brands under fire
Posted by Abe Sauer on May 22, 2012 02:56 PM
Moskatoloko! A word of advice to Four Loko-maker Phusion Projects: if you're trying to go upmarket with a new "drinks like muscat wine" beverage brand, don't use the term "malt-based" in the press release. Yes, it seems the maker of the infamous "blackout in a can" Four Loko brand (also a "premium flavored malt beverage") is hoping to turn over a new leaf with its new product, Moskato Life.
The company behind one of the most infamous "get drunk" beverages in history is now hoping to woo wine lovers, and fans of the muscat varietal, with a brand it's calling "Moskato Life." The pitch for the less luridly packaged brand: "Moskato Life Brings Attainable Luxury to Today's Emerging Moscato Drinker." "Attainable" as in beats being targeted in boycotts of cheap "alcopop" brands at 7-Eleven, though Phusion's still in that business, too.
Phusion co-founder Chris Hunter helpfully defines Moskato Life as "a malt-based beverage that represents attainable luxury, showing consumers it doesn’t have to cost a lot to live a lavish lifestyle.” (Translation: "Get buzzed for less than actual moscato wine!") A press release for the drink highlights that it's "6 percent alcohol by volume" while the Moscato Life Facebook page declares, helpfully, "Joined 10/14/2011."
The press release adds, "In developing Moskato Life, Phusion studied the gain in popularity of moscato wine, best known for its light-bodied, sweet taste and recent recognition in the hip-hop and urban community. Traditionally an after-dinner wine, moscato has taken up new residency as a more mainstream beverage among the under 40 crowd." (A crowd that may already enjoy, say, the blue-bottled Bartenura Moscato in Miami and other urban hotspots.)
Phusion's logic is understandable. Who wouldn't want the "Moskato Life" when the "Four Loko Life", despite removing the stimulants of caffeine, guarana and taurine, includes tales of underage rape and municipal banishment. Undeterred, Four Loko is rolling out Coconut, Peach and Strawberry Lemonade flavors for summer imbibing pre-gaming — unless the FTC shuts it down along with other fruit-flavored malt beverages, that is.