Griffin said the drink is the equivalent of almost five beers.

"If that gets in the hands of a child, someone who is under 21 or shouldn't be drinking, they're drinking a whole bottle of wine," said Norton.

"It is possible to have one can of this stuff and you're gone," said Griffin.

That's why the pastor wants Four Loko banned in Imperial Beach.

"It is so devious in its nature, the fact that it has such a high alcohol content," he said.

Griffin thinks the bright packaging and fruit flavors attract underage kids. He added the cheap price is also enticing to IB's homeless population.

Griffin told 10News kids partner with the homeless to get their hands on the drink.

"'Here's five bucks, let's split this. You have a can and I'll have a can.' We just don't want that," he said.

10News contacted Phusion Projects, the makers of Four Loko. They emailed this response:

"We share concerns about underage drinking and alcohol abuse. However, we strongly believe the solution involves emphasizing increased educational efforts, stronger enforcement of existing laws and personal and parental responsibility -- not unfairly singling out a product."

"I think their product needs to be singled out," said Griffin.

The Imperial Beach United Methodist Church is holding a meeting about Four Loko on Thursday night, and members of the sheriff's department and city leaders were expected to attend.