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Controversial US RTD brand Four Loko has hit the UK.

The brand – which sells a range of high-strength RTDs stateside – quietly rolled out this month with a quartet of 8.5% abv drinks in 440ml cans.

The range comprises Blue, Fruit Punch, Gold and Sour Apple flavours. They will be distributed in the UK by Red Star Brands (rsp: £3.49/440ml).

The drinks themselves are vodka-based, using both natural and artificial flavours and beet sugar as key ingredients.

The brand has had a chequered history in the US. Originally marketed as an alcoholic energy drink, it came in at 12% and was made with taurine and caffeine up until 2010, when it switched up its recipe amid criticism of its alcoholic potency.

Read more: Hard seltzer sales hit £12m in 2020 – but has it lived up to the hype?

Red Star said Four Loko would recreate its US success “by building the brand through targeted social media activation, influencer-led events, and consumer experiences, later in the year. The brand will also launch its own e-commerce website for its fully engaged fanbase, offering merchandise and product for sale.”

It would launch with “a significant marketing spend to drive core visibility and category visibility with activations, disruptive PoS, category signage in the off-trade arena, social media and digital execution online, and campaign-led influencer programmes across the summer”, said Four Loko owner Phusion Projects’ UK & Ireland manager Gavin Woodroofe.

The brand has launched into Amazon and assorted wholesalers such as Fishill and Spar

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