Red Bull meets its match

Carrie Circosta

‘Four’ contains caffeine and alcohol, is marketed toward college community

Dave Fodor, senior marketing major, is the Kent State representative of a new alcohol/energy drink by the company Phusion Projects. The drink is a first of it’s kind because it contains absinthe, giving a body buzz affect resembling an aphrodisiac. The be

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

When a person thinks of an energy drink, something such as Red Bull comes to mind. Just something quick a student can pick up to get that extra oomph to finish out the day or to stay up the rest of the night to study.

But when is an energy drink different from all the rest?

“(Four) has all the qualities of an energy drink and equal to about two -and-a-half Red Bulls,” senior marketing major David Fodor said.

Fodor is one of the two Kent State representatives for the Phusion Projects Company in Chicago that produces the drink.

Four, like many other energy drinks, contains caffeine, but it comes in a 16-ounce can and contains 6 percent alcohol, a shrub called guarana to fight hangovers, taurine, an acidic chemical to utilize the metabolic process and wormwood, which is found in absinthe.

Absinthe, also known as “the green fairy,” has been banned from the United States since 1912 because it was linked to hallucinations and insomnia, Fodor said. The wormwood in Four may cause aphrodisiac effects on the drinker, Fodor said.

This doesn’t mean Four is illegal, though.

Fodor explained that the chemical thujone is used to break down the wormwood oil to a legal limit.

“It’s the first of its kind and (the company) is the first to do it,” Fodor said.

Three graduate students from The Ohio State University, Chris Hunter, Jason Freeman and Jeff Wright, invented the malt beverage.

“The hardest part of creating the drink was the exhausting time the team put into the product,” Hunter said. “It was a long process, almost a year. It wasn’t easy because of the wormwood oil. We had to hire a lawyer and get the Alcohol and Tobacco (Tax and) Trade Bureau to pass it.”

Fodor recommends mixing Four with raspberry-flavored vodka, which is called an F-bomb. He is giving free samples every Thursday from 10 to 11 p.m. at the Loft, 11 p.m. to midnight at Buffalo Wild Wings and midnight to 1 a.m. at Mugs.

“We’re marketing mostly to the college community,” Fodor said. Four has already been launched to other major Ohio universities such as the University of Toledo, Ohio University, The Ohio State University and Bowling Green University.

At www.four-playlonger.com, 21-and-over Web viewers can see people trying the drink, including those from Kent State.

Junior psychology major Ryan Getz said he purchased the drink from TLC Liquor on West Main Street and liked the berry-flavored drink.

“It was a different, but pleasant kind of buzz,” Getz said. “I only got heartburn because I drank six of them.”

If a consumer doesn’t overindulge in this beverage, there are no other negative side effects, Fodor said.

“From my own experience, I’ve drank and mixed it with (other) alcohol, and I know of no dangers,” Fodor said.

The suggested retail price is $1.99 a can, Fodor said. Kent Clarke and TLC Liquor sell it at this price, but Campus Wine Cellar sells it for $2.19 a can and the BP gas station on Main Street sells it at $1.99 plus tax. A TLC Liquor employee said the store is selling a case a week.

March 16, Fodor will be giving away a free Spring Break trip at the Loft. The trip will be somewhere such as Jamaica or Cancun.

Contact features correspondent Carrie Circosta at [email protected]