Caffeinated Alcohol Drinks Recycled Into Ethanol

A Virginia company has found a way to turn the beverages into automobile fuel.
January 10, 2011

ABINGDON, Va. - Caffeinated alcohol drinks, such as Four Loko, have found new life as fuel for automobiles, the Associated Press reports. MXI Environmental Services is recycling the beverages into ethanol.

In the wake of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sending warning letters to companies making caffeinated alcohol drinks East Coast wholesalers began shipping cases of the drinks to MXI. The plant is one of three U.S. facilities that recycle ethanol.

"We€™re equipped to process four truckloads a day, and we€™re at full capacity," said Brian Potter, MXI vice president of operations. "There are about 30 different products involved, and we€™ve only seen a couple of them at this point. It could go on for several months."

In response to the FDA€™s letter, Charge Beverages Corp, New Century Brewing Co., Phusion Project and United Brands Company Inc. yanked their drinks from shelves to redesign the formulas to take out caffeine or other stimulants. In Virginia, distributors are repurchasing the drinks from retailers after the Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association asked members to halt sales of the drinks and to recover the inventory from stores, said Jim Babb, spokesman.

MXI has been taking drinks from wholesalers and has a contract to accept Four Loko discontinued drinks.