White Claw Is Four Loko For A New Generation
Remember way back in 2008 when Four Loko became a staple at any and all house parties? It was a drink unlike anything else on the market at that time and it hit college campuses across the country like a freight train. If you were a in college from 2008-2010, you most certainly remember how popular Loko’s were, and with flavors like strawberry lemonade, sour apple, watermelon, and grape, it was pretty obvious that the target demographic was teens who did not yet enjoy the taste of alcohol.
They were cheap, they tasted a hell of a lot better than a shot of Burnett’s Cherry or El Toro, and you could get absolutely knackered for ten bucks (and I say ten bucks because you usually had to throw the creepy guy who was buying them for you a couple of dollars on the side). But the Four Loko craze was short lived. Local news stations had a field day reporting on underage drinkers who would give themselves alcohol poisoning week in and week out from these babies, and then you kids started dying when they would mix Adderall or cocaine with the insane amount of caffeine that a Loko packed.
The health risks were obvious, and lawmakers pounced on the makers of Four Loko soon after investigative reports showed that the risk for blackouts, alcohol poisoning, and death were extremely high.
I vividly remember people that lived in the hallway of my dorm room stocking up on original formula Four Loko because they found out that while Four Loko would remain making their drinks, the caffeine and ABV would be considerably lower. The Four Loko era lasted all of a few months for me, and I can’t say I was sad to see them go. But since the demise of Loko, there has been a noticeable hole where a market used to be. A fruit flavored drink that successfully masks the taste of alcohol - enter White Claw - the Four Loko for Generation Z.
White Claw is what is commonly referred to as a “hard seltzer.” As we all know seltzer is having a bit of a moment with drinks like La Croix and to a lesser extent S. Pellegrino and Perrier. For reasons I can’t understand, La Croix has become one of the most popular sparkling waters on the planet, and White Claw capitalized on this by making a pre-mixed drink made of flavored seltzer and alcohol from fermented sugar.
There was a completely untapped market of people who love seltzer water and also want to catch a tasty buzz, and White Claw just happened to make a product that people enjoy. For around eight dollars you can buy a six pack of White Claws in flavors like Black Cherry and Ruby Grapefruit (sound familar?) and get relatively wasted. In a pinch, a White Claw is fine I guess. Everytime I’m offered a White Claw I think to myself “Hm. This is okay and it’s going to help me reach my goal of getting but also I think I’m going to be sick if I drink more than one or two of these?”
Perhaps it’s unfair of me to compare the White Claw trend to what Four Loko did from ‘08-’10. White Claw is significantly less trashy than Four Loko, and they obviously don’t pack the caffeine punch that Loko’s used to have. But they just feel like a drink that young people (who are maybe the most health-conscious in the country right now) would gravitate to.
People aren’t getting alcohol poisoning like they were from Lokos, but there is something about the White Claw that feels like it does not have staying power. It's a pre-mixed drink that will die sooner rather than later.
There’s no reason to be drinking a WC unless for some reason you don’t have direct access to vodka, a lime, and some original Perrier. Like why drink this pre-mixed, watered down garbage when you can make a similar drink that is a billion times fresher and probably higher in alcohol content? I’ll concede that White Claws are convenient as all hell, but you won’t convince me that this isn’t a stupid trend marketed towards underage drinkers with an affinity for fruit-flavored beverages.