Four Loko Price, Sizes & Buying Guide

Four Loko is a unique type of alcoholic beverage that has seen quite a few changes since its initial introduction to the market in the year 2008.

It helped popularize the mixture of an energy drink with an alcoholic beverage, and Four Loko eventually became very controversial until its formula had to be changed in the year 2010.

Today, the updated formula of Four Loko can be found all over the United States in a variety of flavors, and we have put together a helpful guide highlighting the average Four Loko price across the country.

A Brief History of Four Loko

history of four loko
Image: Aaron Plewke

Four Loko was introduced to the market in the year 2008, and it came at a perfect time considering the changing trends of young Americans in the mid-2000s. Energy drinks like Red Bull had become extremely popular, and more young Americans were drinking them regularly.

While Four Lolo was the first alcoholic energy drink to reach national fame and “catch on” among college students, it was not the first drink of its kind to be released to the market. Sparks was an alcoholic energy drink that contained six percent alcohol and found moderate success.

Four Loko was created with the college demographic in mind, and it was one of the most “extreme” beverages sold in the United States in recent memory. It contained much more caffeine compared to the average energy drink, as well as 12 percent alcohol by volume.

This unique drink was higher in both caffeine and alcohol compared to anything on the market at the time, and Four Loko was released in a variety of different flavors. These drinks were sold in big bright cans featuring loud colors and sweet flavors like Watermelon, Fruit Punch, and Grape.

At the time, energy drinks like Red Bull were primarily marketed and sold to the younger generation in America. They often sponsored extreme sports competitions like surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding, and energy drinks became commonplace among young people.

Four Loko marketed their new beverages directly to this younger demographic, and the word quickly got out around college campuses that there was a new affordable drink that was both full of caffeine and high in alcohol. Young people started choosing their favorite flavors, and a legend was born.

For the first two years, Four Loko was on the market, it saw great levels of success as it began to catch on at college campuses across the country. It became the “party drink” of choice for many people, and it developed a reputation for not being for the faint of heart.

The combined effects of the high alcohol content in Four Loko combined with its unusually high levels of caffeine made for a unique buzz that was both intense and often short-lived. Many people tended to blackout or fall asleep shortly after drinking one, and few could drink more than two in one night.

By the year 2010, many health professionals and college administrators had noticed a major uptick in terms of alcohol-related hospitalizations at college campuses across the United States. Many parents and politicians became concerned, and steps were taken to block the sales of Four Loko.

College campuses began banning Four Loko from their campuses in reaction to these health concerns, as there continued to be dangerous incidents due to the overconsumption of Four Loko by college students.

Following in line with local colleges, and reacting to pressure from concerned parents and health professionals, some individual states put laws into place banning the sale of caffeinated alcoholic beverages statewide.

While this type of negative publicity would most likely hurt the sales of many other alcoholic beverages, it had the opposite effect on college students and young people. The drink developed a bit of a “bad boy” image, and the legend and mystique of Four Loko only grew.

Due to a combination of actions from colleges and certain states to ban the sale of Four Loko, along with rampant rumors that the drink itself would soon be banned across the United States, demand for the highly alcoholic caffeinated beverage exploded and sales increased dramatically.

It is estimated that in the year 2010, the total sales of Four Loko drinks nearly tripled as many young people anticipated changes or lack of availability with their new favorite party drink. Many people began purchasing as much as possible in an effort to stockpile Four Loko drinks.

Late in the year 2010, the company that produces Four Loko announced some major changes to the formula of their most popular drink. Four Loko would no longer contain caffeine, and all caffeine, guarana, and taurine were removed from the drink’s formula.

Four Loko Prices, Variations, and Sizes

four loko variations
Image: Kyle James

While the majority of other alcoholic drinks are available in a number of different sizes and quantity combinations, Four Loko has only ever been sold in 23.5 oz “tall cans.” There are no six-packs available of Four Loko, as they have only ever been sold individually.

It may come as a surprise to some that there is a wide variance in terms of pricing when it comes to Four Loko, especially considering that all versions come in the same size. Certain areas have a much higher demand for the drink compared to others, leading to widely different prices depending on location.

The most popular flavors of Four Loko are similar to their original flavors, which consist of Watermelon, Fruit Punch, Peach, Strawberry Lemonade, and Grape. There are also rotating limited edition flavors, as well as a new line of “SOUR” flavors.

Four Loko also recently released a hard seltzer in an effort to cash in on the seltzer trend sweeping the United States over the past decade. In typical Four Loko style, their version of a hard seltzer is much stronger than others on the market at 12 percent alcohol by volume.

  • The lowest prices on Four Loko can be found at Total Wine at $2.99 per can
  • Locally owned liquor stores usually price Four Loko between $3 and $5 per can
  • Delivery services like Drizzly and Saucey charge $5 to $8 per can of Four Loko

Four Loko Alternatives

four loko alternatives

Mike’s Harder Lemonade

Mike’s Harder Lemonade is a malt-based beverage similar to Four Loko that is available in a variety of different flavors. It is the stronger alternative to Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and it comes in two sizes each containing eight percent alcohol by volume.

Bud Light Platinum Seltzer

Until the introduction of the Four Loko Hard Seltzer, Bud Light Platinum Seltzer was the strongest drink of its type on the market. It contains eight percent alcohol by volume, and it is available in both “skinny cans” and “tall cans.”

Twisted Tea

While Twisted Tea contains significantly less alcohol compared to Four Loko, it is a sweet malt beverage that is great for summertime and outdoor drinking. It has a more modest alcohol content that is similar to that of a light beer, making it a good choice for drinking responsibly.

How To Drink Four Loko

how to drink four loko

Four Loko is one of the few drinks that does not have many variations in terms of how it is consumed. While some other sweet alcoholic drinks are sometimes used as a base for a mixed drink, Four Loko is plenty strong to begin with and people rarely add anything.

Four Loko is also not considered to be “high class” enough to be poured over ice by many, and the vast majority of customers prefer to simply drink it straight from the can. Four Loko is best served cold, and it is best when chilled on ice in a cooler or ice bath.

Frequently Asked Questions

Was Four Loko Banned in the United States?

In the year 2014, the Food and Drug Administration of the United States of America banned the sale of alcoholic caffeine drinks in reaction to a large spike in alcohol-related hospitalizations in the country, particularly among younger people.

Can Four Loko Still Be Purchased in the US?

While it does not contain the same mixture of caffeine, guarana, and taurine along with alcohol, Four Loko is still widely distributed and sold all over the United States. It still contains 12 percent alcohol by volume, making it one of the stronger canned malt drinks available for purchase.

Does Four Loko Contain Caffeine?

The new iteration of Four Loko does not contain caffeine, and it has not since the year 2010. The new formula of Four Loko is caffeine free, as is required of all alcoholic drinks after the Food and Drug Administration put a law into place in 2014.